Fwd: [IP] US ready to fight 'without UK' US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has sparked diplomatic confusion

Joseph S Barrera III joe@barrera.org
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.

- Joe

-------- 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 <dave@farber.net>
Reply-To: dave@farber.net
To: ip <ip@v2.listbox.com>


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."

Military planning

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 
"seriously impaired".

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/03/11 22:36:33

Wardate: 21:36-27MAR2003
Downlimit: 2731:26:03