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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Trump: Pope 'did not understand' illegal immigration crime problem

    Video at source link.

    Published February 19, 2016

    Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said Friday that Pope Francis did not understand the gravity of the “crime problem” caused by illegal immigrants crossing the US-Mexican border when the pontiff appeared to criticize Trump’s plan for a border wall.

    Trump, in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, also maintained his stated opposition to the war in Iraq, which he has used in recent days to hammer presidential primary opponent Jeb Bush.

    “He’s a terrific person,” Trump said of the pope, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. “To me it’s [about] illegal immigration. I don’t think the pope really understood in terms of the crime problem and the problems of illegal immigration.”

    "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian," Pope Francis said Thursday. A Vatican spokesman clarified the Pope’s remarks Friday, saying he “in no way [made] a personal attack” on the New York businessman.

    "Without borders we don't have a country, and that [Mexican] border is just like a piece of Swiss cheese; people pour over," Trump told Van Susteren on "On the Record."

    Trump also discussed a 2002 clip from the Howard Stern radio program in which he appeared to endorse the United States’ invasion of Iraq. He asserted he was only a supporter of action against Iraq “long before the war started.”

    “By the time the war started, I had gone—I was absolutely opposed to it. I always thought it was a destabilization of the Middle East,” Trump said.

    “It was the worst decision ever made in the history of our country,” Trump said. “[The war cost] $2 trillion and thousands of lives.”

    “Had [Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein lived—he was a bad guy, but he killed terrorists,” Trump said, adding that if former President George W. Bush “went to the beach and gone swimming [instead of engaging with Iraq], we’d be better off.”
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    This is an interesting read on the beginning of the Iraq war...Many people agreed with going into Afghanistan but did not understand going into Iraq.
    Woodward Shares War Secrets

    Journalist Describes Secret Details On White House's Plans For War

    • 2004Apr 15

    • CORRESPONDENTRebecca Leung

    Journalist Bob Woodward calls his new book, "Plan of Attack," the first detailed, behind-the-scenes account of how and why the president decided to wage war in Iraq.

    It's an insider's account written after Woodward spoke with 75 of the key decision makers, including President Bush himself.

    The president permitted Woodward to quote him directly. Others spoke on the condition that Woodward not identify them as sources.

    Woodward discusses the secret details of the White House's plans to attack Iraq for the first time on television with Correspondent Mike Wallace.

    Woodward permitted 60 Minutes to listen to tapes he recorded of his most important interviews, to read the transcripts, and to verify that the quotes he uses are based on recollections from participants in the key meetings. Both CBS News and Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Woodward's book, are units of Viacom.

    Woodward says that many of the quotes came directly from the president: "When I interviewed him for the first time several months ago up in the residence of the White House, he just kind of out of the blue said, 'It's the story of the 21st Century,' his decision to undertake this war and start a preemptive attack on another country."

    Woodward reports that just five days after Sept. 11, President Bush indicated to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that while he had to do Afghanistan first, he was also determined to do something about Saddam Hussein.

    "There's some pressure to go after Saddam Hussein. Don Rumsfeld has said, 'This is an opportunity to take out Saddam Hussein, perhaps. We should consider it.' And the president says to Condi Rice meeting head to head, 'We won't do Iraq now.' But it is a question we're gonna have to return to,'" says Woodward.

    "And there's this low boil on Iraq until the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, 2001. This is 72 days after 9/11. This is part of this secret history. President Bush, after a National Security Council meeting, takes Don Rumsfeld aside, collars him physically, and takes him into a little cubbyhole room and closes the door and says, 'What have you got in terms of plans for Iraq? What is the status of the war plan? I want you to get on it. I want you to keep it secret.'"

    Woodward says immediately after that, Rumsfeld told Gen. Tommy Franks to develop a war plan to invade Iraq and remove Saddam - and that Rumsfeld gave Franks a blank check.

