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The Ideological Reconstruction of Iraq... [19 Apr 2003|09:26pm]

flirtykatiegurl
[ mood | accomplished ]

The Ideological Reconstruction of Iraq

By Elan Journo

Estimated to cost as much as $200 billion, the plan for rebuilding post-war Iraq is astounding in its scope—from repairing roads and sewer systems to revamping the Iraqi government payroll system and printing school textbooks. Yet no one is paying attention to the deepest foundations needed to support a free and prosperous society. What the Arab world really needs is not a transfusion of foreign money, but a transfusion of crucial Western ideas.
Although the Middle East has abundant supplies of oil and other resources, its people are shockingly poor. This is true not only of Iraq, but also of most of its neighbors. In Muslim countries from Morocco to Bangladesh, the average annual income is only half that of the world average.
Tyranny by monarchs, clerics, or dictators is the norm. Censorship of the press is flagrant, even in so-called moderate countries like Egypt. There is no rule of law, and in the few places that claim to have representative government, it is mere window dressing. Syria's laws, for instance, guarantee the fascist Baath party two-thirds of the seats in parliament.
The plight of the Middle East is not an accident. It is born of and reinforced by certain ideas: the precepts of Islam, which subordinate reason to faith and the individual to the collective.
In Islam piety demands the total surrender of one's life to Allah—and to those claiming to be His representatives on earth. In practice a Muslim has no right to his own life. Whatever he earns from his effort is his only in trust and by permission; all wealth belongs to Allah. To purify himself from the supposedly base activity of earning a living, a Muslim is required by Islamic law to pay "zakat," an alms tax owed to his community. Property rights are anathema to Islam. The individual's life and values may be sacrificed to the needs and claims of his family, clan, tribe—or ruler.
Most fundamentally, however, it is his mind—his rational judgment—that a Muslim must surrender in order to demonstrate his faith in his religion's key tenets. Muslims may eat at McDonald's, listen to rock-and-roll, and wear Western fashions; but these are only superficial changes masking a deep-seated hostility to any idea that contradicts the dictates of traditional Muslim faith—to "Westoxification," as they call it.
But to subordinate reason to faith is to chain the individual's mind, allowing only repetition of dogma and obedience to authority. Two statistics capture both the extent of the Arab world's self-enforced insularity and its consequences. Since the 9th century the Arab world has translated about 100,000 books from other languages—slightly fewer than are translated in Spain in a single year. The result: in 1999 the combined Gross Domestic Product of all Arab countries, even counting the vast wealth generated by oil, was $531 billion—slightly less than the wealth generated by Spain alone.
While life in the West has become longer and safer thanks to galloping advances in science, science and technology in the Arab-Islamic world have stagnated. Though Egypt has nearly 70 million inhabitants, it has only 3,782 active research scientists—while Israel, the lone Western state in the region, has fewer than 6 million people but more than 11,000 research scientists, and is noted for its high-tech industries.
The pitiful state of Arab science, the tyrannies, the economic misery—these all stem from the Muslims' rejection of a cardinal Western value: reason. Rationality means a dedication to basing one's conclusions only on evidence and logic—and respect for reason entails respect for the individual's mind and thus for his freedom to think and to control his own life.
Respect for reason reached its height in the West during America's founding era, the 18th-century Enlightenment. After centuries of struggle the Enlightenment thinkers sidelined religion and allowed science and reason to flourish. The West made room for the self-assertion and rational confidence of a scientist whose discovery contradicts received opinions, or a businessman whose practices turn his industry on its head. The result was the Industrial Revolution and a culture still propelled by a torrent of innovations that have raised our standard of living to glorious new heights—from the horse-drawn buggy to routine air travel to the ability to land a man on the moon.
If it is to enjoy prosperity and freedom—and if it is to be a long-term ally of the United States—the new Iraq needs to share in this intellectual legacy and learn the meaning and value of the Enlightenment's respect for reason.

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President Updates America on Operations Liberty Shield and Iraqi Freedom... [31 Mar 2003|06:31pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 31, 2003.

Thank you very much for that warm welcome. It is an honor to be here at one of our nation's busiest ports and one of our country's greatest cities.

Philadelphia and its port shows the hardworking spirit of this country. It speaks to our economic might. Most importantly, Philadelphia talks about a proud history. After all, it was in this place that we first declared our dedication to liberty. We still believe that all men are created equal and have the right to be free. And that is true for Americans, and that is true for men and women in Iraq. (Applause.)

We know that liberty must be defended by every generation. Today in the Middle East, and on other fronts in the war on terror, this generation of Americans is fighting bravely in the cause of freedom. And that includes the good people of the United States Coast Guard. (Applause.)

The men and women of our Coast Guard are showing once again that you are "always ready." You're always ready to serve with courage and excellence. You are always ready to place your country's safety above your own. You shield your fellow Americans from the danger of this world, and America is grateful.

It's my honor to be here with Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. People of Pennsylvania trained him well. (Laughter.) He's doing a fabulous job and I appreciate his service. (Applause.)

I'm honored to be with the leadership of the United States Coast Guard -- Admiral Tom Collins; Vice Admiral Jim Hull. Most importantly, I'm glad to be with the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the United States Coast Guard. (Applause.)

I appreciate the members of the United States Congress who have joined us here: Senator Arlen Specter -- thank you for coming, Senator Spector. (Applause.) Members of Congress: Robert Brady and Jim Gerlach, Jim Greenwood, Don Sherwood, and Joel Hoeffel. Thank you all very much for being here. I appreciate you coming. (Applause.) Members from the statehouse, state government, are here: Lt. Governor Knoll, Attorney General Fisher with us today. Thank you both for coming. (Applause.) And the Mayor came, Mayor Street. Thank you, I'm honored you're here, Mr. Mayor. I appreciate you coming. (Applause.)

I also want to thank employees of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection for being here -- (applause) -- as well as my federal employees, federal workers of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs. I'm honored to have you here. I want to thank you for your dedication and hard work for our government. (Applause.)

Today, I had the honor of meeting John Susanin. John is a volunteer for the American Red Cross. He, like thousands of our fellow citizens all across the country are willing to dedicate time to help in this cause of making sure our homeland is secure. The Red Cross, American Red Cross plays a vital role. And I want to thank John for his service to our community.

There's a lot of room for opportunity for our fellow citizens, people who want to do something for America. You can volunteer. You can volunteer to help watch neighborhoods. You can volunteer to help neighborhoods become better prepared. You can volunteer for the Red Cross. You could love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. It's happening all across America.

And, John, thank you for coming. And I also want to thank Manny Greenwald for being here, as well. Manny is a -- (applause) -- Manny is of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. I was briefed today by Admiral Hull who told me there's auxiliarists all across the country who are helping the Coast Guard achieve their vital mission. I want to thank all the Mannys across America who are helping our Coast Guard do its job. Manny's only 92 year's old -- (laughter) -- and he's still working hard. (Applause.)

This is a time of great consequence for our country. Right now men and women from every part of America, supported by a strong coalition, are fighting to disarm a dangerous regime and to liberate an oppressed people.

It has been 11 days since the major ground war began. In this short time, our troops have preformed brilliantly, with skill and with bravery. They make us proud. (Applause.) In 11 days, coalition forces have taken control of most of western and southern Iraq. In 11 days, we've seized key bridges, opened a northern front, achieved -- nearly achieved complete air superiority, and are delivering tons of humanitarian aid. By quick and decisive action, our troops are preventing Saddam Hussein from destroying the Iraqi people's oil fields. Our forces moved into Iraqi missile launch areas that threatened neighboring countries. Many dangers lie ahead, but day by day, we are moving closer to Baghdad. Day by day, we are moving closer to victory. (Applause.)

Our victory will mean the end of a tyrant who rules by fear and torture. Our victory will remove a sponsor of terror, armed with weapons of terror. Our victory will uphold the just demands of the United Nations and the civilized world. And when victory comes, it will be shared by the long-suffering people of Iraq, who deserve freedom and dignity. (Applause.)

The dictator's regime has ruled by fear and continues to use fear as a tool of domination to the end. Many Iraqis have been ordered to fight or die by Saddam's death squads. Others are pressed into service by threats against their children. Iraqi civilians attempting to flee to liberated areas have been shot and shelled from behind by Saddam's thugs. Schools and hospitals have been used to store military equipment. They serve as bases for military operations. Iraqis who show friendship toward coalition troops are murdered in cold blood by the regime's enforcers.

The people of Iraq have lived in this nightmare world for more than two decades. It is understandable that fear and distrust run deep. Yet, here in the city where America itself gained freedom, I give this pledge to the citizens of Iraq: We're coming with a mighty force to end the reign of your oppressors. We are coming to bring you food and medicine and a better life. And we are coming, and we will not stop, we will not relent until your country is free. (Applause.)

In Operation Iraqi Freedom, our Coast Guard is playing a critical role. We have sent many Coast Guard cutters and over a thousand of our finest active duty and reserve members to the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters. Coast Guard personnel are protecting key ports and Iraqi oil platforms. They're detaining prisoners of war. Members of the Coast Guard are performing their duties with bravery and excellence, and America appreciates your fine service.

In this time of war, the Coast Guard's service in America's waters is more important than ever. We still count on you to rescue fishermen and others at sea. We still count on you to enforce maritime law and to fight drug smuggling. Yet now, as the part -- as part of the Department of Homeland Security, you have taken on a new and vital mission, a mission as important as any in your 213-year history: the mission of defending our country against terrorist attack. In the finest traditions of the Coast Guard, you are rising to the challenge.

This is a vital task and a massive undertaking. More than 90 percent of our combat materials and our trade moves by sea. At this port alone, thousands of cargo containers arrive every day. Your job of protecting our nation's port is essential to our economic security and to our national security.

The appropriations bill I signed into law earlier this year increased Coast Guard funding to over $6 billion, the highest level ever. We're directing new resources to pay for better intelligence capabilities; new technologies to monitor and safeguard our ports; a more modern fleet of Coast Guard cutters and aircraft; and up to 700 new smaller, faster response boats that will further protect America's shorelines. By giving the Coast Guard new resources, we are supporting the men and women who defend us all.

All Americans understand that we face a continuing threat of terrorism. We know that our enemies are desperate; we know that they're dangerous. The dying regime in Iraq may try to bring terror to our shores. Other parts of the global terror network may view this as a moment to strike, thinking that we're distracted. They're wrong.

We are meeting threats and acting to prevent dangers. The United States and allied troops are shattering the al Qaeda network. We're hunting them down, one at a time. We're finding them, we're interrogating them, and we're bringing them to justice. (Applause.)

We will end the Iraqi regime, an ally of terrorist groups and a producer of weapons of mass destruction. And here at home, we're acting. Shortly before we begin the liberation of Iraq, we launched Operation Liberty Shield, to implement additional measures to defend the American homeland against terrorist attacks.

This nationwide effort is focused on five specific areas. First, we are taking even greater security measures at our borders and ports. We have relocated hundreds of security personnel on our borders. We've added additional reconnaissance aircraft patrols at our borders. And the Coast Guard is monitoring ports for suspicious activity. This nation is determined. Friends and immigrants will always be welcome in this land. Yet we will use all our power to keep out the terrorists and the criminals so they can't hurt our citizens. (Applause.)

Second, we are strengthening protections throughout our national transportation system. We're enforcing temporary flight restrictions over some of our major cities. We've stepped up surveillance of hazardous material shipments within our country and taken measures to keep them away from places where large numbers of people gather. This nation is determined. We will do all in our power to make sure our skies and rails and roads are safe from terror.

