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day in quotes
Thursday March 20, 2003
"The people of the United States, and our friends and allies, will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our army, air force, navy, coastguard and marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities."
US president George Bush
"We are all for Jihad. Take the sword without any fear. Take out
the sword: let them be witness to that. Take out the sword on the enemies
against you. Your enemies will suffer humiliation and defeat."
"At this moment in our nation's history, I would like to express
my pride in you, the British service and civilian personnel deployed in
the Gulf and in the vital supporting roles in this country and further
afield. May your mission be swift and decisive, your courage steady and
true, and your conduct in the highest traditions of your service both in
waging war and bringing peace."
"The purpose of these initial operations was simply to deal with
the leadership and the threat to our safety and security posed by Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an absolutely appalling group
of people. I was involved in discussions about those operations well
before they occurred."
"The prime minister was informed shortly after midnight, London
time, that attacks on a limited number of command and control targets were
being brought forward. As regards the involvement of British forces, he
(Tony Blair) will set out the position in due course."
"France regrets this action, taken without approval of the UN. We
hope these operations will be as rapid and least deadly as possible, and
that they don't lead to a humanitarian catastrophe."
"Russia demands the swiftest end to military action. The military
action against Iraq is a big political mistake. The military action in
Iraq is being conducted in spite of world opinion, in spite of the
principles and norms of international law and the UN Charter. This
military action cannot be justified."
"Soon, the US will have to reap the fruits of what they are doing
now, and the fruits won't be sweet."
"Military action against Iraq is violating the norms of
international behaviour. We express regret and disappointment. The Iraq
question can be solved peacefully. We urge the relevant countries to stop
using force, to stop military action."
"This is a bitter defeat. War is the worst of all solutions. We
hope that the hostilities will end quickly, and that the civilian
population will be protected. Everything must be done to prevent a
"Our forces have started combat and combat support operations,
conducting missions to escort ... coalition tanker and airborne early
warning and control aircraft. Not only will it take dangerous weapons from
that country, but it will send a clear signal to other rogue states and
terrorists groups like al-Qaida, which clearly want such weapons, that the
world is prepared to take a stand."
"Pakistan deplores the initiation of military action against Iraq.
Our position is very clear: we are against war. We have strong relations
with the US, but, despite that, we have a principled stand."
"It is a sombre moment, because this is the start of military
activities and our thoughts and prayers have to be with our armed forces
and their families at this very worrying time. We have got to decide
ourselves that we have started on this course and we have now got to see
it through to a final resolution and we have to pursue this as swiftly and
quickly and effectively as we can.
"Now that the opening stages of military action have begun, we
must all hope and pray that it can be concluded as swiftly as possible,
with minimal casualties for all concerned. My thoughts are particularly
with our British service personnel who are in the Gulf, and their families
here at home."
"Cruise missiles were fired overnight, and stealth bombers took
part in operations. But I am fairly sure that there has been no RAF
involvement as yet."
"This is not the start of the war. These air strikes were taking
advantage of a window of opportunity based on intelligence reports."
"This was not a drill, this was a full-scale alert. Once the
alarms were sounded, every single British soldier in the area would have
reacted as fast as possible, putting on masks and chemical suits. It is a
sign that we recognise the chemical threat and are ready to deal with it.
There may be many more alerts in the hours to come."
" As representatives of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
and the Muslim Council, we stand together in our desire to see military
action ended as quickly as possible. In this time of crisis and deep
disappointment, it is vitally important that, despite the occasional
unhappy use of "crusade" language by some American political
leaders, none should see the conflict as one between faiths."
"It's not the shock and awe the Americans were talking about. The
interesting thing will be the battle damage assessment afterwards to see
what effect it has had. They will be looking at it now, using satellites
and flying U2 spy aircraft over the areas. They want as few threats as
possible for the troops."
"This does not look like the previous campaigns, where we were
looking to grind the enemy into surrendering through air power. If you
break off the communications, then the regime cannot communicate with the
army, then the army will not fight. Before, in previous conflicts, they
have used a large campaign to grind the country down, to make it clear who
is powerful and to psychologically defeat the people. This is radical new
"Even in wars, people have rights that must be protected. The
International Committee of the Red Cross solemnly and strongly appeals to
all concerned to abide by the rules of international humanitarian law
which set limits to violence."