    "Rumsfeld and Franks work out a deal essentially where Franks can spend any money he needs. And so he starts building runways and pipelines and doing all the preparations in Kuwait, specifically to make war possible," says Woodward.

    "Gets to a point where in July, the end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. …Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the Treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this."
    Woodward says there was a lot happening that only key Bush people knew about.

    "A year before the war started, three things are going on. Franks is secretly developing this war plan that he's briefing the president in detail on," says Woodward. "Franks simultaneously is publicly denying that he's ever been asked to do any plan."

    For example, here's Gen. Franks' response to a question about invading Iraq, in May 2002, after he's been working on war plans for five months: "That's a great question and one for which I don't have an answer, because my boss has not yet asked me to put together a plan to do that."

    But according to Woodward, the general had been perfecting his war plan, and Vice President Dick Cheney knew all about it. Woodward reports that Cheney was the driving force in the White House to get Saddam. Cheney had been Secretary of Defense during the first Gulf War, and to him, Saddam was unfinished business – and a threat to the United States.

    In his book, Woodward describes Cheney as a "powerful, steamrolling force obsessed with Saddam and taking him out."

    "Colin Powell, the secretary of state, saw this in Cheney to such an extent, he, Powell, told colleagues that 'Cheney has a fever. It is an absolute fever. It's almost as if nothing else exists,'" says Woodward, who adds that Cheney had plenty of opportunities to convince the president.

    "He's just down the hall in the West Wing from the president. President says, 'I meet with him all the time.' Cheney's back in the corner or sitting on the couch at nearly all of these meetings."

    The president had hoped Saddam could be removed in some way short of war. But early in 2002, Woodward reports, the CIA concluded they could not overthrow Saddam. That word came from the CIA's head of Iraq operations, a man known simply as "Saul."

    "Saul gets together a briefing and who does he give it to first? Dick Cheney. He said, 'I can count the number of sources, human sources, spies we have in Iraq on one hand,'" says Woodward. "I asked the president, 'What was your reaction that the CIA couldn't overthrow Saddam? And the president said one word. 'Darn.'"

    The vice president led the way on declaring that Saddam Hussein definitely had weapons of mass destruction. Before that, the president had said only that Saddam "desires them."

    But ten days later, the vice president said Saddam already had weapons of mass destruction. And 12 days after that, the president too had apparently been persuaded: "A lot of people understand he holds weapons of mass destruction."
    Three months later, on Dec. 21, 2002, Woodward says CIA Director George Tenet brought his deputy, John McLaughlin, to the oval office to show the president and the vice president their best evidence that Saddam really had weapons of mass destruction.

    "McLaughlin has access to all the satellite photos, and he goes in and he has flip charts in the oval office. The president listens to all of this and McLaughlin's done. And, and the president kind of, as he's inclined to do, says 'Nice try, but that isn't gonna sell Joe Public. That isn't gonna convince Joe Public,'" says Woodward.

    In his book, Woodward writes: "The presentation was a flop. The photos were not gripping. The intercepts were less than compelling. And then George Bush turns to George Tenet and says, 'This is the best we've got?'"

    Says Woodward: "George Tenet's sitting on the couch, stands up, and says, 'Don't worry, it's a slam dunk case.'" And the president challenges him again and Tenet says, 'The case, it's a slam dunk.' ...I asked the president about this and he said it was very important to have the CIA director – 'Slam-dunk is as I interpreted is a sure thing, guaranteed. No possibility it won't go through the hoop.' Others present, Cheney, very impressed."

    What did Woodward think of Tenet's statement? "It's a mistake," he says. "Now the significance of that mistake - that was the key rationale for war."
    It was just two weeks later when the president decided to go to war.

    "That decision was first conveyed to Condi Rice in early January 2003 when he said, 'We're gonna have to go. It's war.' He was frustrated with the weapons inspections. He had promised the United Nations and the world and the country that either the UN would disarm Saddam or he, George Bush, would do it and do it alone if necessary," says Woodward. "So he told Condi Rice. He told Rumsfeld. He knew Cheney wanted to do this. And they realized they haven't told Colin Powell, the Secretary of State."