Third, we've increased surveillance of suspected terrorists. Certain individual with ties to Iraqi intelligence services have been ordered out of this country. We're interviewing Iraqi-born individuals on a voluntary basis for two reasons: to gain information on possible terrorist plans, and to make sure they've not experienced discrimination or hate crimes. This nation is determined. Iraqi Americans will be protected, and enemy agents will be stopped. (Applause.)

Fourth, under Operation Liberty Shield, we are guarding our nation's most important infrastructure with greater vigilance. Under the direction of our governors, thousands of National Guardsmen and state police officers are protecting chemical facilities and nuclear power sites, key electrical grids and other potential targets. This country is determined. We will keep up our guard and do all we can to protect our fellow citizens.

And, finally, we're strengthening the preparedness of our public health system. The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have increased field inspections of livestock and crops. Public health officials have increased medical surveillance in major cities. This nation is determined. We will stand watch against the dangers of the new era.

After our nation was attacked on September the 11th, 2001, America made a decision: We will not wait for our enemies to strike before we act against them. We're not going to permit terrorists and terror states to plot and plan and grow in strength while we do nothing.

The actions we're taking in Operation Liberty Shield are making this nation more secure. And the actions we're taking abroad against a terror network and against the regime in Iraq are removing a grave danger to all free nations. In every case, by acting today, we are saving countless lives in the future.

America has many advantages in this war on terror. We have resolute citizens. We're vigilant, and know that freedom must be defended. We have a just cause to guide us. And we have the strength and character of the men and women who serve our country.

You in the Coast Guard take rightful pride in the uniform you wear and the mission you have accepted. You, and all who serve in our military, are ready for any challenge. And by your skill, and by your courage, we will prevail.

May God bless you, and may God bless America. (Applause.)
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President Discusses Iraqi Freedom Progress in Radio Address... [31 Mar 2003|06:29pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 29, 2003.

Good morning. This week I welcomed Prime Minister Tony Blair to Camp David, where we discussed the progress being made in the war to disarm Iraq, end the dictatorship, and liberate the Iraqi people. Thanks to our fighting forces, the regime that once terrorized all of Iraq now controls a small portion of that country. American and coalition troops have continued a steady advance, and are now less than 50 miles from Baghdad.

In recent days, we have cleared mines from the water and taken control of a key port city, to allow humanitarian aid to begin flowing into the country. We have secured more than 600 oil wells and have begun putting out the few oil well fires set by the enemy. Our efforts to protect the wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people are paying off.

And we have prevented the dictator from launching missiles from key sites in western Iraq. We are now fighting the most desperate units of the dictator's army. The fighting is fierce and we do not know its duration, yet we know the outcome of this battle: The Iraqi regime will be disarmed and removed from power. Iraq will be free.

In the last week the world has seen firsthand the cruel nature of a dying regime. In areas still under its control, the regime continues its rule by terror. Prisoners of war have been brutalized and executed. Iraqis who refuse to fight for the regime are being murdered. An Iraqi woman was hanged for waving at coalition troops. Some in the Iraqi military have pretended to surrender, then opened fire on coalition forces that showed them mercy.

Given the nature of this regime, we expect such war crimes, but we will not excuse them. War criminals will be hunted relentlessly and judged severely.

In the last week, the world has also seen the nature of the young men and women who fight on our behalf. They are showing kindness and respect to the Iraqi people. They are going to extraordinary lengths to spare the lives of the innocent. Our forces are delivering food and water to grateful Iraqi citizens in Safwan and Umm Qasr. The contrast could not be greater between the honorable conduct of our liberating force and the criminal acts of the enemy.

Every atrocity has confirmed the justice and urgency of our cause. Against this enemy, we will accept no outcome but complete and final victory. To meet this objective, we must give our armed services the support and resources they require. I have asked Congress for a nearly $75 billion wartime supplemental appropriations bill. This funding would provide fuel for ships, aircraft, and tanks, supplies for our troops in the theater of operations, and new high-tech munitions to replace the ones we have used in the war. The supplemental would also provide funds to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq, and to help protect the American homeland in this time of high alert. I hope the Congress will act quickly to pass this essential measure.

The people who serve in the military are giving their best to this country. We have the responsibility to give them our full support as they fight for the liberty of an oppressed people, for the security of the United States, and for the peace of the world.

Thank you for listening.
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President Salutes Military... [31 Mar 2003|06:28pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 28, 2003.

Good afternoon. Thanks for coming, and welcome to the people's house. It is my honor to welcome distinguished veterans to the White House. I'm especially pleased to have met with leaders from the veterans organizations at this crucial time for our country.

The men and women who have worn the nation's uniform set an example of service and an example of sacrifice for future generations. And the current generation of our military is not letting us down. (Applause.) Today's Armed Forces are upholding the finest traditions of our country and of our military. They are making great progress in the war in Iraq. They are showing great courage and they are making this country proud.

I'm honored that Tony Principi introduced me. I'm proud of his service to our country, not only as a Vietnam vet, but now as the head of the Veterans Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs. He's doing a really good job. (Applause.)

I want to thank the national commanders and presidents of our national veteran service organizations for coming. I want to thank you all for your service to your fellow Americans. I appreciate your members being here with us. I'm particularly pleased that Brian Thacker, a Medal of Honor recipient, is with us, as well. I want to thank all our vets -- (applause.) And I want to thank all the vets who are here.

You're here at a time when our -- the coalition, the United States and our partners, are acting together in a noble purpose. We're out to keep the peace, to make the world more peaceful, to make our nation and other nations more secure, and we're going to free the people of Iraq from the clutches of Saddam Hussein and his murderous allies.

We are sending a clear signal to the world that we will not submit to a future in which dictators and terrorists can arm and threaten the peace without consequence. We are enforcing the demands of the United Nations, and we refuse to leave the Iraqi people in slavery under Saddam Hussein. When the war in Iraq is won, all of who have joined this cause will be able to say to the Iraqi people, we were proud to fight for your freedom. (Applause.)

The regime that once terrorized all of Iraq now controls a small portion of that country. Coalition troops continue their steady advance and are drawing nearer to Baghdad. We're inflicting severe damage on enemy forces. We are now fighting the most desperate units of the dictator's army. The fierce fighting currently underway will demand further courage and further sacrifice. Yet we know the outcome of this battle: The Iraqi regime will be disarmed. The Iraqi regime will be removed from power. Iraq will be free. (Applause.)

In the last week, we have seen the brutal and cruel nature of a dying regime. In areas still under its control, the regime continues its rule by terror. Prisoners of war have been brutalized and executed. Iraqis who refuse to fight for the regime are being murdered. Some in the Iraqi military have pretended to surrender and then opened fire on coalition forces that were willing to show them mercy.

Given the nature of this regime, we expect such war crimes, but we will not excuse them. (Applause.) War criminals will be hunted relentlessly and judged severely. (Applause.)

In the last week, we have also seen the nature of the young men and women who fight on our behalf. Coalition forces have begun delivering food and water to liberated parts of Iraq. I was pleased to hear today that the United Nations Security Council acted to resume food and medical supplies under the existing U.N. program, which will bring urgent relief to millions of Iraqis.

We care about the human condition of the people who have suffered under Saddam Hussein. We provided $60 million to the World Food Program, to help get this humanitarian effort up and running. We're shipping hundreds of thousands of metric tons of food to Iraq. In every possible way, coalition forces are showing kindness and respect to the Iraqi people. They're going to extraordinary lengths to spare the lives of the innocent. We treat wounded Iraqi soldiers.

The contrast could not be greater between the honorable conduct of our forces and the criminal acts of the enemy. (Applause.) Every Iraqi atrocity has confirmed the justice and the urgency of our cause. (Applause.) Against this enemy we will accept no outcome except complete victory. (Applause.)

To meet this outcome, we must give our armed services the support and the resources they require. As veterans, all of you understand the importance of a well-supplied and well-trained fighting force. I've asked Congress for a nearly $75 billion wartime supplemental appropriations bill. This funding would provide fuel for ships and aircraft and tanks; supplies for our troops in the theater of operations; new high-tech munitions to replace the ones we have used in this war. The supplemental would also provide funds to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq, and to help protect the American homeland in this time of high alert.

I want to thank the veterans groups for their strong support, unwavering support, for this wartime supplemental, and I call upon the United States Congress to pass the supplemental as quickly as possible. (Applause.)

I also appreciate all the veterans are doing for America's military families in time of hardship. I appreciate your compassion. Across our country, local chapters of the American Legion, for example, are stepping forward to help those families in practical ways, from making household repairs to helping with child care. Members of the VFW and Auxiliary are sending care packages with baby supplies to military families. Operation Uplink Program is helping thousands of service members keep in touch with their loved ones.

Both the American Legion and the VFW are working with the U.S.A. Freedom Corps on a project called On the Home Front. This effort will match Americans who want to volunteer their times and skills with the military families who need help. Because of all this generosity, our men and women serving overseas will know that their loved ones are not facing this time alone.

I want to thank the veterans -- the veterans groups for understanding the compassion needed to help those who are here, wondering and worrying about their loved ones overseas. The people who serve in the military are giving their best to this country, and we have the responsibility to give them our full support. (Applause.) Our full support not only here in Washington, D.C., but our support all across the country.

I want to thank each veteran here today and across our land for the lifetime of service you have given our nation. I thank you for standing behind the men and women of today's Armed Forces, as they fight for the liberty of an oppressed people, for the security of the United States and our friends and allies, and for the peace of the world. May God bless our troops. (Applause.)
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President Bush, Prime Minister Blair Hold Press Availibility... [31 Mar 2003|06:27pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 27, 2003.

Thank you all. It's my honor to welcome my friend and Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair, back to Camp David. America has learned a lot about Tony Blair over the last weeks. We've learned that he's a man of his word. We've learned that he's a man of courage, that he's a man of vision. And we're proud to have him as a friend.

The United States and United Kingdom are acting together in a noble purpose. We're working together to make the world more peaceful; we're working together to make our respective nations and all the free nations of the world more secure; and we're working to free the Iraqi people.

British, American, Australian, Polish and other coalition troops are sharing the duties of this war, and we're sharing the sacrifices of this war. Together, coalition forces are advancing day by day, in steady progress, against the enemy. Slowly, but surely, the grip of terror around the throats of the Iraqi people is being loosened.

We appreciate the bravery, the professionalism of the British troops, and all coalition troops. Together we have lost people, and the American people offer their prayers to the loved ones of the British fallen, just as we offer our prayers to the loved ones of our own troops who have fallen.

We're now engaging the dictator's most hardened and most desperate units. The campaign ahead will demand further courage and require further sacrifice. Yet we know the outcome: Iraq will be disarmed; the Iraqi regime will be ended; and the long-suffering Iraqi people will be free.

In decades of oppression, the Iraqi regime has sought to instill the habits of fear in the daily lives of millions; yet, soon, the Iraqis will have the confidence of a free people. Our coalition will stand with the citizens of Iraq in the challenges ahead. We are prepared to deliver humanitarian aid on a large scale -- and as a matter of fact, are beginning to do so as we speak.

Today the Prime Minister and I also urge the United Nations to immediately resume the oil-for-food program. More than half the Iraqi people depend on this program as their sole source of food. This urgent humanitarian issue must not be politicized, and the Security Council should give Secretary General Annan the authority to start getting food supplies to those most in need of assistance.

As we address the immediate suffering of the Iraqi people, we're also committed to helping them over the long-term. Iraq's greatest long-term need is a representative government that protects the rights of all Iraqis. The form of this government will be chosen by the Iraqi people, not imposed by outsiders. And the Prime Minister and I are confident that a free Iraq will be a successful nation.

History requires more of our coalition than a defeat of a terrible danger. I see an opportunity, as does Prime Minister Blair, to bring renewed hope and progress to the entire Middle East. Last June 24th, I outlined a vision of two states, Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security. Soon, we'll release the road map that is designed to help turn that vision into reality. And both America and Great Britain are strongly committed to implementing that road map.

