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jklaroe 20-03-2003 03:36 AM

WASHINGTON U.S. forces launched a military strike near Baghdad targeting Iraqi leaders, a senior government official said.

The official, speaking Wednesday night, said U.S. intelligence had detected the possibility Iraqi leaders were in the area, which he described as a "target of opportunity."

The official declined to identify the leaders who were targeted or to say whether the attack was successful. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said President Bush would address the nation on television at 10:15 p.m. EST, little more than two hours after the deadline the president set for Saddam Hussein to flee his nation or face war.

Earlier, Fleischer told reporters the war against Iraq had begun. "The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun," he said.

Fleischer spoke as anti-aircraft fire and explosions were heard across Baghdad after air raid sirens went off at the capital at dawn.

Fleischer did not elaborate on his statement, but U.S. officials said it signaled the beginning of military action against Iraq.

The statement came at the end of an anxious day of waiting at the White House.

Bush scrutinized final battle plans and told Congress why he was poised to launch the largest pre-emptive attack in U.S. history.

The president stayed out of the public eye even as his 8 p.m EST deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave his country or face war passed.

"The disarmament of the Iraqi regime will begin at a time of the president's choosing," said his press secretary, Ari Fleischer, moments after the deadline passed. "The American people are ready for the disarmament of Saddam Hussein. They understand what's at stake. The military is ready, the nation is ready and the cause is just."

After meeting yet again with Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Bush had just finished dinner Wednesday night and was in the living room of the White House residence with first lady Laura Bush when his chief of staff, Andrew Card, called. Card informed the president hat intelligence officials had no information that Saddam had left Iraq.

Earlier, Fleischer spoke of somber realities of war.

"Americans ought to be prepared for loss of life," he said.

Extra security enveloped the executive mansion while aides inside whispered rumors of Iraqi defections and surrenders.

One official rushed past the Oval Office at lunchtime, glanced at his watch and grimaced. Eight more hours, he said.

The president began his day with the usual briefing from FBI Director Robert Mueller and CIA Director George Tenet. He also met throughout the day with his war council, including Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

They reviewed the final details for war in Iraq, aides said, poring over weather forecasts and troop positions.

Bush also discussed battle plans by telephone with Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has sent 40,000 British troops to the Persian Gulf.

An Oval Office address that would announce the beginning of hostilities was nearly complete. White House speechwriters had been working on it for days.

Bush himself sent Congress formal notice that he had determined "further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone" would not be enough to contain the "threat posed by Iraq." Bush has contended that Saddam possesses chemical and biological weapons that he could use on his enemies or slip to terrorists.

Bush closed the window to diplomacy Monday when he addressed the nation, but the congressional notification was required under the terms of a resolution passed last year to authorize military action.

The resolution also required Bush to verify that ousting Saddam would not hurt the global war on terrorism. Bush complied with a seven-page report asserting that Iraq supports terrorist networks, including Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization.

Offering fresh justification for war, the report said one of the spoils of victory may be information about terror cells in the United States.

"United States government personnel operating in Iraq may discover information through Iraqi government documents and interviews with detained Iraqi officials that would identify individuals currently in the United States and abroad who are linked to terrorist organizations," the report said.

White House officials said the assertion was mostly speculative.

The United States has initiated attacks in such places as Grenada and Panama, but war in Iraq would set a new standard for pre-emptive military action.

Fleischer offered no promises of a swift or easy conflict.

"On the brink of war with Iraq, Americans should be prepared for what we hope will be as precise, short a conflict as possible, but there are many unknowns and it could be a matter of some duration," the spokesman said.

The president also met with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who emerged from the White House to say the long national debate about whether to go to war is over.

"The president has listened and he has made his decision, and I know all New Yorkers are behind him and the troops overseas," the mayor said. "He's not going to be cowed or dissuaded. He's going to go out there and do what we all pray is right."

Bloomberg made a pitch for more money to help his city prevent a terrorist attack and respond to any that occurs.

The president, who warned Monday that terrorists might retaliate for a U.S. attack on Iraq, promised that a war spending bill soon going to Congress would include money to help communities combat and respond to terrorism.