    "So Condi Rice said, 'You better call Colin in and tell him.' So, I think probably one of the most interesting meetings in this whole story. He calls Colin Powell in alone, sitting in those two famous chairs in the Oval Office and the president said, 'Looks like war. I'm gonna have to do this,'" adds Woodward.

    "And then Powell says to him, somewhat in a chilly way, 'Are you aware of the consequences?' Because he'd been pounding for months on the president, on everyone - and Powell directly says, 'You know, you're gonna be owning this place.' And the president says, 'I understand that.' The president knows that Powell is the one who doesn't want to go to war. He says, 'Will you be with me?' And Powell, the soldier, 35 years in the army, the president has decided and he says, 'I'll do my best. Yes, Mr. President. I'll be with you.'" And then, the president says, 'Time to put your war uniform on.'"

    Woodward says he described Powell as semi-despondent "because he knew that this was a war that might have been avoided. That's why he spent so much time at the United Nations."
    But, it turns out, two days before the president told Powell, Cheney and Rumsfeld had already briefed Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador.

    "Saturday, Jan. 11, with the president's permission, Cheney and Rumsfeld call Bandar to Cheney's West Wing office, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Myers, is there with a top-secret map of the war plan. And it says, 'Top secret. No foreign.' No foreign means no foreigners are supposed to see this," says Woodward.

    "They describe in detail the war plan for Bandar. And so Bandar, who's skeptical because he knows in the first Gulf War we didn't get Saddam out, so he says to Cheney and Rumsfeld, 'So Saddam this time is gonna be out, period?' And Cheney - who has said nothing - says the following: 'Prince Bandar, once we start, Saddam is toast.'"

    After Bandar left, according to Woodward, Cheney said, "I wanted him to know that this is for real. We're really doing it."

    But this wasn't enough for Prince Bandar, who Woodward says wanted confirmation from the president. "Then, two days later, Bandar is called to meet with the president and the president says, 'Their message is my message,'" says Woodward.

    Prince Bandar enjoys easy access to the Oval Office. His family and the Bush family are close. And Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

    Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: "They're [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly."
    For his book, Woodward interviewed 75 top military and Bush administration officials, including two long interviews with the president himself. Mr. Bush spoke on the record, but others talked to Woodward on condition that he not reveal their identities.

    60 Minutes won't name those Woodward interviewed, but we've listened to the tapes and read the transcripts of his key interviews to verify that his accounts are based on recollections from people who took part in the meetings he describes, including a historic meeting on March 19, when Bush gives the order to go to war.

    He's with the National Security Council, in the situation room. Says Woodward: "They have all these TV monitors. Gen. Franks, the commander, is up on one of them. And all nine commanders, and the president asks each one of them, 'Are you ready? Do you have what you need? Are you satisfied?' And they all say, 'Yes, sir.' and 'We're ready.'"

    Then the president saluted and he rose suddenly from his chair. "People who were there said there were tears in his eyes, not coming down his cheeks but in his eyes," says Woodward. "And just kind of marched out of the room."

    Having given the order, the president walked alone around the circle behind the White House. Months later, he told Woodward: "As I walked around the circle, I prayed that our troops be safe, be protected by the Almighty. Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will. I'm surely not going to justify war based upon God. Understand that. Nevertheless, in my case, I pray that I be as good a messenger of his will as possible. And then, of course, I pray for forgiveness."

    Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice? "I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, 'Well, no,' and then he got defensive about it," says Woodward. "Then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, 'He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.' And then he said, 'There's a higher Father that I appeal to.'"

    Beyond not asking his father about going to war, Woodward was startled to learn that the president did not ask key cabinet members either.

