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Just to let you know...

Bush gives order to attack Iraq
Air raid sirens heard in Baghdad

WASHINGTON (CNN) --President Bush announced Wednesday night he has ordered the coalition attack on Iraq to begin.

"American and coalition forces are in the early stages of miltary operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger," Bush said.

He said the first strikes were against "selected targets of military importance."

The attack in Iraq early Thursday morning, involving F177A Stealth fighters and multiple cruise missiles from U.S. warships, was a "decapitation attack" to take out Iraqi President Saddam Hussein even before the planned start of the war, Pentagon sources told CNN.

Whether the mission succeeded is not known. Administration officials told CNN the strike was ordered for fear the opportunity could be lost.

Air raid sirens were heard in Baghdad at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday (9:30 p.m. Wednesday ET) about 90 minutes after the U.S. deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to step down or face a U.S.-led military attack.

In his four-minute announcement from the Oval Office, Bush said the military campaign, supported by 35 nations, would make efforts to spare Iraqi civilians. But he made it clear the U.S. military planned to use its full might in the war.

"This will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome except victory," he said.

The president's address came at 10:15 p.m., about two hours and 15 minutes after the expiration of a deadline he set for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave the country or face military action.

The United States and Britain have massed nearly 300,000 troops in the Persian Gulf region.

Earlier, Adm. Timothy Keating, commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet, said allied forces were prepared to carry out an "unprecedented" campaign: "If we go, the plans we have are unlike anything anyone has ever seen before."

In the hours leading up to the deadline, about a dozen U.S. and coalition warplanes dropped precision munitions on nearly a dozen Iraqi artillery pieces in the southern no-fly zone that could have been in range of American troops poised to invade southern Iraq, Pentagon officials told CNN.

There was also concern some of the artillery could be capable of using chemical weapons and U.S. planes had been conducting around-the-clock reconnaissance of the sites.

Warplanes also struck Iraqi cable repeater sites and command and control sites. In addition, at least one Al Ababil surface-to-surface missile launcher was struck.

In other developments:

• Seventeen Iraqi soldiers surrendered to U.S. troops Wednesday. They were believed to be the first of their countrymen to give up -- a move the U.S. Air Force has been actively encouraging by showering the Iraqi landscape with more than 2 million leaflets in anticipation of a ground war. (Full story)

• Iraq is unlikely to use chemical or biological weapons to defend itself from a U.S.-led invasion because world opinion would turn against it, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix said Wednesday. "Saddam Hussein has certainly figured himself to be a sort of emperor of Mesopotamia, and the leader of the Arab world," Blix said. "So I think he very likely cares very much about his reputation." (Full story)

• Pentagon officials said sandstorms in the region could be a problem for U.S. helicopters, which are expected to be a key element of an invasion. They said the Bush administration wants to launch the air campaign and ground assault almost simultaneously. (Full story)

• The king of the Persian Gulf country of Bahrain offered "safe exile" to Saddam, saying he hopes the Iraqi leader "would seriously consider this offer before the onset of war," the government-run Bahrain News Agency said Wednesday. (Full story)

• The Iraqi National Assembly met in "extraordinary session"; legislators backed Saddam and warned the United States that Iraqis would defend their leader. The information minister later said U.S. troops were facing "definite death" if they invade. (Full story)

• Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Iraq is fully responsible for the current crisis in the Middle East, the Kuwait News Agency said.

• Chaos at the Kuwait City International Airport early Thursday led officials there to close roads into the airport and allow in only employees and ticket-holders, officials said. They also said they would not let anyone else in until the situation calmed down. Video footage of the airport terminal showed it packed with people, and crowds pushed up against ticket counters.

