March 18, 2003

Dubya's Ultimatum Just heard the

Dubya's Ultimatum

Just heard the presidential address. Best line (I think before reviewing the transcript tomorrow) had to do with Dubya's Iraq policy not being a "question of authority" but a "question of will." He also continued to apply maximum pressure on Saddam by issuing an ultimatum for only the Iraqi leader and his two sons to vacate the country--not other senior Baath leaders. The U.S. still appears to have some hope that he will be assassinated, fall victim to a coup or decide to cut his losses and flee. All very low probability scenarios, but Dubya is wise to ratchet the pressure up during these final hours and enhance the chances of any such scenario taking place.

Clearly, another speech will be required in the coming days to prepare the American people for what may, after all, be a more complex and painful conflict than perhaps widely anticipated. I predict a Saturday start date. 48 hours to see that Saddam didn't flee brings us to Wednesday evening. Another day for more internationals to leave Baghdad, the following Muslim holy day of Friday to be avoided as a start date, the beginning of the conflict therefore likely sometime in the early morning of Saturday the 22nd.

Posted by Gregory at March 18, 2003 01:40 AM
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