    "The president, in making the decision to go to war, did not ask his secretary of defense for an overall recommendation, did not ask his secretary of state, Colin Powell, for his recommendation," says Woodward.

    But the president did ask Rice, his national security adviser, and Karen Hughes, his political communications adviser. Woodward says both supported going to war. And in the run-up to war, Woodward reveals the CIA hired the leaders of a Muslim religious sect at odds with Saddam, but nonetheless with numerous members highly placed in Saddam's security services. The CIA's code name for them: the Rock Stars.

    "Before the war, they recruit 87 of them all throughout the country and they give them satellite phones. And they report in regularly on secret things that are going on," says Woodward.

    And it turns out, reports from the Rock Stars led to the first bombing attack, on March 19, to try to kill Saddam – at a place called Dora Farm, a farm south of Baghdad that Saddam's wife used.

    "And Saddam went there at least once a year with his two sons. The security person at Dora Farm was a CIA spy, a Rock Star, and had a telephone, a satellite phone, in which he was reporting what he was seeing."

    Other Rock Stars are apparently there too, so Rumsfeld and Tenet rush to the oval office to tell the president what the spies are seeing.

    "They've seen the son. There is communications equipment coming in that would show that Saddam is going there. They get overhead satellite photos that show dozens of security vehicles parked under palm trees. And they say, 'Holy Moses, this is for real.' And they start getting better and more detailed reports that they think Saddam is coming. And the question is, do we take them out,'" says Woodward.

    "The president asks everyone, and they all recommend doing it. And then he kicks everyone out, except Cheney. And he says, 'Dick, what do you think?' And Cheney says, 'I think we ought to do it, and at minimum, it will rattle Saddam's cage.' ...They start getting intelligence that maybe they hit Saddam."

    But Woodward says that Tenet was wrong. Again. And to this day, Woodward reports, the CIA still doesn't know if the information from the Rock Stars was reliable, or if Saddam was really there that night. "Again, we have the fog of war, the fog of intelligence," says Woodward.
    Although Saddam has finally been captured, Woodward says that so far, interrogators are learning very little from him.

    "What people have told me is that he he's kind of out of it. Unreliable," says Woodward. "That he, at some moments, thinks he's still president. He's not in touch with reality, to the point where they can find what he says is reliable."

    And in the wake of the war, according to Woodward, there's a deep rift between Powell and Cheney.

    "The relationship between Cheney and Powell is essentially broken down. They can't talk. They don't communicate," says Woodward. "Powell feels that Cheney drove the decision to go to war in Iraq. And Cheney feels that Powell has not been sufficiently supportive of the president in the war or in the aftermath."

    Which of the two was more prescient about how Iraq would turn out? "All of Powell's warnings think of the consequences, Pottery Barn rules: If you break it, you own it. And that's exactly what has happened in Iraq. We own it. In a way, they've had victory without success," says Woodward.

    "Dick Cheney's view is that in a way, it doesn't matter how long the aftermath is... What matters is the ultimate outcome... Whether there's stability and democracy."

    Are there post-war plans? "There were innumerable briefings to the president about currency about oil. And on the real issue of security and possible violence, they did not see it coming," says Woodward.

    Did the administration really believe that they were going to get flowers and kisses? "Some of the exiles told them that," says Woodward. "I think the president was skeptical of that. I think people like Cheney believed it more."
    Today, while most doubt that Saddam still possessed any weapons of mass destruction, the president told Woodward he has no doubts at all about going to war.

    "The president still believes with some conviction, that this was absolutely the right thing, that he has the duty to free people, to liberate people. And this was his moment," says Woodward.

    But who gave President Bush the duty to free people around the world? "That's a really good question. The Constitution doesn't say that's part of the commander in chief's duties," says Woodward. "That's his stated purpose. It is far-reaching, and ambitious, and I think will cause many people to tremble."

