Situation Room III - March 2003 - Going to War
Description of Bush's phone call with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack," page 404.
Bush, after angrily getting off phone, uses his nickname for Putin -- "Pootie-Poot."
"The President then lit into Saddam...'He is playing the international community for a fool. It's like an international mosh pit. Australia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, England -- these countries are all on our side. You don't read about this. You read about Germany and this guy winning an election by making me look like a pinata,' referring to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's anti-Iraq war rhetoric duing his reelection campaign." ("Plan of Attack," Woodward, page 190)
Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "We have a lot of our traditional allies with us," and named Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Spain. Many of the others are small countries, which, admittedly, he said, "can't make a major military contribution. But they made a political contribution of enormous consequences" when they said they would stand with the United States.
Mr. Powell said there is a "willing coalition of 47 nations'' ready to be counted. Others, he said, can't say it out loud yet, but they will when it's safe. It wasn't clear yesterday which country Mr. Bush was including when he said there are 48 nations and which country Mr. Powell was not including.
Many countries on the list do not even have a military, concede White House aides, but they are nonetheless willing supporters. Such countries include Iceland, Micronesia, the Solomon Islands, Costa Rica, and Palau, a tiny, unarmed paradise in the Pacific Ocean north of Australia.
But many countries claim to be doing more. United Press International reported from Morocco that a newspaper there said Morocco offered to send to Iraq 2,000 monkeys said to be trained in detonating land mines."
Bush and Franks talk about troop levels -- "Franks had a total U.S. force level of 208,000 in the region that included a ground force of 137,000...Some 50,000 more troops, almost all ground troops, were slated to come in during the next two weeks, though Franks said he could start the war at any time the president directed. Coalition forces, mostly British, would number about 44,000."
..."Franks said that they now had identified 24 high-collateral-damage targets that could result in the killing of 30 or more civilians if struck."
"I'm not picking targets," Bush said..."I want you to tell us about targets you think you have to hit to secure victory and to protect our troops."
..."Oh, I see there's a school here," the president said of one example. "That's why we're going to hit the target at night," Franks replied. "There won't be any kids in school at night."
..."Franks had told some of his staff that he thought there would be fewer than 1,000 casualties on the U.S. side and probably only several hundred."
("Plan of Attack," pages 327-331)
"I'm not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt." —President George W. Bush, 2001 (http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/weekly/aa122401c.htm)
"Nobody likes to see dead people on their television screens."
President George W. Bush, April 13, 2004 press conference, quoted by Frank Rich in "The Greatest Story Ever Sold," page 122)
"Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war." --Donald Rumsfeld
Blackout on Coverage of Dead American Soldiers
“Since the end of the Vietnam War, presidents have worried that their military actions would lose support once the public glimpsed the remains of US soldiers arriving at air bases in flag-draped coffins,” wrote the Post’s White House reporter Dana Milbank. “To this problem, the Bush administration has found a simple solution: It has ended the public dissemination of such images by banning news coverage and photography of dead soldiers’ homecomings on all military bases.”
(Dana Milbank, Washington Post, October 21, 2003)
Bush gives Saddam and his sons 48 hours to leave Iraq
Tuesday March 18 2003
President George Bush last night gave Saddam Hussein and his sons 48 hours to give up power and go into exile or face invasion by more than a quarter of a million US and British troops massed on Iraq's borders.