The death of diplomacy: war looms
The United States is officially on the brink of war and the clock is ticking, after President George W. Bush sent Iraq a 48-hour ultimatum in a nationally televised address last night.
"For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honourable efforts to disarm the [Iraqi] regime," Bush said.
"Our good faith has not been returned. The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy," Bush stated. "Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime have failed again and again, because we are not dealing with peaceful [leaders]."
"The United States of America has solemn authority to ensure its safety," Bush said.
"America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat," he said, adding some members of the UN Security Council have announced they will veto any resolution calling for force. "This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.
"Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours," Bush stated.
Addressing Iraqi civilians, Bush said the U.S. intends to free their country from an oppressive dictator. "The tyrant will soon be gone," he said. "The day of your liberation will come.
"Every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it," Bush said. "The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now."
The U.S., Britain and Spain withdrew a proposed resolution from the United Nations Security Council, declaring an end to the diplomatic option of dealing with Iraq.
UN personnel were to be evacuated from Iraq today.
The ultimatum comes not long after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein carved the country into four military zones, putting each under the command of trusted subordinates, including two of his sons.
Early yesterday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri called Bush "a crazy man." Hussein would stand up against any use of force, Sabri said.
Canada will not play an active role in the war, according to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
"If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the security council, Canada will not participate," he said in the House of Commons yesterday to a loud round of applause.
Chrétien noted Canada had tried to breach a compromise between the U.S. allies and France, Russia and China, who oppose action against Iraq, but a deal could not be reached.