For nearly a century, the United States and Great Britain have been allies in the defense of liberty. We've opposed all the great threats to peace and security in the world. We shared in the costly and heroic struggle against Nazism. We shared the resolve and moral purpose of the Cold War. In every challenge, we've applied the combined power of our nations to the cause of justice, and we're doing the same today. Our alliance is strong, our resolve is firm, and our mission will be achieved.

Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for your welcome. Thank you for your strength and for your leadership at this time. And I believe the alliance between the United States and Great Britain has never been in better or stronger shape.

Can I also offer the American people, on behalf of the British people, our condolences, our sympathy, our prayers for the lives of those who have fallen in this conflict, just as we have offered the condolence, the sympathy, and the prayers to the families of our own British servicemen.

Just under a week into this conflict, let me restate our complete and total resolve. Saddam Hussein and his hateful regime will be removed from power. Iraq will be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction, and the Iraqi people will be free. That is our commitment, that is our determination, and we will see it done.

We had this morning a presentation of the latest military situation, which shows already the progress that has been made. It's worth just recapping it, I think, for a moment. In less than a week, we have secured the southern oil fields and facilities, and so protected that resource and wealth for the Iraqi people and avoided ecological disaster. We've disabled Iraq's ability to launch external aggression from the west.

Our forces are now within 50 miles of Baghdad. They've surrounded Basra. They've secured the key port of Umm Qasr. They've paved the way for humanitarian aid to flow into the country. And they brought real damage on Iraq's command and control. So we can be confident that the goals that we have set ourselves will be met.

I would like to pay tribute to the professionalism and integrity of our forces and those of the United States of America, our other coalition allies, and to say how their professionalism, as well as their skill and their bravery, stands in sharp contrast to the brutality of Saddam's regime.

Day by day, we have seen the reality of Saddam's regime -- his thugs prepared to kill their own people; the parading of prisoners of war; and now, the release of those pictures of executed British soldiers. If anyone needed any further evidence of the depravity of Saddam's regime, this atrocity provides it. It is yet one more flagrant breach of all the proper conventions of war. More than that, to the families of the soldiers involved, it is an act of cruelty beyond comprehension. Indeed, it is beyond the comprehension of anyone with an ounce of humanity in their souls.

On behalf of the British government, I would like to offer my condolences particularly to the family and the friends of those two brave young men who died in the service of their country, and to the ordinary Iraqi people, to whom we are determined to bring a better future.

The future of the Iraqi people is one reason why much of our discussion has focused on humanitarian issues. Again, here we have the ship, the Sir Galahad, loaded with tons of supplies destined for the people of Iraq. The other immediate humanitarian priority is to restart the U.N. oil-for-food program, which the President and I discussed, and which I will be discussing with Kofi Annan later this evening. And this is urgent.

We also discussed the post-conflict issues. Contrary to a lot of the comment on this, the position is exactly as the President and I set out in the Azores -- namely, that we will work with the U.N., our allies and partners and bilateral donors. We will seek new U.N. Security Council resolutions to affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, to ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief, and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq.

But let me emphasize once again that our primary focus now is, and must be, the military victory, which we will prosecute with the utmost vigor. And the immediate priority for the United Nations is, as the President was indicating a moment or two ago, the oil-for-food program.

In addition, as has just been said to you, we had an excellent discussion of the Middle East, and we both share a complete determination to move this forward. It is, indeed, often overlooked that President Bush is the first U.S. President publicly to commit himself to a two-state solution, an Israel confident of its security and a viable Palestinian state. And I welcome the decision announced recently to publish the road map as soon as the confirmation of the new Palestinian Prime Minister is properly administered.

Finally, I would just like to say this: I think it is important that we recognize at this time that the goals that we are fighting for are just goals. Whatever the difficulty of war, let us just remember this is a regime that has brutalized its people for well over two decades. Of course, there will be people fiercely loyal to that regime who will fight all the way; they have no option. But I have no doubt at all that the vast majority of ordinary Iraqi people are desperate for a better and different future, for Iraq to be free, for its government to be representative of its people, for the human rights of the people to be cared for.

And that is why, though, of course, our aim is to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and make our world more secure. The justice of our cause lies in the liberation of the Iraqi people. And to them we say, we will liberate you. The day of your freedom draws near.

THE PRESIDENT: We'll take two questions a side. We would hope that you would respect asking one question per question.

Fournier.

Q That, of course, means I can ask each leader one question.

THE PRESIDENT: No, it does not mean that. Of course, you will anyway, but --

Q Yes, sir.

First to you, Mr. Prime Minister. Briefly, Secretary Powell said yesterday that the U.N. should have a role in postwar Iraq, but that the United States should have a significant, dominating control of post-Saddam Iraq. How will that kind of talk play in Europe?

And, Mr. President, can you help me understand the timing of this war? You talked yesterday that it will be -- we're far from over. Today you said, it's going slowly, but surely we're working our way to our end goal. Given that the resistance has been as strong as it's been in the south, and that we have what you call the most hardened, most desperate forces still around Baghdad, are we to assume that this is going to last -- could last months and not weeks -- and not days?

THE PRESIDENT: I'll answer that question very quickly and then get to his. However long it takes to win. That's --

Q -- take months?

THE PRESIDENT: However long it takes to achieve our objective. And that's important for you to know, the American people to know, our allies to know, and the Iraqi people to know.

Q It could be months?

THE PRESIDENT: However long it takes. That's the answer to your question and that's what you've got to know. It isn't a matter of timetable, it's a matter of victory. And the Iraqi people have got to know that, see. They've got to know that they will be liberated and Saddam Hussein will be removed, no matter how long it takes.

Go ahead.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: In relation to the United Nations, there's no doubt at all that the United Nations has got to be closely involved in this process. That's not just right; it's in everyone's interest that it happens. All I'm saying to people is, the focus -- the immediate focus has got to be on the oil-for-food program, because that is thing we need to get sorted out with the United Nations literally in the next few days.

Now, after that is the issue of the post-conflict administration, where, as we said in our Azores statement, it's important there, again, that the U.N. is involved, and that any post-conflict administration in Iraq is endorsed by it.

But there are huge numbers of details to be discussed with our allies as to exactly how that is going to work -- and also, the conflict is not yet over, we are still in the conflict. So we will carry on discussing that with the U.N., with other allies. But I think that is best done in those discussions without trying to do it by discussion through the press conference or through megaphone diplomacy.

But, about the role of the U.N. and the basis of the principles we set out in the Azores Summit, there is simply no difference at all there. But there are a huge amount of details as to exactly how that is to be implemented that have to be a matter of discussion, and also, a matter of a reflection of the reality that we will face when we get to the point of post-conflict.

Q -- of the BBC. For both leaders, if I may. We, all of us, noted quite a shift in emphasis over the last few days from a hope that this could be over very, very quickly, to the military in both countries briefing about months. My question is really, why do you think that shift has taken place? Did we underestimate the scale of Iraqi resistance? Has it been the weather? Has it been poor advice at the beginning of the campaign, or is it a military question?

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, you know, in the previous two campaigns in which I've been involved -- Kosovo and Afghanistan -- you reach this particular point where people start asking -- ask us to speculate on exactly how much time it takes to get the job done. The important thing is the job will be done. There is no point in entering into a speculation of how long it takes except to say we have been, I think, just under a week into this conflict. Now, because of the way it's reported, you've got this constant 24-hours-a-day media, it may seem to people that it's a lot longer than just under a week. But actually, it's just under a week. And in just under a week, there is a massive amount that has already been achieved. I mean, after all, coalition forces are within 50 miles of Baghdad, the southern oil fields are secured, the west is protected from external aggression, we've got forces going into the north.

Now, we will carry on until the job is done. But there is absolutely no point, in my view, of trying to set a time limit or speculate on it, because it's not set by time, it's set by the nature of the job. All I would do, though, is point out to you that within those six or seven days, actually an enormous amount has already been achieved.

I think it's also important just to make one other point, which is we have very deliberately wanted to do this in a way that protects the future of the Iraqi people, too. And that's one reason why we went immediately in to secure the oil installations in the south. If we weren't able to do that, then the prospects of the Iraqi people for the future would be blighted. That's why the air campaign has targeted very, very specifically, as precisely as we possibly can, military command and control, the aspects of Saddam's regime, not the civilian population.

So we're doing this in the way that we set it out to achieve our objectives. We will achieve our objectives.

THE PRESIDENT: I have nothing more to add to that.

Randy.

Q Mr. President, you've raised the possibility of holding Iraqis accountable for war crimes. I'm wondering if now if you could describe what war crimes you think they've committed to date. And secondly, sir, should the Iraqis be prepared for U.S. retaliation with nuclear weapons if they were to attack coalition forces with weapons of mass destruction?

THE PRESIDENT: You heard the Prime Minister eloquently talk about the loss of British life. They were murdered, unarmed soldiers executed. I mean, that's a war crime. But, you know, I'm not surprised. This man, Saddam Hussein, has tortured and brutalized his people for a long, long time.

We had reports the other day of a dissident who had his tongue cut out and was tied to the stake in the town square, and he bled to death. That's how Saddam Hussein retains power.

His sons are brutal, brutal people. They're barbaric in nature. So I'm not surprised he's committing crimes against our soldiers. I'm not surprised to hear stories about his thugs killing their own citizens and trying to blame it on coalition forces. I'm not surprised to know that regular army forces are trying to desert, but get blown away by fellow Iraqi citizens. I'm not surprised, because the nature of the man who has run the country for a long period of time.

If he uses weapons of mass destruction, that will just prove our case. And we will deal with it. We've got one objective in mind: That's victory. And we'll achieve victory.

Q -- (inaudible) --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, they've been sent a message in this war, too, in that if you launch a weapon of mass destruction, you'll be tried as a war criminal. And I urge those Iraqi generals who have any doubt of our word to be careful, because we'll keep our word. We're going to keep our word to the Iraqi people and we'll keep our word to those war criminals in Iraq.

Q I'd like to break the rule, because I don't think we know the details of why you're using this word "executed" about the British servicemen. I would like if you could explain that.

But could I ask you both -- you both talked about the history, the justness of the cause that you believe that this war is. Why is it then, that if you go back to that history, if you go back over the last century or, indeed, recent conflicts in your political careers, you have not got the support of people who have been firm allies, like the French, like the Germans, like the Turkish? Why haven't you got their support?

THE PRESIDENT: We've got a huge coalition. As a matter of fact, the coalition that we've assembled today is larger than one assembled in 1991 in terms of the number of nations participating. I'm very pleased with the size of our coalition.

I was down yesterday at CENTCOM and met with many of the generals from the countries represented in our coalition, and they're proud to be side-by-side with our allies. This is a vast coalition that believes in our cause, and I'm proud of their participation.

Q They're not Western allies. Why not?

THE PRESIDENT: We have plenty of Western allies. We've got -- I mean, we can give you the list. Ally after ally after ally has stood with us and continues to stand with us. And we are extremely proud of their participation.

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Can I -- in relation to our soldiers, the reason I used the language I did was because of the circumstances that we know.

And the reason why I think it is important to recognize the strength of our alliance -- yes, there are countries that disagree with what we are doing. I mean, there's no point in hiding it; there's been a division. And you obviously have to take and go and ask those other countries why they're not with us, and they will give you the reasons why they disagree. But I think what is important is to bear in mind two things. First of all, there are an immense number of countries that do agree with us. I mean, I hear people constantly say to me, Europe is against what you're doing. That is not true. There is a part of Europe that is against what we are doing. There are many existing members of the European Union, and virtually all the new members of the European Union, that strongly support what we are doing. So there is a division, but we have many allies.