• Bush notified Congress on Wednesday he has made a determination that diplomacy will not work to disarm Saddam -- a condition required under a resolution approved by lawmakers in October authorizing the use of force against Iraq. (Bush's day, text of Bush letter to Congress)

• Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz stood before reporters in Baghdad Wednesday to quiet rumors he had been shot or had asked for political asylum. Aziz blamed the rumors on the U.S.-led coalition. He said people should expect more of the same in the days and months ahead. "We would like to warn you against cheap psychological rumors," Aziz said. "Don't believe them." (Full story)

• A Kuwaiti patrol boat fired at an Iraqi dhow overnight, killing at least one person aboard, according to the commander of the USS Constellation battle group. (Full story)

• Kurds in northern Iraq were fleeing towns and retreating to mountain areas in anticipation of war, and in the southern region dozens of Iraqi dhows were moving through the Straits of Hormuz and out of the Persian Gulf. Baghdad residents have started fleeing the capital. (Mood in Baghdad)

• Turkey's parliament is expected to vote Thursday on the government's request to allow U.S. warplanes to fly over Turkey. But the government will not seek a vote on a U.S. request to use Turkish bases for about 62,000 troops to move against Iraq from the north.

• Blix met with U.N. Security Council member nations to discuss how remaining unresolved issues in Iraq could be settled peacefully. Absent from the meeting were U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio.

• The United States and Britain pledged millions of dollars in humanitarian aid Wednesday to ease the impact of a looming war with Iraq but faced criticism for abandoning diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan estimated the immediate cost of humanitarian aid in the event of war at $123.5 million.

• Both houses of Italy's parliament Wednesday authorized the government to offer the U.S.-led coalition use of Italian air space and military bases in a conflict with Iraq, but the approval did not include allowing departure points for direct attacks. (Full story)

• Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Cabinet ministers that the "chance Israel will be hit" during an Iraqi war "is very small, but we have taken all necessary precautions as if we were in genuine danger." (Full story)

CNN correspondents Ryan Chilcote, John King and Barbara Starr contributed to this report. For latest developments, see CNN.com's Iraq Tracker.

EDITOR'S NOTE: CNN's policy is to not report information that puts operational security at risk.
 

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"The United States will disarm Iraq, remove Saddam Hussein from power and free the Iraqi people of its tyrant." .. George W. Bush.

Well, it's finally come to light. Getting rid of Saddam was the object all along. Disarmament was just a silly pretext. Read UN resolution 1441 carefully.... The UN and the Security Council (other than Britain) have been consistent in their logic.

So, who's next? If Dubya is to be consistent with his brand of logic, then surely he will do the North Koreans, Cubans, Chinese, Liberians, Ugandans and Zimbaweans the same favor, won't he?

America, where freedom of speech is sacred ... as long as you agree with what it says ("You're either with us or against us"). You need another amendment to your constitution that recognizes your monopoly on righteousness....

Imperialism = the policy of extending the rule of authority of one country over other countries. Ergo, Americans are imperialists. Admit it.

"George W. Bush has no foresight. He is not a thinker". .. Nelson Mandela.

What about post-war Iraq? Where's your plan to repair the harm caused to the inhabitants? You want to go in on your Crusade (sure sounds like it, doesn't it -- "God is on our side" ---), then you better have a restoration plan, or you will have garnered even more ill will and attracted more hatred...

Who's to say that my God isn't on "their" side???
 

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Hi Pierre:

___Ever hear of a Rape Room? Yes, maybe you and yours could be part of that hellish nightmare if you were in Iraq as a guest for Saddam’s little boy. F**k that and F**k them. Maybe this page will help ease you mind somewhat? Do you think the US government has any of these in their arsenal? Not a chance! You bet your @ss Saddam should be exterminated and I am one of those that hope those Cruise Missiles hit their target yesterday. If the US can cure the world of its ills one country at a time, I am all for it. Damn middle east nations can’t or won’t cure their own problems so they leave it up to us all the while screaming we are imperialists. Guess where Kuwait or Saudi would be today if we did not intervene. Do you think the French were willing to go in on their own? How about Iraq’s friends the Russian’s? You remember the guys trying to protect Saddam in the Gulf crisis the first time around … Have you ever seen pictures of Chechnya? The Russians are using the std. Russian military doctrine that served them so well in Afghanistan so many years ago. It’s called scorched earth and its continuing even today. Do you remember the Chinese taking down one of our planes over international waters a year or so ago? Maybe you should look at how many people the Chinese have exterminated in their own country via ill conceived economic policies leading to the starvation deaths of millions. The Chinese could place North Korea’s leadership in a box all by themselves but are they? Why are they continuing to let a nut bag like Kim Jung threaten the US with a nuclear attack? Both of these countries were even worse/are worse yet they are *****ing when we are going in to get rid of a proven world menace. Now give a two bit tyrant like Saddam a nuke and see what happens … Maybe we should wait for his little rape boy to grow up and in 30 years, the US will receive one of those little nuclear presents. Your country is just close enough to be effected just in case you think you’re going to escape the fallout and carnage.