New York and Washington were attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. Though Iraq was not implicated, the strikes set Bush on a course to combat terrorism across the globe -- a mission that eventually led him to the brink of war with Saddam.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

BAGHDAD, Iraq The U.S. military launched its opening attack against Iraq on Wednesday night after President Bush's deadline for Saddam Hussein to surrender power passed unheeded.

"The opening stages of the disarmament of the Iraqi regime have begun," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said.

Bush planned to address the nation at 10:15 p.m. EST, little more than two hours after the deadline the president set for Saddam Hussein to flee his nation or face war.

Fleischer spoke as anti-aircraft fire and explosions were heard across Baghdad after air raid sirens went off at the capital at dawn.

An American-led invasion force of 300,000 troops awaited the order to strike. U.S. and British forces massed in the Kuwaiti desert close to the Iraqi border, giant B-52 warplanes were loaded with bombs and Tomahawk missile-carrying ships were in position, all awaiting an attack order from Bush.

The deadline came at 8 p.m. EST, which was 4 a.m. Thursday in Baghdad, its population shrunken in recent days by an exodus of thousands of fearful residents.

"The disarmament of the Iraqi regime will begin at a time of the president's choosing," said his press secretary, Ari Fleischer, moments after 8 p.m. "The American people are ready for the disarmament of Saddam Hussein. They understand what's at stake. The military is ready, the nation is ready and the cause is just."

Just after the deadline, White House chief of staff Andrew Card informed the president that intelligence officials had no information that Saddam had left Iraq.

Saddam's regime gave every appearance of digging in.

In the minutes after the deadline, Iraqi TV showed footage of a pro-Saddam march Tuesday in Baghdad, with members of the crowd chanting pro-Saddam slogans, some brandishing rifles and carrying pictures of Saddam.

"We are dedicated to martyrdom in defense of Iraq under your leadership," a loyal Iraqi parliament assured the Iraqi dictator, and armed members of the ruling Baath party deployed behind hundreds of sandbagged defensive positions in Baghdad.

Even so, 17 Iraqi soldiers surrendered to American GIs during the day, eager to give up before the shooting started.

Bush met periodically throughout the day with his top aides at the White House and sent formal notice to Congress that reliance on "further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone" would not suffice to counter "the continuing threat posed by Iraq."

Fleischer, said the nation "ought to be prepared for the loss" of American lives once the military effort begins to depose Saddam and recover weapons of mass destruction.

Aides said the commander in chief would decide on timing based on the advice of his military commanders.

More than 25 protesters were arrested outside the White House, part of a larger group of demonstrators that chanted, banged drums and carried signs that read, "Stop the War on Iraq."

It seemed unlikely in the extreme.

Along with the U.S.-led force approaching 300,000 troops massed in the Persian Gulf region were 1,000 combat aircraft and five aircraft carrier battle groups. The United States claims the public and private support of 45 other nations in a coalition to topple Saddam. But only Britain, with about 40,000 troops, was making a sizable contribution to the military force.

In a run-up to war, U.S. aircraft also dropped nearly 2 million leaflets over southern Iraq with a variety of messages, including, for the first time, instructions to Iraqi troops on how to capitulate to avoid being killed.

Hundreds of miles away, at an air base in England, crews loaded bombs aboard giant B-52 combat aircraft.

Apart from the desire to capture weapons of mass destruction, Bush's submission to Congress said a military attack could lead to the discovery of information that would allow the apprehension of terrorists living in the United States. An attack, it said, "is a vital part of the international war on terrorism."

Despite deep divisions at the United Nations, Bush also claimed "the authority -- indeed, given the dangers involved, the duty -- to use force against Iraq to protect the security of the American people and to compel compliance with United Nations resolutions."

The diplomatic wheels turned still at the United Nations where foreign ministers were meeting in the Security Council at the request of the French and Germans, prominent critics of the American military operation.

"This is a sad day for the United Nations," said the organization's secretary general, Kofi Annan said. "I know that millions of people around the world share this sense of disappointment and are deeply alarmed."