    How deep a man is President George W. Bush? "He's not an intellectual. He is not what I guess would be called a deep thinker," says Woodward. "He chastised me at one point because I said people were concerned about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. And he said, 'Well you travel in elite circles.' I think he feels there is an intellectual world and he's indicated he's not a part of it … the fancy pants intellectual world. What he calls the elite."

    How does the president think history will judge him for going to war in Iraq?

    "After the second interview with him on Dec. 11, we got up and walked over to one of the doors. There are all of these doors in the Oval Office that lead outside. And he had his hands in his pocket, and I just asked, 'Well, how is history likely to judge your Iraq war,'" says Woodward.

    "And he said, 'History,' and then he took his hands out of his pocket and kind of shrugged and extended his hands as if this is a way off. And then he said, 'History, we don't know. We'll all be dead.'"
    Prior to publication, the contents of Woodward's book were closely guarded to prevent any leaks, and 60 Minutes agreed not to interview anyone else for this report.
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    There are many that still say this is the driving reason.
    U.S. Strikes Iraq for Plot to Kill Bush

    By David Von Drehle and R. Jeffrey Smith
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Sunday, June 27, 1993; Page A01

    U.S. Navy ships launched 23 Tomahawk missiles against the headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service yesterday in what President Clinton said was a "firm and commensurate" response to Iraq's plan to assassinate former president George Bush in mid-April.

    The attack was meant to strike at the building where Iraqi officials had plotted against Bush, organized other unspecified terrorist actions and directed repressive internal security measures, senior U.S. officials said.

    Clinton, speaking in a televised address to the nation at 7:40 last night, said he ordered the attack to send three messages to the Iraqi leadership: "We will combat terrorism. We will deter aggression. We will protect our people."

    Clinton said he ordered the attack after receiving "compelling evidence" from U.S. intelligence officials that Bush had been the target of an assassination plot and that the plot was "directed and pursued by the Iraqi Intelligence Service."

    "It was an elaborate plan devised by the Iraqi government and directed against a former president of the United States because of actions he took as president," Clinton said. Bush led the coalition that drove Iraq from Kuwait in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. "As such, the Iraqi attack against President Bush was an attack against our country and against all Americans," Clinton said.

    After two months of investigation and mounting evidence, Clinton became convinced during two "exhaustive and exhausting" meetings last week that Iraq was indeed behind a foiled car-bomb plot to kill Bush during his visit to Kuwait April 14-16, a senior administration official said.

    Aides met with Clinton Wednesday in the White House residence to present a summary of the evidence gathered by FBI and intelligence sources, the official said. On Thursday, Attorney General Janet Reno and CIA Director R. James Woolsey presented the president with their formal reports.

    Clinton ordered the attack Friday, but the raid was delayed a day so it would not fall on the Muslim sabbath, the official said. "About a dozen" U.S. allies and "friends in the region" were told in advance that the attack was coming; the reaction, according to the official, was mostly favorable. British Prime Minister John Major issued a statement last night supporting Clinton's action.

    The missiles struck late at night -- between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Baghdad time -- because Clinton wished to minimize possible deaths of innocent civilians.

    But Iraq, which has consistently denied involvement in any assassination plot against Bush, said there were "many civilian casualties" as a result of the Tomahawk attack, the Reuter news service reported. It quoted Iraqi civil defense officials as saying three people were killed and four rescued.

    Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's ruling Revolution Command Council denounced the raid as "cowardly aggression" and said Washington's reason for launching it was "fabricated by the vile Kuwaiti rulers in coordination with agencies in the U.S. administration."

    An Iraqi Ministry of Information spokesman said the missiles hit a residential area, where Reuter reported that three houses were destroyed.

    From Baghdad, Reuter reported smoke and what appeared to be a huge blaze could be seen rising from the site, about two miles from the center of the city in a residential district. But reporters were not immediately given access to the site.