___Imperialist’s? I guess we are controlling Kuwait and Saudi right now? BS is about all I can add to that one. We leave, the place goes to hell and there are hundreds of thousands dead. We build a few military bases and we are imperialists. At least this Imperialist country is saving hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives in the process.

___As for me, I am in support of our troops 110% and as for President Bush, at least he has the cojone’s to rid the world of a monster or two in the short time he has been in office. I don’t like him for any number of reasons but his efforts at getting rid of trash is a welcome relief. At least he is doing quite a bit more than the rest of the UN leadership as the Chinese, Russians, and French are doing …

___Good Luck to us all.

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email protected]
 

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Xcel. . . don't waste your breathe. . . Pierre and his ilke would critisize the United States even if we defeated Hitler, bil Laden and Satan himself. . .
 

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Well put, xcel. I had a feeling you would be responding to Pierre!!:29:
 

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Pierre said:
[BWhere's your plan to repair the harm caused to the inhabitants? [/B]
I'm sure France will be first in line to lead the rebuilding effort. Afterall, that's where the $ is.
 

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My major regret is that this administration had not done more from the beginning to extend relations to foreign governments. I am not convinced that would have averted military action, but would have helped in establishing 'common goals', as well as more empathy from our neighbors, including Mexico and Canada.

Instead, we were forced into 'instant diplomacy' as a result of 9/11. The tragedy of that day could have been shared with a world community dedicated in the pursuit of peace.

I have no doubt we have our own 'agenda', maybe not as obvious as France or Germany. I believe that speaks to why wars are waged by ruling governments, and not by the people. But maybe we will find evidence in Iraq as to why those countries were so adamant about our intervention.

But our major emphasis should be to establish confidence among the Iraqi people, and hopefully our government will put more energy into the post-war process than what we had done in Afghanistan.
 

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DaleB said:
. . . and hopefully our government will put more energy into the post-war process than what we had done in Afghanistan.
Dale, please correct me if I'm wrong. . . but aren't we still in Afghanistan chasing that c-sucker bin Laden. . . shouldn't we catch him first before we rebuild the country?
 

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laborlitigator said:


Dale, please correct me if I'm wrong. . . but aren't we still in Afghanistan chasing that c-sucker bin Laden. . . shouldn't we catch him first before we rebuild the country?
I disagree, they are two different operations. Vigilance for terrorists will have to continue even during a rebuilding process.

Whatever government is in place now will seriously deteriorate if we wait until Bin Laden and his ilk are rounded up.
 

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laborlitigator said:
Xcel. . . don't waste your breathe. . . Pierre and his ilke would critisize the United States even if we defeated Hitler, bil Laden and Satan himself. . .
:lurk:
 

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I'm greedy, what matters to me is that the price of oil is currently under $28.00 a barrel. This is a good thing for SUV drivers.

:2:
 

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Yeah what's up with that? Gas prices have been fluctuating like crazy up here in Toronto.

p.s. black-bling-mdx, check your mail ;)
 

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DaleB said:


I disagree, they are two different operations. Vigilance for terrorists will have to continue even during a rebuilding process.

Whatever government is in place now will seriously deteriorate if we wait until Bin Laden and his ilk are rounded up.
I think you're splitting hairs. . . also, you're jumping the gun in your critisizm. . . my recollection of US military history is that the US genearlly does assist in the rebuiliding.
 

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DaleB said:
My major regret is that this administration had not done more from the beginning to extend relations to foreign governments. I am not convinced that would have averted military action, but would have helped in establishing 'common goals', as well as more empathy from our neighbors, including Mexico and Canada.

Instead, we were forced into 'instant diplomacy' as a result of 9/11. The tragedy of that day could have been shared with a world community dedicated in the pursuit of peace.

I have no doubt we have our own 'agenda', maybe not as obvious as France or Germany. I believe that speaks to why wars are waged by ruling governments, and not by the people. But maybe we will find evidence in Iraq as to why those countries were so adamant about our intervention.

