WASHINGTON (AP) – Declaring that America’s security should not be dictated by protesters, President Bush said yesterday he would not be swayed from compelling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to disarm. “We will deal with him,” Bush said as U.S. and British diplomats weighed another bid for U.N. backing.

“War is my last choice,” Bush said at the White House as echoes of anti-war protests circled the globe. “But the risk of doing nothing is even a worse option as far as I am concerned.”

Standing firmly against skeptical allies as well as the demonstrators, Bush said: I owe it to the American people to secure this country. I will do so.”

Administration officials in Washington and at the United Nations in New York were discussing the possible gains as well as the risk of a diplomatic defeat if the United States proposed a new resolution to the Security Council to endorse force as an option to disarm Iraq.

One U.S. official said yesterday there was no decision on a text or even on whether to go ahead, though White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, “I think it will be a simple and rather straightforward resolution.”

Bush said a second resolution “would be useful,” although “we don’t need a second resolution. It’s clear this guy could even care less about the first resolution. He’s in total defiance.”

In Rome, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Iraq had to “move very fast” to heed the call of the international community and cooperate with U.N. inspectors or face possible war. But he said it was up to the Security Council to decide if the inspections had gone on long enough.

France, with support from Russia and China, does not accept the U.S. view that the Security Council effectively endorsed force as an option to disarm Iraq in an earlier resolution that warned of “serious consequences” if Saddam persisted in defying U.N. demands.

With some 50 countries lined up to speak to the council in a session that could go over until Wednesday, early action by the United States and its close ally, Britain, was not expected.

Diplomats at the U.N. said a draft resolution could be circulated late Wednesday.

possible war. But he said it was up to the Security Council to decide if the inspections had gone on long enough.

France, with support from Russia and China, does not accept the U.S. view that the Security Council effectively endorsed force as an option to disarm Iraq in an earlier resolution that warned of “serious consequences” if Saddam persisted in defying U.N. demands.

With some 50 countries lined up to speak to the council in a session that could go over until today, early action by the United States and its close ally, Britain, was not expected.

Diplomats at the U.N. said a draft resolution could be circulated later today.

As for the protests around the world by millions of people opposed to war with Iraq, Bush said they were irrelevant to his duty to protect America.

“Size of protest, it’s like deciding, ‘Well I’m going to decide policy based up on a focus group.’ The role of a leader is to decide policy based upon the security – in this case – security of the people,” he said.

“Democracy is a beautiful thing, and that people are allowed to express their opinion,” he said.

“Some in the world don’t view Saddam Hussein as a risk to peace,” he added. “I respectfully disagree.”

Last Friday, an overwhelming majority of the 15 council members followed France’s lead and called for extending U.N. weapons searches in Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s argument that the searches were virtually useless was overridden.

Yesterday, however, the Bush administration drew some support in Europe.

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