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20-03-2003, 03:36 AM   #1
jklaroe
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*WAR*
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.
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20-03-2003, 08:06 AM   #2
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yep, i woke up this morning to se it had started...
 
20-03-2003, 08:29 AM   #3
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it's all over the news...
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20-03-2003, 08:23 PM   #4
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Plenty of room here for the news, & INFORMED opinion. No racist stuff tho please
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20-03-2003, 08:27 PM   #5
mtmckinley
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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..."

EDIT:

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.
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20-03-2003, 09:02 PM   #6
ragecgi
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hehe... whatever Mike...

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

I just KNOW it! hehe... jk
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20-03-2003, 09:50 PM   #7
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i love watching the war...
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20-03-2003, 11:27 PM   #8
d24e
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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
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20-03-2003, 11:44 PM   #9
ragecgi
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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...
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21-03-2003, 12:31 AM   #10
d24e
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ups, thought 'you' was in plural.
sry to ruin that joke man:o

I still stand behind my message though.
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21-03-2003, 01:23 AM   #11
mtmckinley
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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.
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21-03-2003, 02:24 AM   #12
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hehe, good one

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
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21-03-2003, 02:46 AM   #13
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Sorry for any confusion everyone

My bad
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21-03-2003, 08:29 AM   #14
mtmckinley
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Quote:
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.
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21-03-2003, 04:06 PM   #15
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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.


George
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