March 17, 2003 – President Bush – announcement of deadline to Iraq – NPR News – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
March 17, 2003 – Coming as very little surprise, President Bush announced in a prepared statement that Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to quit his position of leadership in Iraq and to quietly go away or face consequences. Those consequences were an invasion by a force of U.S. and allied troops poised and waiting for the signal to begin. Some thought this was the concluding chapter in a story that began a decade earlier with Desert Storm, and the removal of Iraq from occupying Kuwait. It was felt that the first President Bush stopped short of sending troops to Baghdad and it played a critical role in his failed re-election bid. Still others felt it was a separate issue; that removing Iraq from Kuwait was all that Desert Storm was intended for, and that Arab support for the operation would stop once Allied forces crossed the border and headed for Baghdad.
Still others felt this was an enormous and potentially costly excuse for avenging the World Trade Center attack of September 11, 2001. That all the reports of “weapons of mass destruction” were a ruse and that Iraq had, in fact, nothing to hide and was bluffing the U.S. into thinking they had much more deadly power than they actually had in their possession. That it was a distraction for the fact that the U.S. really didn’t know where Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the attacks was, and that at least some fingers were pointing at Saudi Arabia for possible clues.
Nonetheless, President Bush handed Saddam Hussein an ultimatum but that it seemed like the current situation was at a point of no return.
Evidenced by this statement and the commentary that follows this NPR broadcast, featuring several notable pundits including Daniel Schorr, who offered an opinion on the troop buildup and speculation over the outcome.
Another nail-biting day in American history as provided by National Public Radio on March 17, 2003.