Bush abandoned diplomacy on Monday, and administration officials blamed French intransigence for the lack of consensus on a new Security Council resolution that would have given Saddam an ultimatum.

The signs of imminent conflict were abundant.

Israel ordered its citizens to start carrying their gas masks to work and to school. And hundreds of Israeli residents fled Tel Aviv, fearful that Iraq would launch missiles against their seaside city, as happened in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Royal Jordanian -- the only commercial airline with regularly scheduled flights to Baghdad -- said it was canceling them in anticipation of war.

And Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak offered a dual-edged analysis. He blamed Iraq for the approaching military conflict. But he also said he hoped that "different international forces will realize the dangerous repercussions of any military action on the safety and stability of the Middle East region."

Another country in the region, Bahrain, publicly offered exile to Saddam "in a dignified manner that should not be seen as undermining Iraq's position and capabilities."

"It's the last-hour chance and we hope that Iraq will accept this offer to avoid war," Information Minister Nabil al-Hamer told The Associated Press.

Exile for the Iraqi leader "is absolutely unthinkable," said Saadoon Hammadi, speaker of Iraq's parliament.

"He will be in front of everyone. He will fight and guide our country to victory."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kevin 20-03-2003 08:06 AM

yep, i woke up this morning to se it had started...

Axel 20-03-2003 08:29 AM

it's all over the news...

Kreed_UK 20-03-2003 08:23 PM

Plenty of room here for the news, & INFORMED opinion. No racist stuff tho please:)

mtmckinley 20-03-2003 08:27 PM

no country bashing either, I would hope...

I get enough of that from my "friends" through IMs. :p
"So PLEASE stop yelling at me as if I'm somehow causing it, and can somehow put a stop to it by your ranting and raving. Sheesh..."


I wasn't going to post the actual comic and accompanying text, but since there's a bit of confusion regarding Rage's joke, I thought I might.

ragecgi 20-03-2003 09:02 PM

hehe... whatever Mike...

I KNOW you started this war man! hehe.. LOL!

I just KNOW it! hehe... jk:)

dbirider 20-03-2003 09:50 PM

i love watching the war...

d24e 20-03-2003 11:27 PM

racecgi, what you mean joking?
they DID start this war!

now, I don't want to be known as an american-hater here. I just hate Bush and his 'entourage' (couldn't remember the right word for this)

The soldiers are just carrying out their orders to the full like professionals, so no blame there.

But let's not that affect this forum too much now:)

ragecgi 20-03-2003 11:44 PM

d24e, I think you might be getting a bit confused with my poor American English grammar...

I was not talking about Americans...
I was LITERALY talking about Mike. :)

That's what I meant by "Just joking".

Because obviosly Mike could NOT have started the war himself:)

Sorry for my bad American sarchasm... and spelling. hehe...

d24e 21-03-2003 12:31 AM

ups, thought 'you' was in plural.
sry to ruin that joke man:o

I still stand behind my message though.

mtmckinley 21-03-2003 01:23 AM

Perhaps with the above edit to my post, the joke makes a bit more sense. It just seems that I get tons of people instant message me and proceed to cuss ME out specifically... gets a bit on my nerves.

d24e 21-03-2003 02:24 AM

hehe, good one:D

just spent 2 hours in America's Army trying to convince some americans that this war is totally useless, all I got in return is a lot of namecalling.:(

Good to see there are still some decent people over there too;)

ragecgi 21-03-2003 02:46 AM

Sorry for any confusion everyone:)

My bad:)

mtmckinley 21-03-2003 08:29 AM


Originally posted by d24e

Good to see there are still some decent people over there too;)

There are decent people everywhere. It's just the bad ones get the most attention.

GCastro 21-03-2003 04:06 PM

I know what you mean d24e. Some people just don't want to understand why sometimes these things have to be done.

McKinley, just like those protestors that are always on the news :)

Oh, and I hate Saddam Hussien.


Kevin 21-03-2003 04:28 PM

why we all cant just go out together and have a good piss up ..i will never know!!

GCastro 21-03-2003 04:32 PM

Hehehe.. Kevin, I'm not sure what piss up means, but I can imagine :)

BTW, I might be taking a trip up to England this summer, I'll let you know.


