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Old 03-19-2003, 03:22 PM   #1
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White House says loss of life likely...?

White House warns Americans

U.S. says loss of life likely as Iraq deadline nears
President Bush attends a meeting with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the Oval Office on Wednesday, only hours away from his deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave office.



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WASHINGTON, March 19 — With time running out for Saddam Hussein, the White House warned Wednesday that Americans must be prepared for troop casualties if the United States launches military action against Iraq. President Bush gave Saddam and his sons until 8 p.m. EST to leave the country — an ultimatum rejected by Iraq.

BUSH MET with his war council Wednesday after the White House sent Congress formal notification of justification for war. The three-paragraph document said diplomacy had failed to protect America’s security, and it linked Saddam’s regime with the al-Qaida network, implicated in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“On the brink of war with Iraq, Americans should be prepared for what we hope will be as precise, short a conflict as possible, but there are many unknowns and it could be a matter of some duration,” White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said. “We do not know.”
“Americans ought to be prepared for loss of life,” he said. “Americans ought to be prepared for the importance of disarming Saddam Hussein to protect the peace.”
Latest on the military moves
The White House had no public plans to mark the ultimatum deadline, 4 a.m. Thursday in Baghdad. Aides said war wouldn’t automatically start the moment the deadline expires but that Bush would rely on the advice of his military commanders.

In the event of war, Bush would address the nation from the Oval Office, Fleischer said. White House speechwriters have been working on the speech for several days, aides said.
And in another sign that war may be imminent, Israel’s Channel Two television reported that the military had advised Israelis to open their gas mask kits, try the masks on and begin carrying the kits with them when they leave home.
This step has been expected for the past few days.
When the order is given, U.S. officials have promised an aerial bombardment of such precision and intensity that it would isolate Saddam and his leadership and stun the Iraqi army into submission.
They have warned that upward of 3,000 satellite-guided bombs and cruise missiles will be unleashed from sea and air on targets vital to Saddam’s government in a “shock and awe” start to the war.

LETTER TO CONGRESS
Bush contends that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction that could get in the hands of terrorists.
The White House released a letter and report Bush sent Congress on Tuesday night that, in compliance with a war resolution approved by lawmakers last year, outlined his rationale for military conflict.
“The president of the United States has the authority — indeed, given the dangers involved, the duty — to use force against Iraq to protect the security of the American people and to compel compliance with United Nations resolutions,” the report said.
The letter said the Constitution gives the president authority to “take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.”
White House spokesman Sean McCormack said the language refers to the administration’s belief that there are links ties between al-Qaida and Iraq, and that Bush was not accusing Iraq of being involved in the attacks.
Bush has said he has no proof that Iraq was linked to the 2001 strikes.
As he has nearly every day since the Sept. 11, 2001, Bush met Wednesday with FBI director Robert Mueller and CIA director George Tenet to start his day. He raised the nation’s terrorism alert status Monday to the second-highest level.

BRACING IN BAGHDAD
In Baghdad, fortified by trenches and sandbags, streets were quieter than usual, with light traffic and some shops shuttered. Saddam ordered residents to stack wood and oil barrels to be set afire in hopes of concealing targets from bombardment.
A day earlier, Baghdad residents mobbed bakeries and gas stations in a desperate rush before the deadline expired.
“Death will come to you no matter where you are,” Lamia’a Kazem Mohammed, a 55-year-old housewife in a black chador, said as she headed home with two small shopping bags in Baghdad’s Al-Saydia area. “I am not going anywhere when the bombs fall. I am staying put at my house.”
However, many residents have already fled the capital, following on the heels of diplomats and the U.N. inspectors.

Many of the hundreds of foreign journalists who had been in Baghdad for weeks or months also left, with only several dozen remaining.
On Wednesday, Jordan’s flag carrier — the only commercial airline with regularly scheduled flights to Baghdad — said it was halting them in anticipation of a U.S.-led war on Iraq.
NBC’s Mike Taibbi, meanwhile, reported that security on the Jordanian border has been tightened to prevent an exodus of Iraqi refugees.
The BBC also reported that Syrian border guards were preventing large groups from crossing the border, forcing many Iraqis to stay in camps near the frontier.

IRAQI THREAT
In the special session of Iraq’s rubber-stamp parliament, lawmakers reaffirmed support for the Iraq leader.
“We’ll sacrifice our blood and souls for Saddam,” several legislators chanted, waving their fists in the air and drawing applause from others in the chamber as the session started.

Iraqi state television reported on Tuesday that Saddam had rejected the deadline for himself and had vowed to fight, while his eldest son Odai also dismissed the ultimatum.
At a news conference, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf accused U.S. officials of lying to their troops about the losses they would suffer. The notion that invading Iraq “will be like a picnic” is “a stupid idea,” he said.
Though U.S. defense officials hope for a quick victory with minimal casualties on both sides, they raised the possibility that Iraq would use chemical weapons. Pentagon officials said intelligence reports suggest Saddam has given field commanders authority to use such weapons.
The top American general in Kuwait, Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, warned against any such tactics. “It would be a hugely bad choice on the part of any Iraqi leader or commander to employ chemical weapons,” he said.
In all, about 300,000 troops were within striking distance of Iraq, backed by more than 1,000 warplanes.