    Clinton was persuaded to act by three kinds of evidence, a senior intelligence official said last night. First, key suspects in the plot confessed to FBI agents in Kuwait. Second, FBI bomb experts painstakingly linked the captured car bomb to previous explosives made in Iraq. Third, unspecified intelligence assessments concluded that Saddam meant seriously the threats he has made against Bush. Other classified intelligence sources supported this analysis, the official said.

    The combination made the CIA "highly confident that the Iraqi government, at the highest levels, directed its intelligence service to assassinate former president Bush," said the intelligence official.

    Clinton had harsh words for Saddam -- Bush's arch-nemesis during the Persian Gulf War -- in his Oval Office address. After listing the Iraqi leader's offenses against the world and his own people, Clinton said: "This attempt at revenge by a tyrant against the leader of the world coalition that defeated him in war is particularly loathsome and cowardly."

    Indeed, the tone of the whole speech was notably forceful and stern, coming from the often avuncular Clinton. He saved his kind words for the men and women involved in the investigation and the military strike: "You have my gratitude, and the gratitude of all Americans," he said.

    The action was the second major U.S. military operation conducted during Clinton's presidency, coming just two weeks after U.S. forces participated in a multinational strike against forces in Somalia allied with warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed. Unlike that operation, the raid against Iraq was taken unilaterally, entirely apart from the U.N. sanctions still in place against the Iraqi regime.

    "This crime was committed against the United States, and we elected to respond and to exercise our right of self defense" under Article 51 of the U.N. charter, Defense Secretary Les Aspin said. "Tonight's unilateral action in no way diminishes U.S. support for coalition action or for the authority of the United Nations."

    Bush -- at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine -- was terse when reached by the Associated Press. "I'm not in the interview business, but thank you very much for calling," he said.

    Administration sources said Bush's friend and former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft was kept apprised of the investigation, and Clinton called Bush minutes after the attack was launched to give him the news. Secretary of State Warren Christopher flew to Kennebunkport yesterday to brief the former president.

    Clinton relied heavily on evidence found by FBI bomb experts linking the Iraqi Intelligence Service to a 175-pound car bomb found April 14 in Kuwait City. According to senior intelligence and law enforcement officials, key pieces of the bomb -- including the remote-control detonator, the plastic explosives, the electronic circuitry and the wiring -- bore an overwhelming resemblance to components of bombs previously recovered from the Iraqis.

    The White House press office distributed photographs of circuit boards and detonators taken from earlier Iraqi bombs, alongside photos of the same elements from the bomb meant for Bush. Even to the untrained eye, there were clear similarities.

    "Certain aspects of these devices have been found only in devices linked to Iraq," an intelligence official said.

    Clinton also had the confessions of the two alleged leaders of the 16 suspects arrested by Kuwait when the plot was uncovered. Both are Iraqi nationals. Ra'ad Asadi and Wali Abdelhadi Ghazali told FBI investigators detailed to Kuwait that they met in Basra, Iraq, on April 12 with "individuals they believed to be associated with the Iraqi Intelligence Service," according to a senior U.S. intelligence official.

    They were given a vehicle loaded with hidden explosives. Ghazali told the FBI he was recruited specifically to kill Bush. Asadi also told the FBI he was to guide the car bomb, driven by his partner, to Kuwait University, where Bush was to be honored by the Emir of Kuwait for his leadership in the gulf war.

    Administration officials said the suspects told the FBI that the bomb was to be parked near the motorcade route. From a vantage point 300 to 500 yards away, Ghazali would set off the bomb using a remote control. FBI bomb specialists estimated the bomb would have been lethal for nearly a quarter-mile.
    FBI agents were told if the remote control device failed, the bomb was to be detonated by a timing device on a street in Kuwait City named for Bush. They were also told that Ghazali had a "bomb belt" he would use if all else failed; he was to wear it, approach Bush and blow them both up.

    There have been reports that the suspects held in Kuwait have been tortured by Kuwaiti officials, but a senior law enforcement official said last night that FBI agents "believe they were not." Nevertheless, the official said, confessions are often unreliable, which is why the investigators placed "an especially great emphasis" on the conclusions of the bomb experts.