Kevin 21-03-2003 05:19 PM

lol... well maybe I should re-Phrase piss up to "a few nice cold beers" :D

tormenta 21-03-2003 05:27 PM

Yeah... artists rarely start world wars.

Maybe more people should learn Maya!

Until then I'm all for the piss up!


ragecgi 21-03-2003 05:29 PM

LOL! hehe... me too:)

GCastro 21-03-2003 05:53 PM

Hehe.. Ok, it's not what I imagined :)

Kreed_UK 21-03-2003 08:28 PM


Originally posted by GCastro
Hehe.. Ok, it's not what I imagined :)
Hmmm, a bit of a warped mind maybe ???

AbsolutelyWhite 22-03-2003 06:16 AM

Well as you all have mentioned before war has started.
No war is good, no matter how good we "think" it will do.
This way is wrong (through war..) the should have think of an other way.
Many people call the soldiers and the citizens of America names which is VEry Veeeryyyy WRONG!It's not their fault that maybe Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons and it's not their fault if Bush wants to play war. Although they vote for him, noone really wants this war or ever wanted.
Anyway an other matter that i've recently seen in my city was:
The people that protested about the war didn't ONLY had some alsreasons in order to stop it but o protested (in they sayings anyway) about the whole world!!!Which is definetely NOT good (in my opinion), where does the thing that people don't have work or that the education system isn't goood FIT??
Unfortunately many of them don't protest to stop the war, they protest to create a motive for the people to vote them if they go for elections.

Please Comment.

essahc 23-03-2003 02:31 AM


Although they vote for him,
Thanks for the kind words but I think I should explain something you guys in England may not understand: Most of us did not vote for the guy. He did not have the majority vote but won by manipulating our voting system. Al Gore (who is a decent diplomat) got the vote and lost the election anyway.....messed up but true.


Unfortunately many of them don't protest to stop the war
I went to a protest at the University of Texas here in Austin yesterday. The local police arrested 500 people for blocking traffic......Man Freedom is not what it used to be.

From here it looks like Hausen is no more than just the Mayor of Bagdad and no threat to my way of life at all. My President however is messing things up for me and for you guys in Britain as well.

mshoward82 23-03-2003 06:10 AM


Many people call the soldiers and the citizens of America names which is VEry Veeeryyyy WRONG!

Its good to see that not everyone outside of USA hates us.

True we do vote and elect our leader, but we cannot foresee there every action. Almost all politicians here lie. Just way it is i quess.

Even a vast majority of the US citizens are against the war. All around the country there are protests. Groups ranging up to the 10,000's in some cities. And at every place, the police are arresting our own citizens.

Since its too late and this has already started, all we can hope for is that some good comes out from it in the end.

Question- Why do antiwar protestors feel they have to BEAT there views into people?

mtmckinley 23-03-2003 07:28 AM

Somehow I doubt people are being arrested purely for protesting... They'd obviously have to be starting trouble, trying to incite a riot, or whatever. Besides, most people arrested at such places are maybe kept over night and then released.

It's not as if all voices of opposition are being stifled, taken outside and shot... oh yeah, that was Saddam. lol

Don't get me wrong, I'm not "for" this war... Personally, I'm tired of the USA trying to serve as the world's baby-sitter. :p

tariqrf 23-03-2003 07:37 AM

LOL... i saw al jazeera yesterday, and they cought some civilians and said: "8 Iraqi army personnel surrendered.." ... LOL

and one Iraqi minister called bush a dog,, and he said the only problem the iraqis have is finding a big enough grave for all the american and british army..

i know its offensive,,, if its too much ,, shoot it down.... i know this will heat up the heads of some people around here...

btw, check out :D

mtmckinley 23-03-2003 07:49 AM

the number I saw was 2000. ;)

I guess I should point out now, that the moment this thread breaks out into unacceptable behavior, it'll be locked and/or deleted... this isn't really the place to be arguing about this kind of thing, anyway.

mshoward82 23-03-2003 02:58 PM

hey mtmckinley- i was just trying to make the point that there are people against the war here too.