And the second point I'd make is this, that I understand why people hesitate before committing to conflict and to war. War is a brutal and a bloody business. But we are faced with the situation where Saddam Hussein has been given 12 years to disarm voluntarily of weapons of mass destruction, that the whole of the international community accepts is a threat, and he has not done so. Instead, what we have had is 12 years in which he has remained in power with these weapons intact and brutalized his own people.

Now, we felt we had come to the point where if we wanted to take a stand against what I believe to be the dominant security threat of our time -- which is the combination of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of unstable, repressive states and terrorist groups -- if we wanted to take a stand, then we had to act. And we went through the diplomatic process. We tried to make the diplomatic process work, but we weren't able to do so.

And the other reason why I think it is important that we act, and why, indeed, we have many, many allies, is because people do know that this is a brutal regime. That is not the reason for us initiating this action -- that is in relation to weapons of mass destruction. But it is a reason why, if we do so, as we are doing, we do so in the full knowledge that we are, indeed, going to bring a better future for the Iraqi people.

And if you just want one statistic -- although statistics I'm afraid never have the same emotional appeal as pictures, but we don't see these pictures of what has happened in Iraq in the past -- but just one statistic: Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living. Now, that is why we're acting.

And, yes, there are divisions in the international community. There are many people on our side, there are those that oppose us. But that is for us, I'm afraid --

Q -- why do they --

PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I'm afraid, Adam, that is a question to ask to other people, as well as to us. All I can tell you is why we are acting and why we believe our cause to be just. And, yes, at the end of this whole process, we need to go back over it and ask why this has happened. But I simply say to you that if the world walks away from the security threat facing us, and if we back down and take no action against Saddam, think of the signal that would have sent right across the world to every brutal dictator, to every terrorist group.

Now, we believe that we had to act. Others have disagreed. As I say, at some point, we will have to come back and we'll have to discuss how the disagreement arose. But I have no doubt that we're doing the right thing. I have no doubt that our cause is just, and I have no doubt that, were we to walk away from this conflict at this time, we would be doing a huge disservice to future generations.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all.
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President Rallies Troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa... [31 Mar 2003|06:25pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 26, 2003.

Thank you, all. (Applause.) Thank you, all. Thank you, all, very much. General Delong, thanks for such a kind introduction.

Laura and I are really proud to be here with the good men and women of CENTCOM and MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. (Applause.)

We are pleased to see so many family members who are here. We want to -- (applause) -- we thank you for coming. And I want you to know your nation appreciates your commitment and your sacrifice in the cause of peace and freedom. (Applause.)

We're also proud to be here today with our friends and allies, representative of the 48 nations across the world who have joined America in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Applause.) Over the last week the world has witnessed the skill and honor and resolve of our military in the course of battle. We have seen the character of this new generation of American Armed Forces. We've seen their daring against ruthless enemies and their decency to an oppressed people. Millions of Americans are proud of our military, and so am I. I am honored to be the Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

I appreciate very much General Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has joined us from Washington, D.C. today. He is representative of the caliber of our generals. He's one of the finest people I know. I'm proud you're here, General Pace. Thank you for representing the Marine Corps so well, and all the fighting men and women. (Applause.)

I'm proud, also, to be here with Charles Holland, Commander of SOCOM -- (applause), the Wing Commander of MacDill Air Force Base, Colonel Tanker

Snyder. (Applause.) He told me that was his given name, Tanker. (Laughter.) That's a heck of a name, Tanker. (Laughter.)

Of course, I'm really proud of your Governor. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: God bless you, sir! (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: I want to thank members of the Florida congressional delegation who flew down with us today on Air Force One, starting with the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, a Floridian committed to making sure our military has what it takes to win war and, therefore, be able to keep the peace -- the Chairman, Bill Young. (Applause.) As well, Congressman Jim Davis, Mike Bilirakis, Adam Putnam and Katherine Harris came down today. (Applause.) I know we've got some of the Mayors from the local area here, Rick Baker, Brian Aungst and my old buddy, Dick Greco, the Mayor of

Tampa, Florida -- for being here. (Applause.)

I want to thank everybody in uniform who is here today -- thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your love of America. (Applause.) I appreciate the members of the United States Coast Guard who are here today. (Applause.) Our Coast Guard is deployed in the Middle East, at the same time it protects this homeland of ours. And you're doing a fine job on behalf of the American people, all up and down the coastlines of this great country.

I want to thank members of the Florida Army National Guard who are here. (Applause.) And I suspect we might have a few veterans -- (applause)

-- as well as retired members of our military. I want to thank you all for your service, for setting such a clear example for future generations of

those who wear our uniform. I think you'll agree that our military is not letting you down when it comes to upholding the great tradition of peace through strength. (Applause.)

One of the problems with being the President is you always end up being the last guy here. (Laughter.) So I'm sorry I didn't get to hear Toby Keith and Daryl Worley. But I want to thank you all for coming and providing your talents today in support of -- support of our efforts to make the world a more peaceful place. I also want to thank Chaplain Stone. I appreciate your words of prayer for our men and women in uniform, especially for

your prayers for the loved ones of American and British troops whose lives were lost.

People across this country are praying. They are praying that they hope those families and loved ones will find comfort and grace in their sorrow. We pray that God will bless and receive each of the fallen, and we thank God that liberty found such brave defenders. (Applause.)

At MacDill Air Force Base, I know you're proud of a certain Army general who couldn't -- (applause) -- who couldn't be with us today on the account of some pressing business. (Laughter and applause.) Tommy Franks has my respect, the respect of our military, and the thanks of the United States of America. (Applause.)

MacDill is the Command Center of our Special Operations Forces -- (applause) -- the silent warriors who were first on the ground -- were first on the ground there in Iraq. And here at CENTCOM, you coordinate the work of a grand coalition that is disarming a dangerous enemy and freeing a proud people. (Applause.)

Every nation in our coalition understands the terrible threat we face from weapons of mass destruction. Every nation represented here refuses to live in a future of fear, at the mercy of terrorists and tyrants. And every nation here today shares the same resolve: We will be relentless in our pursuit of victory. (Applause.)

Our military is making good progress in Iraq; yet this war is far from over. As they approach Baghdad, our fighting units are facing the most desperate elements of a doomed regime. We cannot know the duration of this war, but we are prepared for the battle ahead. We cannot predict the final day of the Iraqi regime, but I can assure you, and I assure the long-suffering people of Iraq, there will be a day of reckoning for the Iraqi regime, and that day is drawing near. (Applause.)

Many of you here today were also involved in the liberation of Afghanistan. (Applause.) The military demands are very different in Iraq. Yet our coalition is showing the same spirit, the same resolve -- that spirit and resolve that destroyed the al Qaeda terror camps, that routed the Taliban and freed the people of Afghanistan. (Applause.)

In Iraq today, our military is focused and unwavering. We have an effective plan of battle and the flexibility to meet every challenge. Nothing -- nothing -- will divert us from our clear mission. We will press on through every hardship. We will overcome every danger. And we will prevail. (Applause.)

It has been six days since the major ground war began. It's been five days since the major air war began. And every day has brought us closer to our objective. At the opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Special Forces helped to secure air fields and bridges and oil fields, to clear the way for our forces and to prevent sabotage and environmental catastrophe. Our pilots and Cruise missiles have struck vital military targets with lethal precision.

We've destroyed the base of a terrorist group in Northern Iraq that sought to attack America and Europe with deadly poisons. We have moved over

200 miles to the north, toward Iraq's capital, in the last three days. (Applause.) And the dictator's major Republican Guard units are now under direct and intense attack. (Applause.) Day by day, Saddam Hussein is losing his grip on Iraq; day by day, the Iraqi people are closer to freedom. (Applause.)

We are also taking every action we can to prevent the Iraqi regime from using its hidden weapons of mass destruction. We are attacking the command structure that could order the use of those weapons. Coalition troops have taken control of hundreds of square miles of territory to prevent the launch of missiles, and chemical or biological weapons.

Every victory in this campaign, and every sacrifice serves the purpose of defending innocent lives, in America and across the world, from the weapons of terror. We will not wait to meet this danger, with firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our own cities. Instead, we are meeting the danger today with our Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. (Applause.)

All the nations in our coalition are contributing to our steady progress. British ground forces have seized strategic towns and ports. The Royal Air Force is striking targets throughout Iraq. The Royal Navy is taking command of coastal waters. The Australian military is providing naval gunfire support, and Special Forces, and fighter aircraft on missions deep in Iraq. Polish military forces have secured an Iraqi oil platform in the Persian Gulf. A Danish submarine is monitoring Iraqi intelligence providing early warning. Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Romanian forces, soon to be joined by Ukrainian and Bulgarian forces, are forward deployed in the region, prepared to respond in the event of an attack of weapons of mass destruction anywhere in the region. Spain is providing important logistical and humanitarian support. Coalition forces are skilled and courageous, and we are honored to have them by our side. (Applause.)

In the early stages of this war, the world is getting a clearer view of the Iraqi regime and the evil at its heart. In the ranks of that regime

are men whose idea of courage is to brutalize unarmed prisoners. They wage attacks while posing as civilians. They use real civilians as human shields. They pretend to surrender, then fire upon those who show them mercy. This band of war criminals has been put on notice: the day of Iraq's liberation will also be a day of justice. (Applause.)

And in the early stages of this war, we have also seen the honor of the American military and our coalition. Protecting innocent civilians is a

central commitment of our war plan. Our enemy in this war is the Iraqi regime, not the people who have suffered under it. As we bring justice to a dictator, today we started bringing humanitarian aid in large amounts to an oppressed land. (Applause.)

We are treating Iraqi prisoners of war according the highest standards of law and decency. Coalition doctors are working to save the lives of the wounded, including Iraqi soldiers. One of our servicemen said this about the injured Iraqis he treated: "We can't blame them for the mistreatment their government is doing to our soldiers. I'm all for treating them. That's what we do. That's our job." (Applause.)

Our entire coalition has a job to do, and it will not end with the liberation of Iraq. We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq's own culture and its own choices. Yet, this much is certain: The 24 million people of Iraq have lived too long under a violent criminal gang calling itself a government.

Iraqis are a good and gifted people. They deserve better than a life spent bowing before a dictator. The people of Iraq deserve to stand on their feet as free men and women -- the citizens of a free country. (Applause.)

This goal of a free and peaceful Iraq unites our coalition. And this goal comes from the deepest convictions of America. The freedom you defend

is the right of every person and the future of every nature. The liberty we prize is not American's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity.

(Applause.).

The Army Special Forces define their mission in a motto, "To liberate the oppressed." (Applause.) Generations of men and women in uniform have

served and sacrificed in this cause. Now the call of history has come once again to all in our military and to all in our coalition. We are answering that call. We have no ambition in Iraq except the liberation of its people. We ask no reward except a durable peace. And we will accept no outcome short of complete and final success. (Applause.)

The path we are taking is not easy, and it may be long. Yet we know our destination. We will stay on the path -- mile by mile -- all the way to Baghdad, and all the way to victory. (Applause.)

Thank you, all. And may God bless America. (Applause.)
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Wartime Budget... [31 Mar 2003|05:55pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 25, 2003.

Thank you all. Please be seated. Well, good morning. Thanks for coming. I've just met with our leaders here at the Pentagon, who are monitoring the course of our battle to free Iraq and rid that country of weapons of mass destruction. Our coalition is on a steady advance. We're making good progress.

We're fighting an enemy that knows no rules of law, that will wear civilian uniforms, that is willing to kill in order to continue the reign of fear of Saddam Hussein. But we're fighting with bravery and courage.

