Bush delivers ultimatum to Iraq

Toby Uecker

Toby Uecker

After what he described as “patient and honorable efforts” at diplomacy, U.S. President George W. Bush Monday set forth an ultimatum that has left many members of the SDSU community with few questions, but some concerns about America’s future actions.

In his address, Bush said, “Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict to commence at a time of our choosing.”

To the people of Iraq, the U.S. leader vowed, “The day of your liberation is near. … The tyrant will soon be gone.”

SDSU student Yonas Hamda said that the clear ultimatum was a very powerful statement by the President, but one that fit with what he had expected from the speech.

Hamda, a graduate student in economics, said, “I wasn’t surprised. … He’s given (the Iraqi government) decades to disarm, and they haven’t.”

Bush began his speech with mention of the 12 years the U.S. has spent in diplomacy with Iraq and the more than a dozen resolutions the U.N. has passed in attempts to reach an acceptable agreement.

“Our good faith has not been returned,” he said, citing material breach of U.N. resolution requirements and the role he says Iraq has played in helping terrorists in their attacks against America and the world.

Mohammed “Ozzie” Ahmed said after Bush’s speech that he didn’t hear enough from the president to convince him of those assertions.

The junior economics major said the presentation was a simple continuation of the same rhetoric that the administration has been using for months.”There’s no proofs of anything,” he said.

Ahmed is an exchange student4continued from page 1

from Great Britain, one of America’s closest allies in the pursuance of Iraqi disarmament, but he isn’t sure of how much support the U.S. will continue to get from his home country. He said that with both public and governmental dissent to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s close alliance with Bush, stability in British government is far from certain.

Still, Britain remains among the group of U.S. supporters described by Bush as a “coalition of the willing.” Also included in the coalition are Spain, Australia and a handful of other nations.

Notably removed from the coalition are France and Germany, who have led the opposition to military intervention in the U.N. Security Council.

“These governments share our assessment of the danger but not our resolve to meet it,” Bush said.

The Security Council’s refusal to sanction force led to Bush’s move toward war without a U.N. resolution.

“The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities,” Bush said in his address, “so we will rise to ours.”

This decision to go it alone is not one that thrills Ahmed’s brother, Haroon, who has been visiting the United States for the past few days.

“I think it’s quite hypocritical he’s going against the U.N. to attack Iraq,” he said.

Russell VanDerWerff said he disagrees with criticism of Bush’s decision.

The sophomore computer science and electrical engineering major said that he was particularly impressed with the part of Bush’s speech directed to the Iraqi people.

In that section, Bush assured the Iraqis that the U.S. attack would be directed against the “lawless men” who rule the country and encouraged the public not to fight for what he called a “dying regime.”

In particular, Bush warned Iraqis not to destroy oil wells or use weapons of mass destruction.

“It’s good to show we’re not in there to be against Iraq, just to be against Saddam,” VanDerWerff said.

Overall, he said he doesn’t think that war is something the U.S. has a choice about at this point in time.

“It’s something that has to happen,” VanDerWerff said. “War is never something we relish, but … I feel like I can trust (the president) to make that decision.”

Trust in Bush’s decision is also key to Maj. John Holter, head of SDSU’s military science department. Before the speech, he said, “My opinion is going to be to do whatever the Commander-in-Chief tells me to do.”

In terms of the direct effects of Bush’s announcement of impending military action, Holter said that SDSU is unlikely to see much change.

“Any long-term effects would be made obvious a ways down the line. Right now I can’t even imagine exactly what those would be,” he said.

SDSU has already seen some effects of the increasing military readiness for the actions Bush alluded to. According to Matt Aschenbrener, SDSU ombudsperson and student affairs specialist, just over 100 students have left school as a result of National Guard and Reserve call-ups.

Aschenbrener said that, while numbers are changing daily, six students withdrew from the university during the semester break, 101 have withdrawn from classes during the course of the semester and four more have withdrawn from the majority of their classes with hopes of finishing at least one.

The administration has worked to keep track of the students being called up for military service and to allow them to get refunds on their investment for the semester, Aschenbrener said. He added that the students will be welcomed back on the

“I think they’re trying to get closure in their lives academically to move on and be soldiers,” Aschenbrener said.

These soldiers may soon be working along side an already growing force in the Middle East preparing to execute Bush’s plans to enforce his ultimatum.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Bush may ask Congress for up to $70 billion to fund those plans.

“Every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it,” Bush said.

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