Sorry for any confusions.

To better explain the protesting, I have attached this:

Carrying peace signs and wearing costumes, demonstrators in New York spanned 30 blocks as they marched down Broadway toward Washington Square Park. Unofficial police estimates put the crowd at more than 125,000; United for Peace and Justice, the march organizers, estimated the crowd at more than 250,000

--- from --- (The link explains more.)

wchamlet 23-03-2003 03:32 PM

I don't want to start a flame war, but I would like to share some other points of views about why the US, Britain, and other countries are in Iraq right now.

I feel for the soldiers over there, whom are risking their lives to free the Iraqi people from the Suddam regime, that has massacred, and completely dehumanized it's people. My cousin, serving in the US Navy, is saddened by so many of the anti-war protestors, who in his own words said, "With all the protesters and anti-war campians going on. If thoughs people only knew the half that was going on over here they would be a believer too."

Here is a link that pretty much sums up what I feel about the war. It's a horrible necessity. And I pray that this is over as soon as possible.;f=1;t=002891 I find it interesting to hear from a person who is actually from the Middle East. Kuwait actually. His insight in this war is quite different than what most people think. It's deeper than all of us thought. And has been building for far longer than the 12 years of diplomatic sanctions with Iraq.

Peace, and continue praying for the safety of the soldiers, the freedom of the Iraqi people, and the complete surrender of Suddam's regime.

mtmckinley 23-03-2003 04:02 PM

That's an interesting thread you linked to, wchamlet, and am impressed by the civility. I would implore that we do the same, that's all.

kal 23-03-2003 04:16 PM

nintendo fans are always nice people :)

wchamlet 23-03-2003 04:24 PM

Makes you wonder if the anti-war effort would even consider doing something to actually help the Iraqi's. War is already upon Iraq. How much will it take to rebuild it? I'd be surprised that half of the anti-war associates wouldn't even consider changing their stance, and start relief funds instead. IMO, that would be much more constructive than massing together in protesting marches. How many millions of dollars do you think they can gather for the Iraqi people?

I'm just glad that the US led attacks didn't do the airstrikes like they said they would. That in and of itself probably save thousands of peoples lives. I just hope it's over soon. I fear Baghdad is not going to be an easy place to secure.

essahc 23-03-2003 05:24 PM

I myself cannot argue with a word of WCHAMLET's sentiments.
I can only speak for what I see. But I have not heard one person who does not support the soldier in his mission. The sentiment here is that We as a country do not have the right to make this war and that If this was about those people and their plight then we would not protest.
If the people of Iraq ever ask me to help rid themselves of their goverment, then I will beg my president to help them. But I live in an oil rich nation who has no reason to act as it is doing so today. And it should be acknowleged that the politics of that nation are of my own governments making. I protest because of my patriotic love of my country. I pray thanks to god that I live in a country where I can disagree openly with my governments actions without the assumtion that I do not support my country and its people. I also agree that Saddam is a rotten leader who should not be in power. But I strongly disagree with this action and I believe my children will pay a price for its audacity.
I myself am from a millitary family. I have loved ones in Iraq, at this moment in harms way. Once deployed I pray all of these men and women see a quick and victorious end to this insane use of my presidents power.
this is only my two cents.

alexgc 24-03-2003 01:47 AM

Ive found it very interesting and enlightening to read ppl's thoughts on this so I thought id just share my feelings on what has been said so far...comments welcome...

First of all, I think u will find that the majority of ppl are in favour of the war. Ok u r talking about substantial numbers of ppl demonstrating, but in the whole scheme of things....its not "most ppl"...You are never going to see pro-war protests...

Mike I can understand why u r fed up of the US being "babysitters" as u put it - it is sad because alot of the time it is thrown back in ur face...Im not saying that US foriegn policy is always right and just, but there has always seemed to be uncalled for anti-us sentiment. It stems more often than not from jealousy (IMHO)

As far as the war itself goes, what should be foremost in our minds now is support for our troops out there...Whether u argue for or against this action we should remember what our countrymen are going through at this very moment. There can be nothing like the experience and fear of being in the front line...