We cannot know the duration of this war. Yet we know its outcome; we will prevail. The Iraqi regime will be disarmed. The Iraqi regime will be ended. The Iraqi people will be free. And our world will be more secure and peaceful.

The people of our military and their families are showing great courage, and some have suffered great loss. America is grateful to all those who have sacrificed in our cause.

Our coalition is strong. It's bound together by the principle of protecting not only this nation, but all nations from a brutal regime that is armed with weapons that could kill thousands of innocent people. America has more than 200,000 men and women engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Our troops also continue to fight bravely in other fronts of this war on terror. In Afghanistan last week, coalition forces launched Operation Valiant Strike against terrorists and their allies in the southern mountains of Afghanistan. Of course, we have troops standing watch in other parts of the world to protect and maintain the peace. All the members of the military, abroad, at home, or here in this important building, are bound together by a great cause, to defend the American people and advance the universal hope of freedom.

America has accepted this responsibility. We also accept the cost of supporting our military and the missions we give it. Today, I'm sending the Congress a wartime supplemental appropriations request of $74.7 billion, to fund needs directly arising from the Iraqi conflict and our global war against terror. My request to Congress will pay for the massive task of transporting a fully-equipped military force, both active duty and reserve, to a region halfway around the world.

This money will cover the current cost of fueling our ships and aircraft and tanks, and of airlifting tons of supplies into the theater of operations. The supplemental will also allow us to replace the high-tech munitions we are now directing against Saddam Hussein's regime.

My request includes funds for relief and reconstruction in a free Iraq. This nation and our coalition partners are committed to making sure that the Iraqi citizens who have suffered under a brutal tyrant have got the food and medicine needed as soon as possible.

Tommy Franks briefed us this morning about coalition efforts to demine the harbors -- the harbor -- to make sure that our humanitarian relief can be delivered safely to the Iraqi people. Coalition forces are working hard to make sure that when the food and medicine begins to move, it does so in a safe way. And soon, the Iraqi people will see the great compassion of not only the United States, but other nations around the world who care deeply about the human condition inside that country.

Our campaign in Iraq involves assistance of coalition partners and friends in the Middle East. The funding request to Congress will help reduce the economic burdens these countries have experienced in supporting our efforts. Also included are funds essential to waging, and helping our partners wage, the broader war on terror, which continues in Afghanistan, in the Philippines, and elsewhere.

We continue to fight the war on terror by protecting our homeland. At the federal level, I'm requesting more resources for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, to deal with this period of uncertainty. We'll provide resources for patrolling and safeguarding our borders; funds to help the FBI investigate domestic threats in this time of war; additional funding for the Coast Guard for port security in the United States and in the Middle East.

In this time of heightened security, we are expecting states and communities to take on greater responsibilities to protect critical infrastructure. And so I'm seeking additional resources to help states and cities make these preparations for the protection of our citizens.

Yesterday I informed the leaders of Congress of these spending requests. The situation in any war is fluid. I reminded them of that fact, and so I'm asking Congress for flexibility in how these funds can be allocated. They heard that message. They also heard the message that the need is urgent. The wartime supplemental is directly related to winning this war, and to securing the peace that will follow this war. I ask Congress to act quickly and responsibly.

One thing is for certain: Business as usual on Capitol Hill can't go on during this time of war. And by that I mean the supplemental should not be viewed as an opportunity to add spending that is unrelated, unwise, and unnecessary. Every dollar we spend must serve the interests of our nation, and the interests of our nation in this supplemental is to win this war and to be able to keep the peace.

Eighteen months ago, this building came under attack. From that day to this, we have been engaged in a new kind of war -- and we are winning. We will not leave our future to be decided by terrorist groups or terrorist regimes. At every turn in this conflict, Americans can be confident in the people who wear our nation's uniform. We support them. We are thankful for their service in places of great danger, in this hour of great need.

May God continue to look out after those who defend the peace and freedom. And may God continue to bless America. Thank you.
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Bush On Military Operation... [31 Mar 2003|05:54pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 23, 2003.

I am pleased with the progress that we're making in the early stages of a -- of the war to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction, and to free the Iraqi people from the clutches of a brutal dictatorship.

Today, in our church service, Laura and I prayed for the coalition forces, those in the coalition forces who lost their lives. We pray for their families. We ask God's comfort for those who mourn today. And we thank all the coalition forces for their bravery and courage in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I'll answer a few questions.

Q Sir, have you seen the tape --

Q Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: One at a time, please. Scott. Thank you.

Q What do you know about the prisoners, anything, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: I've been briefed, I'm constantly briefed by the Pentagon and through the National Security Office. I would -- I don't know all the details yet. I do know that we expect them to be treated humanely, just like we'll treat any prisoners of theirs that we capture humanely.

I think it's an interesting contrast that a lot of their soldiers welcome American troops, they're surrendering gleefully, happily. And they'll be treated well. And I ask you to ask the Defense Department for further details.

Patsy.

Q Sir, what do you know about Saddam Hussein and his fate, if anything?

THE PRESIDENT: I know that Saddam Hussein is losing control of his country, that we're slowly, but surely, achieving our objective.

It's important for the American people to realize that this war has just begun, that it may -- it may seem like a long time because of all the action on TV, but in terms of the overall strategy, we're just in the beginning phases, and that we're executing a plan which will make it easier to achieve objective, and at the same time, spare innocent life.

And I'm most proud of our troops and coalition troops for showing their bravery and skill.

Larry.

Q Mr. President, do you know -- at this point, can you tell Americans, I mean, is the war progressing the way you expected it to?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Larry, it is. It is -- and I -- the air campaign is achieving its objective, and the ground campaign is also achieving objective. We're slowly, but surely, taking control of that country so that we can free the people of Iraq and eventually clear that country of weapons of mass destruction. We've made good progress.

One of the big concerns early on was the Southern oil fields. As you all remember, we had discussions about that. There was a lot of speculation about whether or not coalition forces would be able to get to the Southern oil fields in time, before -- so that Saddam Hussein wouldn't destroy them. As a matter of fact, I had frequently talked about the Southern oil fields -- or oil fields in general -- in my declaratory policy.

Tommy Franks put a plan in place that moved on those oil fields quickly, and at least in the south, they are secure. And that is positive news for all of us. Most of the south is now in coalition hands. Obviously, there's pockets of resistance in a place like Basra. We're making great progress -- in the west, we're making great progress. The area, the launch sites for the scuds, while certainly not a hundred percent secure, but we've made good progress.

And so I can assure the American people we're making good progress, and I also can assure them that this is just the beginning of a tough fight.

Q Sir, have you specifically been told that American POWs have been executed? And even --

THE PRESIDENT: I have not been told that. I have been told that we have a problem with potential capture. I'm waiting to -- when I get back upstairs I'll talk back to the Pentagon again. I was told early this morning that perhaps our troops were captured. Maybe between the time I left Camp David and here I'll learn more. But I am concerned about our troops. Obviously, any time one of our soldiers loses a life, I grieve with their parents and their loved ones. And if there is somebody captured, and it looks like there may be, I expect those people to be treated humanely.

Q Sir, what is your level of confidence that the Iraqi regime will surrender or collapse before U.S. forces need to be engaged in a fight in Baghdad?

THE PRESIDENT: I -- all I know is we've got a game plan, a strategy to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein and rid his country of weapons of mass destruction, and we're on plan.

Bill. And then Mike.

Q Iraqi TV has shown what appear to be American POWs, and also what appear to be American dead. Your reaction?

THE PRESIDENT: I expect them to be treated, the POWs I expect to be treated humanely. And -- just like we're treating the prisoners that we have captured humanely. If not, the people who mistreat the prisoners will be treated as war criminals.

Mike.

Q Mr. President, do you retain hope that Saddam Hussein will go into exile, and are there any active negotiations about that?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, Mike, I -- he had his chance to go into exile. I gave him a 48-hour ultimatum to leave the country so that we could disarm Iraq peacefully; he chose not to go into exile.

Q Mr. President, how concerned are you about the situation in the north and Turkey's statement that they will send troops in there and that Americans might get caught in some kind of cross-fire up there?

THE PRESIDENT: We have got more troops up north, and we're making it very clear to the Turks that we expect them not to come into Northern Iraq. We're in constant touch with the Turkish military, as well as Turkish politicians. They know our policy, and it's a firm policy. And we've made it very clear to them we expect them not to go into Northern Iraq, as well as -- and they know we're working with the Kurds to make sure there's not an incident that would cause there to be an excuse to go into Northern Iraq.

Q Mr. President, what are you saying to the families of those U.S. soldiers who appear to be killed or captured, and are paraded on television --

THE PRESIDENT: I say to the families, thank -- I thank them for the sacrifice they make, and we pray with them. I pray for God's comfort and God's healing powers, to anybody, coalition force, American, Brit, anybody who loses a life in this -- in our efforts to make the world more peaceful and more free.

Ed.

Q Mr. President, are you surprised the enemy has not used any weapons of mass destruction?

THE PRESIDENT: I am thankful the enemy has not used any weapons of mass destruction. And we will continue employing a strategy to make it difficult for the enemy to use weapons of mass destruction.

A couple more, then I've got to go.

Q Mr. President, what will you be telling the congressional leaders tomorrow about the cost --

THE PRESIDENT: Wait until I talk to them. It's probably best they hear it directly from me.

Q Mr. President, to your knowledge, is there any hope of getting these soldiers back?

THE PRESIDENT: What?

Q To your knowledge, is there any chance of getting these soldiers back?

THE PRESIDENT: Of course.

Q Mr. President, how swiftly do you expect -- to get humanitarian aid --

THE PRESIDENT: Good question. I appreciate you asking that question. The question is on humanitarian aid. In the south of Iraq, coalition forces have worked hard to make the port area secure, to make the transit of humanitarian aid as safe as possible. As -- I was told this morning in my briefings that humanitarian aid should begin moving -- massive amounts of humanitarian aid should begin moving within the next 36 hours. And that's going to be very positive news for a lot of people who have suffered a long time under Saddam Hussein.

We've got a massive ground assault going on, and right behind it will be a massive movement of humanitarian aid, to help the people of Iraq. We have made that promise to the people of this country that we will do everything we can to protect innocent life. And we're doing that. And we'll do everything we can to help the Iraqi people. First thing, of course, that will help the Iraqi people is to rid them from a brutal dictator, somebody who has stayed in power through mutilation and rape and torture. Somebody who has starved his own people so he could build palaces. When free from that dictatorship, life will be a lot better.

But we also understand we have an obligation -- and this is just not America, it's coalition forces -- have an obligation to put food and medicine in places so the Iraqi people can live a normal life and have hope. And that's exactly what's going to happen shortly when the area is completely -- safe enough to move the equipment forward.

Listen, thank you all.

Q How are you holding up, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: I feel just fine.
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Address to Congress... [31 Mar 2003|05:52pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 21, 2003.

I've asked the members of Congress to come up so that members of my administration can keep the leadership up-to-date as the war to liberate Iraq and to remove weapons of mass destruction out of Iraq proceeds. The military briefings, of course, will continue to be given out of the Pentagon. Secretary Rumsfeld will be briefing this afternoon.

I also really want to thank members of Congress, both House members, Senate members, members of both political parties, for the strong resolutions that came off the floor of their respective bodies, resolutions which said loud and clear, our country supports the men and women in uniform. Not only do we support those brave souls who are sacrificing on our behalf, but we want to thank their parents and their families for their dedication, as well.

As Secretary Rumsfeld said, we're making progress. We will stay on task until we've achieved our objective, which is to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, and free the Iraqi people so they can live in a society that is hopeful and democratic and at peace in its neighborhood.

All of us involved here in Washington are extremely proud of the skill and bravery of our young Americans who are willing to sacrifice for something greater than themselves.