    The CIA recalled that, after the gulf war, Saddam was heard on official Iraq media promising to hunt down and punish Bush, even after he left office. A senior intelligence official said the CIA also had classified evidence proving that the car bomb was meant for Bush, from Saddam.

    "We could not and have not let such action against our nation go unanswered," Clinton said in his televised address. "From the first days of our revolution, America's security has depended on the clarity of this message: Don't tread on us."

    Clinton had criticized the Iraqi regime on Friday for failing to allow continuous monitoring of its missile test sites by the United Nations. The monitoring was accepted by Baghdad at the end of the 1991 gulf war, as part of a series of agreements meant to strip Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.

    But U.S. officials did not cite that dispute in explaining the action last night, and U.S. warplanes involved in policing U.N. sanctions against Iraq did not take part.

    Congressional leaders from both parties supported Clinton's action. Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) called the president from Charleston, W.Va., to give a thumbs-up. "I think it was a good thing. I support it. If I can help, let me know," Dole told Clinton, according to a CNN interview.

    The U.S. attack was initiated at 4:22 p.m. (EDT), when two ships -- the destroyer USS Peterson in the Red Sea and the cruiser USS Chancellorsville in the Persian Gulf -- began firing a total of 23 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Iraqi Intelligence Service headquarters complex in downtown Baghdad.

    The missiles, which each cost an estimated $1.1 million, typically fly 50 to 100 feet above the ground and navigate by radar according to detailed maps stored in onboard computers. Each missile was capable of carrying up to 1,000 pounds of conventional explosives on their flight to Baghdad of up to two hours.
    Officials said the number of missiles was set after detailed analysis of what would be needed to ruin the complex. Navy officials programmed most of the missiles to hit specific aim-points at a building near the center, which Aspin called the "hub of . . . operational planning, interrogations, communication, and computer operations" for the Iraqi Intelligence Service.

    Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin L. Powell told reporters at the Pentagon last night that a detailed assessment of the damage was not immediately available. But Powell said he had "preliminary information that a large number of them impacted where they were supposed to."

    Officials made clear that no further military action was planned and warned Iraq not to retaliate. Powell said the Navy had moved several ships closer to Iraq so the United States could respond to any Iraqi retaliation.

    An aerial picture of the principal targeted building, shown to reporters at the Pentagon last night, showed a large, six-story structure with three wings located off the central corridors. Four satellite dishes sat atop the building's roof.

    Nearby were various buildings labeled as administrative, housing and support offices or vehicle storage sheds, and the entire complex -- roughly a football field in length -- was surrounded by a wall. U.S.
    officials cited the complex's isolation and the fact that the attack was timed to occur during Baghdad's nighttime as factors that would reduce the number of innocent casualties.

    Powell and Aspin declined to say how many people were expected to be in the complex but said a portion of it functioned around the clock. The attack was not expected to "take down the entire complex," Powell said, but to ruin Iraq's ability to continue using it.

    He noted that the complex was attacked and damaged once before by the United States, during the 1991 Operation Desert Storm bombing campaign aimed at pressuring Iraq to withdraw its forces from Kuwait. But Iraq had since rebuilt the headquarters.

    Aspin said the Iraqi Intelligence Service is the country's largest such agency and was responsible for providing security for Saddam's regime, repressing internal opposition, collecting foreign intelligence and conducting terrorist operations abroad, including the planned assassination attempt.

    Asked to explain why the United States picked that target and did not go after Saddam himself, Aspin said, "It's very difficult to target a single individual. It's very difficult to capture a single individual. Dropping bombs on the hope that you're going to get a single individual is a very, very demanding task."
    Aspin said, "What we're doing is sending a message against the people who were responsible for planning this operation. . . . {If} anybody asks the same people to do it again, they will remember this message."
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