But our major emphasis should be to establish confidence among the Iraqi people, and hopefully our government will put more energy into the post-war process than what we had done in Afghanistan.
Well put, DaleB. Finally, a voice of reason from Clovis, CA!
 

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xcel said:
If the US can cure the world of its ills one country at a time, I am all for it. Damn middle east nations can’t or won’t cure their own problems so they leave it up to us all the while screaming we are imperialists. Guess where Kuwait or Saudi would be today if we did not intervene. Do you think the French were willing to go in on their own? How about Iraq’s friends the Russian’s? You remember the guys trying to protect Saddam in the Gulf crisis the first time around … Have you ever seen pictures of Chechnya? The Russians are using the std. Russian military doctrine that served them so well in Afghanistan so many years ago. It’s called scorched earth and its continuing even today. Do you remember the Chinese taking down one of our planes over international waters a year or so ago? Maybe you should look at how many people the Chinese have exterminated in their own country via ill conceived economic policies leading to the starvation deaths of millions. The Chinese could place North Korea’s leadership in a box all by themselves but are they? Why are they continuing to let a nut bag like Kim Jung threaten the US with a nuclear attack? Both of these countries were even worse/are worse yet they are *****ing when we are going in to get rid of a proven world menace. Now give a two bit tyrant like Saddam a nuke and see what happens … Maybe we should wait for his little rape boy to grow up and in 30 years, the US will receive one of those little nuclear presents. Your country is just close enough to be effected just in case you think you’re going to escape the fallout and carnage.

___Imperialist’s? I guess we are controlling Kuwait and Saudi right now? BS is about all I can add to that one. We leave, the place goes to hell and there are hundreds of thousands dead. We build a few military bases and we are imperialists. At least this Imperialist country is saving hundreds of thousands of Muslim lives in the process.

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email protected]
That's precisely the problem: you keep telling the world that you're the only ones with the right answer, and damn the rest! Guess what: the world is composed of a whole bunch of shades of grey, whether your black-and-white mind wants to admit it or not.

So, to be consequential with your own reply: when do you invade China?
 

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laborlitigator said:


I think you're splitting hairs. . .
How funny is that!! A lawyer accusing someone else of splitting hairs!!!!!!!
 

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laborlitigator said:
Xcel. . . don't waste your breathe. . . Pierre and his ilke would critisize the United States even if we defeated Hitler, bil Laden and Satan himself. . .
Again, you miss the point. I've said in previous posts: get rid of Saddam all you want, but be honest about your intentions!

By the way, Hitler was defeated. It took you guys only 2 1/2 years to join us in that battle. Where was your righteousness then, huh?

As for bil (sic) Laden, you had plenty of opportunities to do him in over the course of several years... what happened?

Satan? He's a pretty good forward with the Sabres. I'd take him on my team any day!
 

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Pierre said:
Satan? He's a pretty good forward with the Sabres. I'd take him on my team any day!

Pierre. . . that one was good!

As for your other points. . .

I've never said Bush's motives are altruistic. . . (look, I voted for the other guy who couldn't even win his home state). . .

My argument is two-fold. . . support the troops and France, get off your high horse.
 

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laborlitigator said:



Pierre. . . that one was good!

As for your other points. . .

I've never said Bush's motives are altruistic. . . (look, I voted for the other guy who couldn't even win his home state). . .

My argument is two-fold. . . support the troops and France, get off your high horse.
I agree. I have the highest regard for your patriotism and the backing you give your military. I wish my own govt. would be half as good on that one. I also believe that once you commit, you go all-out. For that, I give you full marks.

My issue is not with the troops or the military; it's with Dubya and his entourage (that's French -- sometimes, we CAN use some good things from over there). Boy, has he ever dropped the ball on what could have been a great diplomatic effort to rid the world of Saddam.

I'm heartened by one thing the French govt. said today: the minute Iraq uses chemical/biological weapons, all bets are off...

By the way, do you think the French give a flying you-know-what with your Congress's banning of the term "French Fries"? How silly is that?
 

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Pierre said:
By the way, do you think the French give a flying you-know-what with your Congress's banning of the term "French Fries"? How silly is that?
That's pure rhetoric by Congress. . . they should be worried about more important things. . .
 
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