So it's my honor to welcome the members here. We will continue to keep them briefed as this war progresses. And I want to thank them for the unity, the message of unity. Thank you all for coming.


Q: Is Saddam dead or alive, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Rumsfeld will be briefing today.

Q: Do you want to give us any details, as the Commander-in-Chief, of how things are going?

THE PRESIDENT: Secretary Rumsfeld will be briefing today.

END 10:20 A.M. EST
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President Meets With Cabinet [31 Mar 2003|05:47pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 20, 2003.

I called my Cabinet together to review our strategies to make the world more peaceful, to make our country more secure, to make the lives of our citizens as healthy and as prosperous as possible.

We heard from Secretary Rumsfeld, who briefed us on the early stages of the war. There's no question we've sent the finest of our citizens into harm's way. They perform with great skill and great bravery. We thank them, we thank their loved ones, we appreciate their sacrifice.

We heard from Secretary Powell, who briefed us on the ever-growing coalition of the willing, nations who support our deep desire for peace and freedom. Over 40 nations now support our efforts. We are grateful for their determination, we appreciate their vision, and we welcome their support.

As well, we discussed the need to make sure we have plans in place to encourage economic vitality and growth. We will continue to push for a Medicare system that is compassionate for our seniors. We care deeply about the fact that some children in our society can't read. We want the best of education for every citizen in America.

This Cabinet is confident about the future of our country. We're confident we can achieve our objectives. I'm grateful for their service to their country.

Thank you, all.
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President Bush Addresses the Nation... [31 Mar 2003|05:45pm]

flirtykatiegurl
March 19, 2003.

My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support -- from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.

To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.

The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military -- a final atrocity against his people.

I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.

We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.

I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.

Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.

Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.

My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.

May God bless our country and all who defend her.
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President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours... [31 Mar 2003|05:44pm]

flirtykatiegurl
My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.

The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, U.N. weapon inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.

The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that Council's long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.

In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals -- including journalists and inspectors -- should leave Iraq immediately.

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it. Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.

Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end. In desperation, he and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.

Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland. In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services. Among other measures, I have directed additional security of our airports, and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.

Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people -- yet we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.

We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.

Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations -- and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.

As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.

That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.

Good night, and may God continue to bless America.
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October 7, 2002 [31 Mar 2003|05:34pm]

flirtykatiegurl
President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat
Remarks by the President on Iraq
Cincinnati Museum Center - Cincinnati Union Terminal
Cincinnati, Ohio

8:02 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Thank you for that very gracious and warm Cincinnati welcome. I'm honored to be here tonight; I appreciate you all coming.

Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace, and America's determination to lead the world in confronting that threat.

A Vision for Iraq
Why We Know Iraq is Lying
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell Addresses the U.N. Security Council

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime's own actions -- its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. Eleven years ago, as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War, the Iraqi regime was required to destroy its weapons of mass destruction, to cease all development of such weapons, and to stop all support for terrorist groups. The Iraqi regime has violated all of those obligations. It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism, and practices terror against its own people. The entire world has witnessed Iraq's eleven-year history of defiance, deception and bad faith.

We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability -- even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source, that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America.

Members of the Congress of both political parties, and members of the United Nations Security Council, agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace and must disarm. We agree that the Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons. Since we all agree on this goal, the issues is : how can we best achieve it?

Many Americans have raised legitimate questions: about the nature of the threat; about the urgency of action -- why be concerned now; about the link between Iraq developing weapons of terror, and the wider war on terror. These are all issues we've discussed broadly and fully within my administration. And tonight, I want to share those discussions with you.

First, some ask why Iraq is different from other countries or regimes that also have terrible weapons. While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone -- because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq's weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. This same tyrant has tried to dominate the Middle East, has invaded and brutally occupied a small neighbor, has struck other nations without warning, and holds an unrelenting hostility toward the United States.

By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector of the U.N. has said, "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime, itself. Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction."

Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons?

In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount. This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.

We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th.

And surveillance photos reveal that the regime is rebuilding facilities that it had used to produce chemical and biological weapons. Every chemical and biological weapon that Iraq has or makes is a direct violation of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Yet, Saddam Hussein has chosen to build and keep these weapons despite international sanctions, U.N. demands, and isolation from the civilized world.

Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles -- far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, and other nations -- in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work. We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States. And, of course, sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack; all that might be required are a small container and one terrorist or Iraqi intelligence operative to deliver it.

And that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups. Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than 90 terrorist attacks in 20 countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans. Iraq has also provided safe haven to Abu Abbas, who was responsible for seizing the Achille Lauro and killing an American passenger. And we know that Iraq is continuing to finance terror and gives assistance to groups that use terrorism to undermine Middle East peace.

We know that Iraq and the al Qaeda terrorist network share a common enemy -- the United States of America. We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases. And we know that after September the 11th, Saddam Hussein's regime gleefully celebrated the terrorist attacks on America.

Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists. Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary; confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror. When I spoke to Congress more than a year ago, I said that those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves. Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, the instruments of mass death and destruction. And he cannot be trusted. The risk is simply too great that he will use them, or provide them to a terror network.

Terror cells and outlaw regimes building weapons of mass destruction are different faces of the same evil. Our security requires that we confront both. And the United States military is capable of confronting both.

Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we don't know exactly, and that's the problem. Before the Gulf War, the best intelligence indicated that Iraq was eight to ten years away from developing a nuclear weapon. After the war, international inspectors learned that the regime has been much closer -- the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. The inspectors discovered that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a workable nuclear weapon, and was pursuing several different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb.

Before being barred from Iraq in 1998, the International Atomic Energy Agency dismantled extensive nuclear weapons-related facilities, including three uranium enrichment sites. That same year, information from a high-ranking Iraqi nuclear engineer who had defected revealed that despite his public promises, Saddam Hussein had ordered his nuclear program to continue.

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year. And if we allow that to happen, a terrible line would be crossed. Saddam Hussein would be in a position to blackmail anyone who opposes his aggression. He would be in a position to dominate the Middle East. He would be in a position to threaten America. And Saddam Hussein would be in a position to pass nuclear technology to terrorists.

Some citizens wonder, after 11 years of living with this problem, why do we need to confront it now? And there's a reason. We've experienced the horror of September the 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing, in fact, they would be eager, to use biological or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. As President Kennedy said in October of 1962, "Neither the United States of America, nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world," he said, "where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nations security to constitute maximum peril."

Understanding the threats of our time, knowing the designs and deceptions of the Iraqi regime, we have every reason to assume the worst, and we have an urgent duty to prevent the worst from occurring.

Some believe we can address this danger by simply resuming the old approach to inspections, and applying diplomatic and economic pressure. Yet this is precisely what the world has tried to do since 1991. The U.N. inspections program was met with systematic deception. The Iraqi regime bugged hotel rooms and offices of inspectors to find where they were going next; they forged documents, destroyed evidence, and developed mobile weapons facilities to keep a step ahead of inspectors. Eight so-called presidential palaces were declared off-limits to unfettered inspections. These sites actually encompass twelve square miles, with hundreds of structures, both above and below the ground, where sensitive materials could be hidden.

The world has also tried economic sanctions -- and watched Iraq use billions of dollars in illegal oil revenues to fund more weapons purchases, rather than providing for the needs of the Iraqi people.

The world has tried limited military strikes to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities -- only to see them openly rebuilt, while the regime again denies they even exist.

The world has tried no-fly zones to keep Saddam from terrorizing his own people -- and in the last year alone, the Iraqi military has fired upon American and British pilots more than 750 times.

After eleven years during which we have tried containment, sanctions, inspections, even selected military action, the end result is that Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon.

Clearly, to actually work, any new inspections, sanctions or enforcement mechanisms will have to be very different. America wants the U.N. to be an effective organization that helps keep the peace. And that is why we are urging the Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough, immediate requirements. Among those requirements: the Iraqi regime must reveal and destroy, under U.N. supervision, all existing weapons of mass destruction. To ensure that we learn the truth, the regime must allow witnesses to its illegal activities to be interviewed outside the country -- and these witnesses must be free to bring their families with them so they all beyond the reach of Saddam Hussein's terror and murder. And inspectors must have access to any site, at any time, without pre-clearance, without delay, without exceptions.

The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself -- or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.

Many nations are joining us in insisting that Saddam Hussein's regime be held accountable. They are committed to defending the international security that protects the lives of both our citizens and theirs. And that's why America is challenging all nations to take the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council seriously.

And these resolutions are clear. In addition to declaring and destroying all of its weapons of mass destruction, Iraq must end its support for terrorism. It must cease the persecution of its civilian population. It must stop all illicit trade outside the Oil For Food program. It must release or account for all Gulf War personnel, including an American pilot, whose fate is still unknown.

By taking these steps, and by only taking these steps, the Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. Taking these steps would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes the regime will make that choice. Unfortunately, at least so far, we have little reason to expect it. And that's why two administrations -- mine and President Clinton's -- have stated that regime change in Iraq is the only certain means of removing a great danger to our nation.

I hope this will not require military action, but it may. And military conflict could be difficult. An Iraqi regime faced with its own demise may attempt cruel and desperate measures. If Saddam Hussein orders such measures, his generals would be well advised to refuse those orders. If they do not refuse, they must understand that all war criminals will be pursued and punished. If we have to act, we will take every precaution that is possible. We will plan carefully; we will act with the full power of the United States military; we will act with allies at our side, and we will prevail. (Applause.)

There is no easy or risk-free course of action. Some have argued we should wait -- and that's an option. In my view, it's the riskiest of all options, because the longer we wait, the stronger and bolder Saddam Hussein will become. We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world. But I'm convinced that is a hope against all evidence. As Americans, we want peace -- we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I'm not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.

Failure to act would embolden other tyrants, allow terrorists access to new weapons and new resources, and make blackmail a permanent feature of world events. The United Nations would betray the purpose of its founding, and prove irrelevant to the problems of our time. And through its inaction, the United States would resign itself to a future of fear.

That is not the America I know. That is not the America I serve. We refuse to live in fear. (Applause.) This nation, in world war and in Cold War, has never permitted the brutal and lawless to set history's course. Now, as before, we will secure our nation, protect our freedom, and help others to find freedom of their own.

Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse, for world security and for the people of Iraq. The lives of Iraqi citizens would improve dramatically if Saddam Hussein were no longer in power, just as the lives of Afghanistan's citizens improved after the Taliban. The dictator of Iraq is a student of Stalin, using murder as a tool of terror and control, within his own cabinet, within his own army, and even within his own family.

On Saddam Hussein's orders, opponents have been decapitated, wives and mothers of political opponents have been systematically raped as a method of intimidation, and political prisoners have been forced to watch their own children being tortured.

America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture. America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. The oppression of Kurds, Assyrians, Turkomans, Shi'a, Sunnis and others will be lifted. The long captivity of Iraq will end, and an era of new hope will begin.

Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.

Later this week, the United States Congress will vote on this matter. I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary, to enforce U.N. Security Council demands. Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable. The resolution will tell the United Nations, and all nations, that America speaks with one voice and is determined to make the demands of the civilized world mean something. Congress will also be sending a message to the dictator in Iraq: that his only chance -- his only choice is full compliance, and the time remaining for that choice is limited.

Members of Congress are nearing an historic vote. I'm confident they will fully consider the facts, and their duties.

The attacks of September the 11th showed our country that vast oceans no longer protect us from danger. Before that tragic date, we had only hints of al Qaeda's plans and designs. Today in Iraq, we see a threat whose outlines are far more clearly defined, and whose consequences could be far more deadly. Saddam Hussein's actions have put us on notice, and there is no refuge from our responsibilities.

