March 3, 2003 – Gearing up for another Gulf War, another visit to Iraq – more saber rattling, more bluster, more charges and counter charges, Weapons of Mass Destruction, UN Weapons inspectors – conflicting reports, wavering support – but dammit, we were going to go to war anyway. At least that’s what it was looking like. And judging by the intensified activity over the No-Fly Zone, speculation was rife that maybe this excursion had already been started and that Gulf War Number 2 was well on its way.
There were still holdouts for diplomacy, but those chances of any peace settlement were getting slimmer by the hour. Meanwhile, spokespersons for the White House said the destruction of Iraqi medium-range missiles, under the supervision of UN weapons inspectors only proved the claims by Saddam Hussein were false and that he was lying when he repeatedly said the weapons had already been destroyed. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the Iraqi leader’s position was a “Catch-22” situation – saying he (Saddam Hussein) never had the weapons and then he destroys the weapons he never had, proving he couldn’t be trusted and that Iraq had months to declare and destroy it’s Weapons Of Mass-Destruction under UN Resolution 1441, and was only doing so now under the threat of military action. The Defense Department said it had expanded its number of military targets which could be attacked by British and American planes over the No-Fly Zone in North and South Iraq. The Defense Department acknowledged the new list concentrated on facilities that Iraq might use against ground troops or neighboring countries. However, spokesmen for the Defense Department added that it was only responding to Iraqi provocation.
And while Turkish officials were debating over whether or not to allow the U.S. to use Turkey as a staging area for it’s military forces, senior U.S. officials said they didn’t really need Turkey anyway – adding that the presence of U.S. troops in Northern Iraq would be “nice”, the operation against Baghdad would be a success regardless of any limits placed on the areas where American troops could be deployed.
And that’s only a small slice of news for this March 3, 2003 as presented the BBC World Service Newshour.