Fwd: [IP] US ready to fight 'without UK' US Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld has sparked diplomatic confusion
Joseph S Barrera III
Tue, 11 Mar 2003 16:51:53 -0800
Why do I keep thinking of The Dead Zone?
"Hallelujah, the missiles are flying"
These people (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush) just don't
give a shit. They're just gonna do what they wanna do.
We're just along for the ride.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [IP] US ready to fight 'without UK' US Defence Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld has sparked diplomatic confusion
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 19:38:44 -0500
From: Dave Farber <email@example.com>
To: ip <firstname.lastname@example.org>
US ready to fight 'without UK'
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has sparked diplomatic confusion
by suggesting that America would be prepared to take military action
against Iraq without Britain.
Telephones between Number 10 and Washington were ringing "red hot"
after Mr Rumsfeld told a press briefing that the US had alternative
plans if the UK decided not to go to war with Iraq.
The remarks caused shock and surprise in Downing Street, which
insisted that if Saddam Hussein made the wrong moves, then Britain
would be in at the front.
"There's no doubt that Tony Blair is in a very, very weak
position indeed" -- Andrew Marr, BBC political editor
Number 10 made it clear that rather than scaling down the UK's
involvement in the conflict, the opposite was happening.
The diplomatic flurry came as Tony Blair said he was willing to work
"night and day" to secure enough common ground among UN security
council members for a second resolution.
Mr Rumsfeld told reporters: "What will ultimately be decided is
unclear as to their [UK's] role and I think until we know what the
resolution is, we won't know what their role will be."
Asked if he meant the US would go to war without its "closest ally",
he added: "That is an issue that the president will be addressing in
the days ahead, one would assume."
A Downing Street spokeswoman insisted: "This has not changed anything.
We are still working to get a second resolution. We are not at this
stage (war) yet.
"But there has been complete cooperation throughout between the United
Kingdom and United States on the military planning."
Within the hour, Mr Rumsfeld tried to clarify his comments with a
statement saying he had "no doubt" in the UK's "full support" for the
international community's efforts to disarm Iraq.
I don't think it is possible to exaggerate the degree of concern
about the illegality of what is proposed -- Tam Dalyell
He stressed: "I was simply pointing out that obtaining a second United
Nation's Security Council Resolution is important to the United
Kingdom and that we are working to achieve it.
"In the event that a decision to use force is made, we have every
reason to believe there will be a significant military contribution
from the United Kingdom."
In recent days military planners have been talking about Britain's
"military contribution being greater than we thought".
But Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell told
BBC's Newsnight that Mr Rumsfeld's comments appeared to "devalue
Britain's military contribution and hence its political influence".
Earlier, Mr Blair warned that Saddam Hussein will be "let off the
hook" if France or Russia uses a veto over a further UN resolution.
UK diplomats at the UN have proposed a series of tests they say
Baghdad should fulfil within a set time to prove that it is ready to
hand over its weapons.
The proposals are part of an attempt to win wider support for a new UN
resolution that gives the Iraqi leader a deadline to disarm before war.
Mr Blair hopes the plan will break the UN deadlock and ease mounting
political pressure at home following an attack on his strategy by
Clare Short, the international development secretary.
But on Tuesday, six undecided UN members - Cameroon, Angola, Chile,
Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan - suggested a 45-day deadline for Iraq to
This will be seen as a non-starter by America, which has rejected
calls to extend the deadline beyond 17 March, insisting that a UN vote
on war against Iraq will happen this week.
Mr Blair knows the risks he is taking -- Nick Assinder,
BBC News Online political correspondent
On Monday, the prime minister telephoned Security Council members to
discuss the benchmarks against which Iraqi compliance can be judged.
That paved the way for Britain's new proposals, which were drawn up
and circulated by Britain's ambassador to the UN, Jeremy Greenstock.
On Tuesday, Mr Blair held talks in Downing Street with Portuguese
Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso who was supportive of his
British counterpart's stance.
According to the Guardian newspaper, security sources at the UN
suggest the new deadline could be pushed back "a few days" beyond the
March 17 deadline in the draft resolution.
Downing Street seemed to indicate a degree of flexibility over the date.
France and Russia have warned that they would veto any new UN
resolution, while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said the
legitimacy of any military action without a new UN mandate would be
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2003/03/11 22:36:33
© BBC MMIII