We did not ask for this present challenge, but we accept it. Like other generations of Americans, we will meet the responsibility of defending human liberty against violence and aggression. By our resolve, we will give strength to others. By our courage, we will give hope to others. And by our actions, we will secure the peace, and lead the world to a better day.

May God bless America.
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UN Address [31 Mar 2003|05:26pm]

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Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, distinguished delegates, and ladies and gentlemen: We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought grief to my country, and brought grief to many citizens of our world. Yesterday, we remembered the innocent lives taken that terrible morning. Today, we turn to the urgent duty of protecting other lives, without illusion and without fear.

We've accomplished much in the last year -- in Afghanistan and beyond. We have much yet to do -- in Afghanistan and beyond. Many nations represented here have joined in the fight against global terror, and the people of the United States are grateful.

The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world war -- the hope of a world moving toward justice, escaping old patterns of conflict and fear. The founding members resolved that the peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the will and wickedness of any man. We created the United Nations Security Council, so that, unlike the League of Nations, our deliberations would be more than talk, our resolutions would be more than wishes. After generations of deceitful dictators and broken treaties and squandered lives, we dedicated ourselves to standards of human dignity shared by all, and to a system of security defended by all.

Today, these standards, and this security, are challenged. Our commitment to human dignity is challenged by persistent poverty and raging disease. The suffering is great, and our responsibilities are clear. The United States is joining with the world to supply aid where it reaches people and lifts up lives, to extend trade and the prosperity it brings, and to bring medical care where it is desperately needed.

As a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the United States will return to UNESCO. (Applause.) This organization has been reformed and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning.

Our common security is challenged by regional conflicts -- ethnic and religious strife that is ancient, but not inevitable. In the Middle East, there can be no peace for either side without freedom for both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic Palestine, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices. My nation will continue to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.

Above all, our principles and our security are challenged today by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions. In the attacks on America a year ago, we saw the destructive intentions of our enemies. This threat hides within many nations, including my own. In cells and camps, terrorists are plotting further destruction, and building new bases for their war against civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.

In one place -- in one regime -- we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms, exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront.

Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries and their resources. Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. Yet this aggression was stopped -- by the might of coalition forces and the will of the United Nations.

To suspend hostilities, to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. The terms were clear, to him and to all. And he agreed to prove he is complying with every one of those obligations.

He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations, and for all his pledges. By breaking every pledge -- by his deceptions, and by his cruelties -- Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself.

In 1991, Security Council Resolution 688 demanded that the Iraqi regime cease at once the repression of its own people, including the systematic repression of minorities -- which the Council said, threatened international peace and security in the region. This demand goes ignored.

Last year, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights found that Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights, and that the regime's repression is all pervasive. Tens of thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, summary execution, and torture by beating and burning, electric shock, starvation, mutilation, and rape. Wives are tortured in front of their husbands, children in the presence of their parents -- and all of these horrors concealed from the world by the apparatus of a totalitarian state.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolutions 686 and 687, demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. Last year the Secretary General's high-level coordinator for this issue reported that Kuwait, Saudi, Indian, Syrian, Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Omani nationals remain unaccounted for -- more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.

In 1991, the U.N. Security Council, through Resolution 687, demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism, and permit no terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke this promise. In violation of Security Council Resolution 1373, Iraq continues to shelter and support terrorist organizations that direct violence against Iran, Israel, and Western governments. Iraqi dissidents abroad are targeted for murder. In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American President. Iraq's government openly praised the attacks of September the 11th. And al Qaeda terrorists escaped from Afghanistan and are known to be in Iraq.

In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and to prove to the world it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.

From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. U.N. inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared, and has failed to account for more than three metric tons of material that could be used to produce biological weapons. Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.

United Nations' inspections also revealed that Iraq likely maintains stockpiles of VX, mustard and other chemical agents, and that the regime is rebuilding and expanding facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.

And in 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. We know now, were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993.

Today, Iraq continues to withhold important information about its nuclear program -- weapons design, procurement logs, experiment data, an accounting of nuclear materials and documentation of foreign assistance. Iraq employs capable nuclear scientists and technicians. It retains physical infrastructure needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iraq has made several attempts to buy high-strength aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon. Should Iraq acquire fissile material, it would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. And Iraq's state-controlled media has reported numerous meetings between Saddam Hussein and his nuclear scientists, leaving little doubt about his continued appetite for these weapons.

Iraq also possesses a force of Scud-type missiles with ranges beyond the 150 kilometers permitted by the U.N. Work at testing and production facilities shows that Iraq is building more long-range missiles that it can inflict mass death throughout the region.

In 1990, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the world imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. Those sanctions were maintained after the war to compel the regime's compliance with Security Council resolutions. In time, Iraq was allowed to use oil revenues to buy food. Saddam Hussein has subverted this program, working around the sanctions to buy missile technology and military materials. He blames the suffering of Iraq's people on the United Nations, even as he uses his oil wealth to build lavish palaces for himself, and to buy arms for his country. By refusing to comply with his own agreements, he bears full guilt for the hunger and misery of innocent Iraqi citizens.

In 1991, Iraq promised U.N. inspectors immediate and unrestricted access to verify Iraq's commitment to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles. Iraq broke this promise, spending seven years deceiving, evading, and harassing U.N. inspectors before ceasing cooperation entirely. Just months after the 1991 cease-fire, the Security Council twice renewed its demand that the Iraqi regime cooperate fully with inspectors, condemning Iraq's serious violations of its obligations. The Security Council again renewed that demand in 1994, and twice more in 1996, deploring Iraq's clear violations of its obligations. The Security Council renewed its demand three more times in 1997, citing flagrant violations; and three more times in 1998, calling Iraq's behavior totally unacceptable. And in 1999, the demand was renewed yet again.

As we meet today, it's been almost four years since the last U.N. inspectors set foot in Iraq, four years for the Iraqi regime to plan, and to build, and to test behind the cloak of secrecy.

We know that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass murder even when inspectors were in his country. Are we to assume that he stopped when they left? The history, the logic, and the facts lead to one conclusion: Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take.

Delegates to the General Assembly, we have been more than patient. We've tried sanctions. We've tried the carrot of oil for food, and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop weapons of mass destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has a -- nuclear weapons is when, God forbids, he uses one. We owe it to all our citizens to do everything in our power to prevent that day from coming.

The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations, and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of U.N. demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test, and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?

The United States helped found the United Nations. We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world's most important multilateral body to be enforced. And right now those resolutions are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime. Our partnership of nations can meet the test before us, by making clear what we now expect of the Iraqi regime.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown. It will return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait, and fully cooperate with international efforts to resolve these issues, as required by Security Council resolutions.

If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It will accept U.N. administration of funds from that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the Iraqi people.

If all these steps are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. And it could open the prospect of the United Nations helping to build a government that represents all Iraqis -- a government based on respect for human rights, economic liberty, and internationally supervised elections.

The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.

We can harbor no illusions -- and that's important today to remember. Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. He's fired ballistic missiles at Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians, and 40 Iraqi villages.

My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable -- the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

Neither of these outcomes is certain. Both have been set before us. We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and the hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. And, delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand, as well.

Thank you very much.

Source: The White House
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Brink Of War [31 Mar 2003|05:24pm]

flirtykatiegurl
Text of President Bush's Iraq Speech

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

WASHINGTON -- My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision. For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq. Our good faith has not been returned.

The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament. Over the years, Iraqi officials, electronically bugged, and systematically deceived, have threatened U.N. weapon inspectors. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again -- because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaida.

The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as commander in chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq. America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations. One reason the U.N. was founded after the second world war was to confront aggressive dictators, actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act, in the early 1990s. Under resolutions 678 and 687 -- both still in effect -- the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. This is not a question of authority; it is a question of will.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On Nov. 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations, and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power. For the last four-and-a-half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that council's long-standing demands. Yet, some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it. Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world. The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.

In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq, so that disarmament can proceed peacefully. He has thus far refused. All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing. For their own safety, all foreign nationals -- including journalists and inspectors -- should leave Iraq immediately.

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraqi military to act with honor and protect your country by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it. Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty, except the certainty of sacrifice.

Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end. In desperation, he and terrorists groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible. And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.

Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland. In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services. Among other measures, I have directed additional security of our airports, and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.

Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail. No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people -- yet we're not a fragile people, and thugs and killers will not intimidate us. If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences.

We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over. With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now, where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.

The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators, whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war. In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth.

Terrorists and terror states do not reveal these threats with fair notice, in formal declarations -- and responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense, it is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.

As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country. Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty. And when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

The United States, with other countries, will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land. And the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace.

That is the future we choose. Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent. And tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.

Good night, and may God continue to bless America.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.
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Clinton Addressing Iraq in 1998.w [31 Mar 2003|05:21pm]

flirtykatiegurl
Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike
CLINTON: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.

The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors. On occasion, we've had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.

Faced with Saddam's latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam's actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.

Eight Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman -- warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.

When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.

I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.

I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq's own commitments. And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.

Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq's cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM's chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.

The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.

In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors. Here are some of the particulars.

Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party's other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.

Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM's ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM's effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.

It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions.

Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.

Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.

So Iraq has abused its final chance.

As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, "Iraq's conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament.

"In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq's prohibited weapons program."

In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.

Saddam's deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.

This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Saddam has failed to seize the chance.

And so we had to act and act now.

Let me explain why.

First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.

Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community -- led by the United States -- has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday -- make no mistake -- he will use it again as he has in the past.

Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.

That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team -- including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser -- I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.

They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.

At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.

If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler's report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.

Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.

That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq's a month's head start to prepare for potential action against it.

Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike. I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.

So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.

First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.

The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.

Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion -- resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.

We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq's neighbors and less food for its people.

The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.

The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.

Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.

We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.

But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.

In the century we're leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.

Wednesday, December 16, 1998

Source: CNN
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67 Confirmed Dead...These are the ones that have had their families notified... [31 Mar 2003|01:11am]

flirtykatiegurl
[ mood | sad ]

Requiescat In Pace
1. Lt. Thomas Mullin Adams--27--Exchange officer with the Royal Navy's 849 Squadron--La Mesa, California--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003

2. Spc. Jamaal R. Addison--22--507th Maintenance Company--Roswell, Georgia--Killed in an Iraqi ambush at Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

3. Cpl. Stephen John Allbutt--35--Queen's Royal Lancers--Stoke-on-Trent, England--Killed when his tank was struck by a shell from another British tank on March 25, 2003

4. Sapper Luke Allsopp--24--33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)--North London, England--Killed in attack on British vehicles in southern Iraq on March 23, 2003

5. Maj. Jay Aubin--36--3rd Marine Aircraft Wing--Waterville, Maine--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash on March 21, 2003

6. Capt. Ryan Beaupre--30--3rd Marine Aircraft Wing--Bloomington, Illinois--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash on March 21, 2003

7. Sgt. Michael E. Bitz--31--2nd Marine Division--Ventura, California--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

8. Lance Cpl. Thomas A. Blair--24--2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group-28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing--Oklahoma--Went missing engaged in operations on the outskirts of Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

8. Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing--20--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Cedar Key, Florida--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

9. Colour Sgt. John Cecil--N/A--Royal Marines--Plymouth, England--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

10. 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers--30--1st Battalion, 5th Marines--Harrison, Mississippi--Killed in combat in southern Iraq on March 21, 2003

11. Trooper David Jeffrey Clarke--19--Queen's Royal Lancers--Littleworth, England--Killed when his tank was struck by a shell from another British tank on March 25, 2003

12. Pfc. Michael Russell Creighton Weldon--20--2-7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army--Conyers, Georgia--Killed in car bomb attack in Iraq on March 29, 2003

