President Bush last night vowed to attack Iraq if President Saddam Hussein and his sons do not flee the country within 48 hours.
He said: "All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.For their own safety, all foreign nationals, including journalists and inspectors, should leave Iraq immediately."
The Iraqi government immediately rejected the ultimatum.
Bush also told Iraqi soldiers not to fight for a "dying regime" - and not to destroy Iraq’s oil wells.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan ordered the evacuation of the weapons inspectors and humanitarian staff from the country. The first wave of UN workers has already landed in Cyprus.
Bush’s speech came just hours after the US and Britain admitted they had failed to win United Nations Security Council backing for war. They pulled the second U.N. resolution without taking a vote.
- President Bush, speaking in a televised, primetime address to the nation, March 17, 2003.
- Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent who recently left Baghdad.
- Ralph Nader, former Green Party Presidential Candidate.
- Leslie Cagan, organizer with United for Peace and Justice and chair of the Pacifica Radio Foundation.The leader of the British House of Commons Robin Cook resigned just after the US and Britain pulled the UN resolution. His resignation speech late last night was met with an unprecedented round of applause and a standing ovation by some Members of Parliament.
- Robin Cook, leader of the British House of Commons, delivering his resignation speech to Parliament on March 17, 2003.