STORMIN' NORMAN: DON'T INVADE IRAQ
[Daily Mirror, UK Jan 29 2003]:
Gulf War hero calls for UN weapons inspectors to get more time
From Richard Wallace in New York
THE American general who led allied troops to victory in the Gulf War, yesterday refused to accept that there was enough evidence to invade Iraq.
Retired Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf insisted that UN inspections must continue and said the US had not considered the consequences for the Middle East after an invasion.
He said: "The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought.
"Having said that, I don't know what intelligence the US government has. And before I can just stand up and say 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq', I guess I would like to have better information."
He added: "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive."
Schwarzkopf slammed defence chief Donald Rumsfeld for his warlike language.
He said: "I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made. He almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it.
"When he makes his comments, it appears that he disregards the army. He gives the perception when he's on TV that he is the guy driving the train and everybody else better fall in line behind him, or else. It's scary.
"Let's face it, there are guys at the Pentagon who have been involved in operational planning for their entire lives.
"And for this wisdom, acquired during many operations, just to be ignored and in its place have somebody who doesn't have any of that training, is of concern."
The US anti-war movement continued to gather momentum yesterday.
Forty one of America's most brilliant minds came out against an attack on Iraq.
The Nobel laureates in science and economics signed a statement saying an unprovoked strike on Saddam would damage the security and standing of the US, even if it was successful.
A string of major Hollywood stars who have signed a Not In Our Name petition - copying the Daily Mirror's campaign - took out a two-page advert in the prestigious New York Times.
And protesters, led by actress Susan Sarandon, put out an anti-war TV advert last night, just before President Bush's televised State of the Union address.
The commercial, funded by a pacifist group True Majority, starred Sarandon and former ambassador to Iraq Edward Peck.
In it Sarandon asks: "Before our kids start coming home from Iraq in body bags and women and children start dying in Baghdad, I need to know, what did Iraq do to us?"
Peck, who was also deputy director of former President Ronald Reagan's terrorism task force, replied: "The answer is nothing.
"Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with al-Qaeda, its neighbours don't think it's a threat. Invading Iraq will increase terrorism, not reduce it."
In December more than 100 entertainers, including Academy Award winners Kim Basinger, Helen Hunt and Matt Damon, sent Mr Bush a letter warning of the domestic consequences of war. But Bush appeared unmoved yesterday. Before he delivered his speech, he said: "I will talk about the great challenges that face our country. I have no doubt we will be able to handle those challenges because we are a great country.
"It is a moment where I will rally the American people to some great causes and remind them that we will accomplish those causes together."
The earlier declaration from the Nobel prize winners read: "The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support.
"Military operations against Iraq may indeed lead to a relatively swift victory in the short term. But war is characterised by surprise, human loss and unintended consequences.
"Even with a victory, we believe that the medical, economic, environmental, moral, spiritual, political and legal consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, US security and standing in the world."
Among those who signed it were Hans Bethe, an architect of the atom bomb, and Norman Ramsey who worked on the Hiroshima bomb.
Eighteen of the group have received the National Medal of Science, America's highest science honour. More are expected to sign up in the next week. The Not In Our Name petition was signed by 45,000 public figures, including actor Martin Sheen, Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortenson, Susan Sarandon, rapper Mos Def, Jane Fonda and Yoko Ono.
The petition includes the statement: "We applaud and support the questioning and protest now going on, even as we recognise the need for much, much more to actually stop this juggernaut."
Yesterday, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, told European Parliament leaders in Brussels, via a TV link from New York, that he would welcome more time to work in Iraq if the Security Council offered it.
Five British-based relief agencies have also pleaded with world leaders to avoid war.
Arguing that military action could lead to a humanitarian crisis, a joint statement from Oxfam, Cafod, Christian Aid, ActionAid and Save the Children was sent to Tony Blair, urging world leaders to "draw back from the brink of war".
In Iraq, Saddam warned his senior army officers yesterday to watch for any signs of treason in the ranks.
Saddam's survival for a quarter of a century has depended on a ruthless response to any hint of dissent. But US officials have backed the idea of an amnesty for senior Iraqis who change sides.