13. Staff Sgt. Simon Cullingworth--36--33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)--Essex, England--Killed in attack on British vehicles in southern Iraq on March 23, 2003

14. Spc. Michael Edward Curtin--23--2-7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army--South Plains, New Jersey--Killed in car bomb attack in Iraq on March 29, 2003

15. Lance Bombadier Llywelyn Karl Evans--24--29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery--Llandudno, Wales--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

16. Lance Cpl. David K. Fribley--26--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Lee, Florida--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

17. Cpl. Jose A. Garibay--21--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Orange, California--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

18. Cpl. Jorge A. Gonzalez--20--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Los Angeles, California--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

19. Lt. Philip D Green RN--N/A--849 Squadron--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003

20. Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez--22--2nd Battalion, 1st Marines--Los Angeles, California--Killed in combat in southern Iraq on March 21, 2003

21. Cpt. Philip Stuart Guy--N/A--Royal Marines--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

22. Marine Sholto Hedenskog--N/A--Royal Marines--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

23. Sgt. Les Hehir--34--29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

24. Sgt. Nicholas M. Hodson--22--3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Smithville, Missouri--Killed in a vehicle accident on March 23, 2003

25. Cpl. Evan T. James--21--Engineering Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group--Hancock, Illinois--Drowned while crossing the Saddam Canal on March 24, 2003

26. Pfc. Howard Johnson II--21--507th Maintenance Company--Mobile, Alabama--Killed in an Iraqi ambush at Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

27. Hospital Corpsman Third Class (Fleet Marine Force) Michael Vann Johnson Jr.--25--Naval Medical Center San Diego, Third Marine Division Detachment--Little Rock, Arkansas--Killed in action in Iraq on March 25, 2003

28. Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Jordan--42--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Enfield, Connecticut--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

29. Cpl. Brian Kennedy--25--3rd Marine Aircraft Wing--Houston, Texas--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash on March 21, 2003

30. Lt. Antony King--N/A--849 Squadron A Flight, Royal Navy--Helston, England--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003

31. Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus--28--Engineering Company C, 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group--Scott, Iowa--Drowned while crossing the Saddam Canal on March 24, 2003

32. Lt. Marc A. Lawrence RN--N/A--849 Squadron--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003

33. Flight Lt. Kevin Barry Main--N/A--9 Squadron, Royal Air Force--N/A--Killed when his aircraft was downed by a U.S. Patriot missile near the Kuwaiti border on March 23, 2003.

34. Marine Maj. Kevin G. Nave--36--3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division--Union Lake, Michigan--Killed in a non-hostile vehicle accident in Iraq on March 26, 2003.

35. Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski--26--2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division--Buffalo, New York--Killed by an accidential discharge of a machine gun on March 23, 2003.

36. 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr. 31 Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment Nye, Nevada Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

37. Pfc. Diego Fernando Rincon--19--2-7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army--Conyers, Georgia--Killed in car bomb attack in Iraq on March 29, 2003

38. Sgt. Steven Mark Roberts--33--2nd Royal Tank Regiment, British Army--Bradford, West Yorkshire--Killed in action near Al Zubayr southwest of Basra on March 24, 2003

39. Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker--21--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--San Diego, California--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

40. Spc. Gregory P. Sanders--19--3rd Battalion, 69th Armor, U.S. Army--Indiana--Killed in action in Iraq on March 24, 2003

41. Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert--27--101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed by a grenade thrown by a fellow U.S. soldier in Kuwait on March 23, 2003

42. Mechanic (Comm.) Second Class Ian Seymour--N/A--148 Commando Battery Royal Artillery, RN--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

43. Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum--N/A--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Adams, Colorado--Killed in action near Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

44. Lance Cpl. Barry 'Baz' Stephen--31--1st Battalion, Black Watch Regiment--Perth, Scotland--Killed in action near Al Zubayr, Iraq, on March 24, 2003

45. Maj. Gregory Stone--40--Idaho Air National Guard--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed by a grenade thrown by a fellow U.S. soldier in Kuwait on March 23, 2003

46. Warrant Officer Second Class Mark Stratford--N/A--Royal Marines--Not available--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

47. Reserve Spc. Brandon S. Tobler--19 671st Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army--Not available--Died in a vehicle accident in Iraq on March 22, 2003

48. Maj. Jason Ward--34--Royal Marines--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash south of the Kuwait border on March 21, 2003

49. Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey--29--3d Marine Aircraft Wing--Baltimore, Maryland--Killed in a U.S. CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash on March 21, 2003

50. Lt. Philip West--32--849 Squadron A Flight, Royal Navy--Budock Water, England--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003

51. Flight Lt. David Rhys Williams--N/A--9 Squadron, Royal Air Force--N/A--Killed when his aircraft was downed by a U.S. Patriot missile near the Kuwaiti border on March 23, 2003.

52. Sgt. Eugene Williams--24--2-7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, U.S. Army--Highland, New York--Killed in car bomb attack in Iraq on March 29, 2003

53. Lt. James Williams--28--849 Squadron A Flight, Royal Navy--Falmouth, England--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003

54. Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams--31--1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment--Arizona--Went missing engaged in operations on the outskirts of Nasiriya on March 23, 2003

55. Lt. Andrew S. Wilson RN--36--849 Squadron--Home-of-record unavailable--Killed when two British helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf on March 22, 2003


It took me forever to compile the list of these soldiers. God Bless them All...

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So Sad...especially since my brothers are stationed there and I know a bunch of people from there... [31 Mar 2003|12:38am]

flirtykatiegurl
CAMP PENNSYLVANIA, Kuwait (CNN) -- U.S. military investigators are trying to find out what prompted a disgruntled platoon sergeant to turn on his own, allegedly lobbing four grenades at tents of the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade, killing one soldier and wounding 15 others in northern Kuwait, officials said Sunday.

The suspect -- identified as Sgt. Asan Akbar with the 326th Engineer Battalion of the 101st -- remains in custody of the military and could be sent back to the division's base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for military proceedings, officials said.

Akbar -- described as a disgruntled platoon sergeant with an "attitude problem" -- was in an engineering unit guarding grenades just before the incident Sunday at about 1:45 a.m.

Akbar allegedly left his post and first cut off a generator, shutting off power to the Tactical Operations Center, then began lobbing fragmentation grenades into three tents housing staff. Three grenades exploded and one was a dud, according to Wes Allison, a reporter with the St. Petersburg Times, who is embedded with troops at the camp.

Officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Allison, said Akbar apparently shot at those who tried to flee the tents after the initial explosions. Akbar was wounded in the back of a leg by a grenade fragment, Allison reported.

After the attack, officers said Akbar tried to mingle with soldiers running to the tents, but it was quickly determined he had been missing during the explosions. The officers said four grenades were missing from the area he was guarding, which was about 800 yards away from the attack site.

At Fort Campbell, George Heath, a spokesman for the 101st Airborne, said soon after the attack Akbar was "found during a subsequent Scud alert and has been detained."

Akbar was unable to account for four grenades, Heath said.

Attack shocks military
The incident sent shock waves through the military.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the investigation "will run its course" and "find out precisely what took place." He said he had "no idea" what would have prompted the attack, and he had no information to suggest more than one person was involved.

"The investigation will determine that, but I've heard no indication that there was any conspiracy," Rumsfeld said.

At the U.S. Central Command in Qatar, deputy commander Lt. Col. John Abizaid called the incident "very tragic, very unfortunate," and not indicative of a lack of morale among troops.

"I can assure you that morale is about as high as it can be," he said.

Soldier killed identified
The Pentagon identified the soldier killed in the incident as Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, 27. The names of those wounded have not been released.

"The investigation will determine what his (Akbar's) motive may have been," Heath said. "He was having what some people might call, it seems, an attitude problem."

He said if Akbar is "found to be guilty," then he would "be brought back to Fort Campbell for judicial punishment."

Heath said three of the wounded were in serious but stable condition and were to be transferred to Landstuhl Air Base in Germany. They would then be flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, before being brought back to Fort Campbell.

Allison reported that the 101st's operations center is intact and functioning.

Heath said the incident would not affect the mission at hand, "to support America's war on terrorism and to rid Iraq of a terrible dictator."
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[31 Mar 2003|12:26am]

flirtykatiegurl
I'm done posting things I read from burningblue's journal. Thank you buringblue for posting all the stuff you do. It's good to be able to read about the war through your journal as well. You're like my own private newscaster!
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[31 Mar 2003|12:24am]

flirtykatiegurl
CENTRAL IRAQ (AFP) - Iraqi civilians fleeing heavy fighting have stunned and delighted hungry US marines in central Iraq (news - web sites) by giving them food, as guerrilla attacks continue to disrupt coalition supply lines to the rear.

Sergeant Kenneth Wilson said Arabic-speaking US troops made contact with two busloads of Iraqis fleeing south along Route Seven towards Rafit, one of the first friendly meetings with local people for the marines around here.

"They had slaughtered lambs and chickens and boiled eggs and potatoes for their journey out of the frontlines," Wilson said.

At one camp, the buses stopped and women passed out food to the troops, who have had to ration their army-issue packets of ready-to-eat meals due to disruptions to supply lines by fierce fighting further south.

Civilians have remained largely out of sight since the invasion began 10 days ago. Towns and villages are virtually deserted, prompting speculation that most had shifted to safer ground before the fighting began.

Corpsman Tony Garcia said the food donation was an act of appreciation for the American effort to topple the brutal regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein .

"They gave us eggs and potatoes to feed our marines and corpsmen. I feel the local population are grateful and they want to see an end to Saddam Hussein," he said.

"It was a lovely, beautiful gesture."

Khairi Ilrekibi, 35, a passenger on one of the buses, which broke down near the marine position, said he could speak for the 20 others on board.

In broken English he told a correspondent travelling with the marines: "We like Americans," adding that no one liked Saddam Hussein because "he was not kind."

He said Iraqi civilians living near him were opposed to Saddam Hussein and that most were hiding in their homes and were extremely tired.

Lance Corporal David Polikowsky stood guard over 70 POWS near the broken down bus, saying how grateful he was for food cooked and donated by locals, which included oranges.

Looking on warily at the POWS he was guarding, who included two Jordanians, as well as an Iraqi colonel, captain, major and second lieutenant from special forces and the regular army, he said he had been moved by comments from local civilians.

He said they told him: "We welcome you. What is your name? We will pray for you."

He said another group of POWS, largely conscripts, had been moved south.

"They told me they wanted to go to America after the war. I said where. They said California. I said why? They said the song Hotel California and they left singing Hotel California."

Soldiers with this marine division -- on the east of a two-pronged thrust toward Baghdad -- have seen some of the fiercest fighting of the war so far.

They battled their way through heavy fire at Nasiriyah, Sharat and Rafit before pausing to resupply within 250 kilometres (180 miles) of Baghdad on Thursday.

Prisoners have been taken and pockets of displaced people carrying white flags have been seen along the way. Some have waved, others have asked the marines for cigarettes and water.

But US troops have been keeping a wary distance from civilians, mindful of reports that some Iraqi forces were mingling with civilians in order to drift through American lines and launch surprise attacks.

Ambushes and harassing fire along the massive communications lines to Kuwait in the south have caused casualties and disrupted supplies of water, food and fuel to the frontline troops.

Garcia and Wilson are attached to a Shock Trauma Platoon with the Marine Expeditionary Force and have treated about 20 civilians for war-related wounds in the past five days.

As troops munched on their feast, one medic warned the food could have been deliberately contaminated.

He was quickly disregarded as the hungry marines forged ahead to make a fondue out of a donated tin of Australian processed cheese, but the potatoes were eaten before the cheese could melt.

"Man I never thought a boiled egg could taste so damn good," one burly marine observed.

Source: Yahoo News!
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