U.N. MEETING
Meanwhile, the world’s staunchest opponents of war told the Security Council on Wednesday that there was no proof Iraq posed a threat.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said there was no proof that Iraq threatened the United States and that the Security Council had been brushed aside.
His remarks were coordinated with the foreign ministers of France and Germany, who also addressed the council.
“Germany emphatically rejects the impending war,” Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said. Iraqi disarmament was slow in coming, “but can they seriously be regarded as grounds for war?” he asked.
But the protests were unlikely to affect Washington’s resolve to topple Saddam Hussein.
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin also denounced war but noted that the Security Council must now look forward and consider humanitarian aid for Iraq. His remarks received applause.
Hans Blix, the U.N.’s chief weapons inspector, spoke before the ministers addressed the packed council chamber, and presented his “work schedule” of disarmament tasks. It was a procedural action that carried no weight.
“I naturally feel sadness that three and half months of work carried out in Iraq have not brought the assurances needed about the absence of weapons of mass destruction,” he said.


OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Warplanes from the USS Abraham Lincoln bombed Iraqi positions on Wednesday after coalition aircraft patrolling a no-fly zone were fired on by Iraqi forces, U.S. officials said. Separately, British and U.S. aircraft dropped nearly 2 million leaflets into Iraq, targeting 29 military and civilian sites in the southeastern part of the country, the U.S. military announced. “Some stressed that coalition forces do not wish to harm innocent Iraqis. One message informed Iraqi citizens they could be the victims if Saddam Hussein uses chemical weapons. Another message encouraged the Iraqi military to refrain from using weapons of mass destruction or burning oil fields,” according to a U.S. military statement.
Bitterly divided European Union leaders meet in the shadow of war on Iraq on Thursday for a summit. The issue has caused the most serious foreign policy split in the EU’s history, diplomats say. “The underlying issue is the relationship with the United States,” a senior British diplomat said. He argued the divide was between “an EU majority who want us to engage in partnership with the United States, including honest discussion when we disagree, and a minority who believe the relationship should be more one in which the EU is a counterweight to American influence in the world.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz appeared at a news conference Wednesday, putting to rest rumors that he had abandoned the regime of Saddam Hussein. “I am carrying my pistol to confirm to you that we are ready to fight the aggressors,” Aziz said. “American soldiers are nothing but mercenaries and they will be defeated.”
Pope John Paul II, who for weeks has been appealing for peace, prayed Wednesday for those “those people threatened in these hours by war.”
Saudi Arabia’s interior minister has said that some Saudis may have traveled to Iraq recently to fight against an imminent U.S.-led invasion, local newspapers reported on Wednesday.
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:52 PM   #2
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Wait. Let me get this straight. It's a war, and people might die. I'm confused.
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:55 PM   #3
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i'm confused too. are we supposed to think that most americans weren't aware of this risk?
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:58 PM   #4
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Brace yourselves. I heard there might be weapons involved in this too.
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:59 PM   #5
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get the hell out!
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:19 PM   #6
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Originally posted by meegannie
Wait. Let me get this straight. It's a war, and people might die. I'm confused.
We live in a video game era. A full generation has been exposed to war simulations were your character doesn't really die - you just start over.

We also live in a country with the most advanced military in the world. This leaves many with the impression that we push our buttons and fly our jets and the enemy either surrenders or is killed. No one likes to think that our own will die in this conflict.

This is also part of the expectation game. During the Gulf War, we saw images of all the body bags ordered by the Pentagon. At the end of the war, relatively few were used. Empty body bags give a sense of "victory".
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:21 PM   #7
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No one likes to think that our own will die in this conflict.
you're right. no one likes to think that. but i have a hard time believing that anyone was unaware of that risk, regardless of what their views are. and i'm thinking that's what meggie was thinking too...
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:24 PM   #8
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not to put words in meggie's mouth...
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:26 PM   #9
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This just in.....the soldiers will be wearing camoflage.
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:26 PM   #10
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Normal

It's not a war, people. It's an 'operation' to 'liberate' Iraq.
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:27 PM   #11
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doh!
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:27 PM   #12
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you're right. no one likes to think that. but i have a hard time believing that anyone was unaware of that risk, regardless of what their views are. and i'm thinking that's what meggie was thinking too...
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:28 PM   #13
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Yes, some of your own might get hurt or even a few might die, but it the end they were military. It´s their job, right? So what would you expect?

What I wonder is...who cares for people like this woman? Who f***** cares?

“Death will come to you no matter where you are,” Lamia’a Kazem Mohammed, a 55-year-old housewife in a black chador, said as she headed home with two small shopping bags in Baghdad’s Al-Saydia area. “I am not going anywhere when the bombs fall. I am staying put at my house.”
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:30 PM   #14
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This just in.....the soldiers will be wearing camoflage.


Do they not realize that camoflage is SO 2001?
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Old 03-19-2003, 04:34 PM   #15
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i don't think anyone should assume that i, nor anyone else here, cares soley for "our own." i see no one here making those comments. in fact, i think most people here have always shown concern for all people who are at risk in this situation. no one,regardless of what their stance is on the war, wants to see innocent people die. to assume otherwise would be wrong.
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