I heard Bush's speech last night in the car with Larry and Sarah, on the  way to the emergency animal clinic with their new cat, Bentley (who will be  fine after the antibiotics).  We rode in silence as he spoke:

My fellow citizens, at this hour American and coalition  forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free  its people and to defend the world from grave danger.  On my orders,  coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance  to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war.  These are opening stages  of what will be a broad and concerted campaign.
More than 35 countries are giving crucial support, from the use of naval  and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of  combat units.  Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and  share the honour of serving in our common defence.
George Bush

One of those 35 countries is Britain.  There are  troops and planes out there, probably ships too.  Lieutenant Colonel Tim  Collins spoke to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish last night, just  outside the borders of Iraq:

We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our  flags in their country.  We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only  flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for  them. There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive  shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send.  As  for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is  what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be  magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the  Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there.  You will see  things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to  find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis.  You will be  embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing.  Don't treat  them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be  poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their  lives was brought by you.
If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and  got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day.  Allow them  dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves.
It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done  lightly.   I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I  can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them.  If someone  surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and  ensure that one day they go home to their family.  The ones who wish to  fight, well, we aim to please.
Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, British Army

Update 25th March: Full text of the speech is on the March 25th entry.

Subscribe to Quantum Tea

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Follow me on Mastodon