Iraq War Drumbeat: US Pressures Allies to Join Coalition of the Willing

GWBFebruary 19, 2003


The United States has intensified its pressure on Turkey following Ankara’s postponement of a decision to allow US troops on Turkish soil for a possible war on Iraq.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Washington had made its final aid offer to Turkey as part of the deal and there was not “a lot of time left”.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has called Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to seek a way out of the impasse.

The US pressure follows Nato’s decision to send defensive equipment to Turkey – the result of a compromise that papered over a damaging split in the military alliance’s Iraq policy.


Turkey put off a decision Tuesday on whether to allow its country to become a staging ground for U.S. troops to attack Iraq in case of war, and U.S. military officials began looking at other staging options.

Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the United States that it will not automatically support a war against Iraq and that it needs more assurance of financial compensation if it were to go to war.

Turkey’s decision to delay a parliamentary vote on allowing tens of thousands of U.S. troops to be based in the country came after a meeting Friday with President Bush about increasing an aid package stalled.

A senior White House official told CNN on Tuesday that Washington was not giving in to any warnings.

February 20, 2003

USA Today:

Sometime in the next month, Saddam Hussein and his most loyal lieutenants are likely to hear the first chilling sounds of war: the distinctive clicks and whooshing noises smart bombs make as their steering fins make last-second adjustments to put them on target.

An unrelenting volley of satellite- and laser-guided bombs, falling in concert with hundreds of cruise missiles launched from U.S. Navy ships, will blast into military headquarters and the barracks of Saddam’s elite troops in and around Baghdad.

At the same time, the lights will go out — literally — for military commanders and Saddam’s security forces, whose radios, telephones and computers will be zapped by powerful new weapons known as “e-bombs.” These bombs use electromagnetic energy to generate crippling power surges.

What follows the barrage of several thousand smart weapons will be the kind of war the United States has never fought on this scale before: a rapid, violent invasion whose main goals aren’t to seize territory or destroy a large army. Instead, if all goes according to plan, U.S. forces will kill or capture Saddam and anyone keeping him in power, while leaving Iraq’s regular military, its civilians and most cities and towns untouched. If it works, it will be the model for U.S. wars to pre-empt terrorist threats for decades to come.

February 22, 2003

Helen Thomas: Democrats Pussyfooting Around the Iraq Question

The Democratic presidential aspirants have been pussyfooting around the Iraq question, wanting to have it both ways on whether to support President Bush’s rush-to-war.

The time has come for them to show some backbone. They should declare their position clearly and point to peaceful options that the president has no time for. Speaking of clarity, I salute Bush for his laser-focused campaign against Saddam Hussein, even if he ignores facts and history. Also getting strong marks for clarity would be Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who is just as hawkish as Bush.

It’s disappointing that the Democrats don’t have a leading candidate to challenge that point of view with the force of moral clarity. Most of the leading candidates are straddling the fence, reluctant to take a firm stand one way or another. These wafflers should get C-minus grades when voters are passing out grades for leadership.

At a time when the Democrats need giants to challenge the incumbent president, they are surrounded by “me too” candidates.


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