Monday, April 30, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 30th edition

April 30, 2005: U.S. soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, prepare to enter the home of a suspected insurgent during an early-morning raid in Baghdad

April 30, 2002:

Iraq ready to let weapons inspectors back in

Iraq is preparing to back down on its refusal to allow UN weapons inspectors to return to the country in the hope that this will avert a US attack.

The US and Britain have led calls for Iraq to permit the UN weapons inspectors to establish whether Saddam Hussein is hiding biological and chemical weapons and developing a nuclear capability.

Iraqi willingness to cave in, after more than two years blocking the entry of the inspectors, comes amid reports that the US is planning an invasion of Iraq early next year.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 30, 2003:

Blair: Doubters of Iraq WMD Will 'Eat Their Words'

LONDON — Anyone who believes Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons of mass destruction will be left "eating some of their words" when the banned arms are found, Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) predicted Wednesday.

In a feisty performance at the House of Commons (search), Blair shrugged off an opposition lawmaker's question whether he would resign if inspections failed to turn up chemical, biological or nuclear weapons -- the coalition's main argument for invading Iraq.

"Forgive me if I refuse to engage in all sorts of speculations," Blair said in response to the question from Conservative lawmaker Peter Tapsell. "But let me say to him, I am absolutely convinced and confident about the case on weapons of mass destruction (search)...

"We are now in a deliberative way and in a considered way investigating the various sites and we will bring forward the analysis and the results of that investigation in due course," Blair told lawmakers. "And I think when we do so, the honorable gentleman and others will be eating some of their words."

Read the rest at Fox News

April 30, 2004:

One year later, Bush defends Iraq speech

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One year after President Bush declared major combat operations over in Iraq, Democratic critics say the commander in chief spoke too soon, pointing to continuing battles between U.S. forces and insurgents and mounting U.S. causalities.

Bush, however, stood by his speech when asked about it Friday.

"We're making progress, you bet," he told reporters...

But Bush defended the speech as he talked to reporters Friday during a Rose Garden appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we had accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein," Bush said.

"And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail.

Read the rest at CNN

April 30, 2005:

War images released

The military honour guard snaps to attention over the remains of a fallen comrade. Chaplains dignify the scene as coffins are laid out in a transport aircraft, ready to make their last journey home. And troops in camouflage gently tweak the Stars and Stripes draped over the coffin of another lost in battle.

Yesterday, two years after the invasion of Iraq, Americans were confronted with their first view of the human cost of the war to the US, after the Pentagon was pressured by a law suit to release more than 700 images of coffins and funeral ceremonies.

But military censors blacked out the faces of pall bearers, and little information was provided about the context of the photographs, all of which were taken by military photographers...

American presidents have been concerned about the effects on public morale of such images since the Vietnam war. But the Bush administration has been especially vigilant in enforcing regulations on the release of images. On the eve of the war, the Pentagon banned cameras from homecoming ceremonies for returning war dead.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 30, 2006:

Bush Warns of 'More Days of Sacrifice'

WASHINGTON -- President Bush warned in his weekly radio address of tough fighting to come and "more days of sacrifice and struggle" in Iraq as April drew to a close as the deadliest month for American forces this year.

"The enemy is resorting to desperate acts of violence because they know the establishment of democracy in Iraq will be a double defeat for them," Bush said Saturday as he saluted the emergence of a permanent government.

"There will be more tough fighting ahead in Iraq and more days of sacrifice and struggle," he cautioned. "Yet, the enemies of freedom have suffered a real blow in recent days, and we have taken great strides on the march to victory."

With the war in its fourth year, Iraq hovers as a huge problem for Bush, whose approval ratings have fallen to record lows. Republicans are anxious that Iraq -- along with other public concerns like soaring gasoline costs -- will lead to the GOP losing control of one or even both houses of Congress in November.

As of late Thursday, at least 69 Americans had died in Iraq in April.

Read the rest at the Guardian