My own opinion is that Saddam Hussein needs to be ousted one way or the other. Irrespective of the weapons of mass destruction debate, Iraq's human rights record is appalling. What I find hard to accept, are particular arguments put forward by the anti-war movement. The claim that the war would cause its own humanitarian crisis and suggestions that, as there is no concrete evidence of a presence of weapons of mass destruction, there is no justification for engaging in conflict. Surely the whole point of this conflict is to free the Iraqi people of such a barbaric and inhumane regime? This suggestion the the US is after Iraqi oil is old and tired. While the accusation could be levelled against the first Gulf war it cant be done so here. I think the genuine reason in this case is national and global security. There is a deadly and serious threat here, something that the world has not encountered before. In any case, we know that Saddam's regime have used chemical weapons against his own ppl in kurdish northern iraq in the late 80's and against Iran during the Iran/Iraq war. Surely even past misdemeanours like this should be enough to bring this regime to book? Quite frankly, Saddam should have been removed after the Gulf war.

And as far as war in general is concerned, nobody likes war. Would anyone in their right mind seriously risk their own lives and the lives of others without there being a good reason for it? I dont think so. Unfortunately there are occasions when there is no alternative. And to have a war without innocent lives being lost is an impossibility. But now, surely the end justifies the means. It has been 12 years since the end of the Gulf war and yet Saddam's regime still stands. The lives of Iraqi nationals has deteriorated beyond acceptablility. Ok many argue that this is as a result of the heavy UN sanctions imposed after the Gulf war, but the reality is that Saddam has recieved enough money to cater for the health of his people, yet has neglected them and opted to bolster his illegal weapons program. For sure he has been working on manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. The weapons inspectors have never disputed this fact. He has been given 12 years so far to disclose all his illegal armaments yet has failed to do so. How long should he get to comply? It stinks of delaying tactics...It is not right...

The problem we have in our society is that we tend to take our freedom for granted. How many times throughout history have we had to stand up for what is right to keep our way of life? Surely everyone deserves to have an opinion and a choice. These are basic human rights...

Also i dont look at it in terms of US/UK aggression. It is the result of human nature that there's something being done. Were we supposed to stand idly by? As citizens of the most prosperous nations on Earth, it is our duty to help make everyone lives as fair and decent as we can. Saddam Hussein has proven his regime has no morality time and time again. Even today as I've followed the breaking news for hours on end, the mindset of this regime is quite clear. The parading of the US pow's is abhorrent enough but to show off the bodies of dead soldiers in the way that they did was absolutely disgusting. A total disregard for not only the Geneva Convention but also human decency...

Sadly we do not live in a world where everyone abides by the codes of international law. Everyone should be united against those that perpetrate the morals that decent ppl live by. To me the only regret is that this war has taken place without UN support. It does undermine the whole meaning of such an organisation, yet it cannot be a reason why this action shouldnt take place. Ultimately I think this war will prove to be just. Many doubters will have their questions answered. I just hope it's not a prolonged war and upmost, I hope that it doesnt end up escalating into something too big to control. I get the feeling that this war will be the defining moment of our future...

Axel 24-03-2003 02:15 AM

alex: that's a good "article" - ur expressing my opinion

mshoward82 24-03-2003 02:30 AM

alexgc- Very well spoken. :)

Ultragames 24-03-2003 02:46 AM

If i missed something in the begining of this post, forgive me. Im not goting to read it all.

My thoughts. I see it all over the news. CNN has been on my livingroom TV since before this started. constantly
Not that I dont care, because i do watch it sometimes, i dont want to be overtaken with the war. 9/11 just about fried my brain, from hearing the same thing over and over and over.

Other than that... Mike did it!

Pony 24-03-2003 03:04 AM

Alexgc very well said. I second that. Just to state my opinion it gose right along with his. just personly.

alexgc 24-03-2003 03:14 AM

cheers guys, i thought i should point out a few facts - as i see them of course...

Actually, in case u havent heard, apparently US forces have discovered a 'huge' chemical weapons facility. I guess this vindicates Bush and Blair if it is true...

edit: apparently not the case now?? supposedly a reporter jumped the gun...

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