December 25, 2002
"We're taking steps to alert, mobilize and deploy U.S. forces -- active, Guard and Reserve.
None of this reflects a decision by the president or the United Nations or anyone else, to my knowledge, to use force. The president has not made such a decision. These are intended to support diplomatic efforts, to make clear to the Iraqi regime the need to comply with their U.N. obligations.
We'll continue to work with the United Nations to encourage Iraqi compliance. The use of force is a last resort. The goal is for Iraq to comply with U.N. resolutions."
– Defense Secretary Rumsfeld