Begins; Coalition Aircraft Attack Iraqi Targets
by Jim Garamone,
AFPS (Updated March 20, 6:30a.m. EST)
Tomahawk Land Attack Missile is launched from the USS Milius
and heads toward its target in Iraq early March 20, 2003,
at the beginning of a U.S. offensive against Saddam Hussein
Four U.S. cruisers and two submarines fired Tomahawk missiles
at Iraq early Thursday and operations, a top admiral said.
by Reuters Tv / Reuters
March 19, 2003 – At 9:33pm Eastern (5:33am in Baghdad),
just about 90 minutes after the 48 hour deadline, stealth fighters
and cruise missiles effected the first strike to disarm Iraq.
At 10:15pm Eastern, the President of the United States addressed
the American people to tell them that the operations to disarm
Iraq have begun in order to free the Iraqi people and to help
defend the world from terror.
warships the USS Bunker Hill, Donald Cook, Cowpens, Milius, and
two U.S. Navy submarines fired at least 40 Tomahawk missiles from
the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf on selected Iraqi targets. F-117
Stealth Fighters joined the strategic first strike from the air.
witnessed streaming lights in the sky, followed by loud explosion
sounds in Baghdad. The strike ended quickly.
In about 30
minutes after the first strike on Iraq had ended, the President
spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, "On my orders,
coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military
importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war."
He said the
coalition – 35 nations contributing in a variety of ways
– is moving to disarm Hussein and to put a stop to his murderous
rule. "Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear
the duty and share the honor of sharing in our common defense,"
Scuds Fired Toward Coalition in Kuwait; Have Been Intercepted
by Patriot Missiles
Not long after
the first Coalition strike on selected Iraq targets had started,
sirens went off in Kuwait and reporters and military quickly put
on their chemical and gas protective suits. It is believed that
at least one scud missile from Iraq was reportedly intercepted
by Patriot missiles.
At Camp Freedom in Kuwait, U.S. Col. Oliver North with FoxNews
donned a gas mask as he said that rockets had been fired into
the area from Iraq and the warning had come to put on protective
gear. Col. Oliver North said that although he’s slower at putting
the equipment on and the situation was definitely dangerous, he
is with the finest and best trained British Royal Marines and
U.S. Marines in the world.
He said they
helped him put on all his protective gear faster, and Col. North–fully
covered in mask and suit–took a moment to reassure families watching
and listening on television that their brave young men and women
are well protected and are all okay.
After Firing Scuds on Troops —
Iraq Denies Having Scuds
Kuwaiti officials are reportedly investigating the war heads
of the scuds fired from Iraq toward Coalition troops.
And at about
2pm in Baghdad, Mohammed Al-Sahaf, saying that he is the Iraqi
Information Minister, told reporters who asked about the scuds
fired on Kuwait, "I heard that a scud missile was hit, but
we don’t have scud missiles, so I have no idea"
are helping the Coalition troops with incoming scud warnings.
The Kuwaitis are hoping that Coalition troops will effect the
rescue of Kuwaiti citizens being held in Iraqi prisons for over
‘We will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime’
Bush had direct words to the more than 250,000
U.S. service members in the area of operations. "The peace
of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend
on you," the president said. "That trust is well-placed.
The enemies you confront will soon know your skill and bravery.
The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent
spirit of the American military."
He said that once again Saddam Hussein has placed
innocent civilians amid military targets. He assured the world
that coalition forces will do all they can to minimize Iraqi casualties.
the conflict will be dangerous, but U.S. commitment will end with
victory. He promised America will help feed the population of
Iraq and rebuild the infrastructure of the oil-rich land.
But even then, the United States will not stay
in the nation one second longer than necessary. "We have
no ambition in Iraq except to remove a threat and restore control
of that country to its own people," Bush said.
The president also spoke of the sacrifice made
by the relatives of American service members. "I know that
the families of our military are now praying that all those who
serve will return safely and soon," he said.
"Millions of Americans are praying with you
for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the
innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect
of the American people. And you can know our forces will be coming
home as soon as their work is done."
Bush pointed out that now is the time to confront
the threat Saddam Hussein has become. Waiting will only make things
worse, he said. "We 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, Coast
Guard and Marines, so we will not have to meet it later with armies
of firefighters, and police and doctors on the streets of our
He stressed the U.S. military will apply decisive
force to ensure a speedy campaign. "I assure you this will
not be a campaign of half-measures and we will accept no outcome
but victory," he said.