16 December 1998
US Government Statements and Transcripts
- PRESS BRIEFING BY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SANDY BERGER December 16, 1998 7:18 P.M. EST -- "The objectives of this military action are to attack his weapons of mass destruction and missile delivery production capability and to attack his military capability to threaten his neighbors and, in so doing, to degrade both. And the mission will continue until such time as we believe the objectives have been completed.... there is no artificial deadline for this action. The President expressed the sensitivity that we have to the holy month of Ramadan .... But, as I say, there is no -- I'm not going to specify how long this will go on. Now that UNSCOM is not on the ground to help detect WMD and to be a deterrent against WMD reconstitution, we will seek to do, through air strikes, some of that work. And, by hitting his military infrastructure, we can reduce his ability to threaten his neighbors. If, at some point, Saddam Hussein were to decide to allow UNSCOM back in and to cooperate with it fully, that would be a welcome development. I think it is a highly unlikely development. But the fact of the matter is, UNSCOM has been ineffective for some time. ... We've learned from previous episodes that the longer
the time between CNN reporting that we're thinking about acting
and actually acting, the more time Saddam Hussein has to disperse
his forces, the more time he has to move things that we would
like not to be moved. And, therefore, the element of surprise here, of tactical surprise, was extremely important .... what the United States says matters in the world. And the credibility of our word, and the fact that we will carry out what we say we will do, is important."
- STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
December 16, 1998 6:00 P.M. EST -- Earlier today, I ordered America's Armed Forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical, and biological programs, and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
- STATEMENT BY PRESS SECRETARY JOE LOCKHART White House Briefing - December 16, 1998 5:10 P.M. EST -- At the direction of the President, United States military forces have launched a substantial military strike against
- DoD News Briefing December 16, 1998 -- Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen [Also participating in the briefing was Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] President Clinton's decision to strike Iraq has clear military goals. We want to degrade Saddam Hussein's ability to make and to use weapons of mass destruction. We want to diminish his ability to wage war against his neighbors. And we want to demonstrate the consequences of flouting international obligations.
- TEXT: AMBASSADOR BURLEIGH'S SECURITY COUNCIL REMARKS 16 December 1998 -- "Iraq bears full responsibility for the consequences of this military operation," US Ambassador Peter Burleigh told the UN Security Council December 16 explaining the military air strikes underway by the United States and Great Britain in response to Iraq's continued refusal to cooperate with UN weapons inspectors.
- State Department Briefing -- 16 December 1998 -- IRAQ Secretary Albright's Activities/Meetings/Contacts with Foreign Ministers / Congress Chairman Butler's Report/Iraqi Non-Compliance Other Options/Comprehensive Review/Prospects for Military Action/Timing Other Countries Support/Consensus for Military Action Status of Embassy Personnel/Dependents at US Embassies in Region Middle East Peace Process and the Situation with Iraq
- White House Briefing PRESS BRIEFING BY JOE LOCKHART -- 1:25 P.M. EST December 16, 1998 --
Q Joe, experts such as Scott Ritter and others have
said this Butler report could have come at any time. Are you
saying it's an absolutely total coincidence that it's all coming
to a head on the day of the impeachment
MR. LOCKHART: You were asking me a question that goes
to decision-making, and I've told you I'm not going to get into
- EXCERPTS: GORE COMMENTS ON IRAQ STRIKE 16 December 1998 -- Vice President, interviewed by CNN's Larry King late December 16, explained why the United States felt obliged to strike at Iraq's Saddam Hussein earlier in the day.
- TRANSCRIPT: ALBRIGHT INTERVIEW ON LARRY KING LIVE 16 December 1998 -- Secretary of State Albright says there is "a military reason for having a sustained and substantial attack" on Iraq over a period of three or four days.
"People were worried about a pin prick," she said during an interview on CNN's Larry King Live program late December 16. "This is not a pin prick. The effect of this is in order to degrade Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction capability, his ability to develop and deploy the weapons of mass destruction and his ability to threaten his neighbors."
- TRANSCRIPT: ALBRIGHT BRIEFING ON IRAQ AIR STRIKES 16 December 1998 -- Secretary of State Albright defended the US air strikes against Iraq in a December 16 briefing, but also stressed that "our quarrel is not with the Iraqi people.
- TRANSCRIPT: COHEN ANNOUNCES SHARP INCREASE IN GULF FORCES 16 December 1998 -- President Clinton's decision to strike Iraq has "clear military goals," Secretary of Defense Cohen declared December 16. "We want to degrade Saddam Hussein's ability to make and to use weapons of mass destruction...to diminish his ability to wage war against his neighbors," and "to demonstrate the consequences of flouting internaitonal obligations."
- TEXT: STATE DEPT. ISSUES TRAVEL WARNING ON KUWAIT 16 December 1998 -- The Department of State late December 16 warned US citizens to consider whether they should travel to Kuwait in light of U.S. military action undertaken against Iraq and the potential for retaliatory action.
- TEXT: STATE DEPT. ISSUES TRAVEL WARNING FOR ISRAEL, WEST BANK 16 December 1998 -- The State Department has warned US citizens to "consider whether they should travel" to Israel and the territories it occupies in light of the US military attacks on Iraq. It has also ordered dependents of US foreign service personnel to leave the region.
- TEXT: STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES WORLDWIDE CAUTION ON IRAQ 16 December 1998 -- The State Department late December 16 issued a worldwide caution on Iraq, saying that "In light of the military operations against Iraq and the potential for retaliatory action, the Department of State urges U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to review their security practices, to remain alert to the changing situation, and to exercise much greater caution than usual.
- THE UN SPECIAL COMMISSION REPORTS NO PROGRESS WITH IRAQ By Judy Aita USIA 16 December 1998 -- The UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) overseeing the destruction of weapons of mass destruction inside Iraq reported late December 15 that Iraq has not fully cooperated with UNSCOM weapons experts since inspections resumed in November and, in fact, imposed new restrictions on the commission.
- US/IRAQ ATTACK Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- THE UNITED STATES HAS A LAUNCHED A MILITARY ATTACK
AGAINST IRAQ FOR BAGHDAD'S FAILURE TO ALLOW UNITED NATIONS
WEAPONS INSPECTORS TO CARRY OUT THEIR WORK. THE ANNOUNCEMENT
WAS MADE AT ABOUT 5:08 P-M (WEDNESDAY) FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.
- CLINTON / IRAQ ATTACK Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS DEFENDED HIS DECISION -- IN A TELEVISED ADDRESS TO THE NATION -- TO USE FORCE AGAINST IRAQ, AND INDICATED THE TIMING OF THE ACTION WAS NOT LINKED TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IMPEACHMENT VOTE AGAINST HIM THAT WAS SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY.
- U.S. launches 'substantial' air strike against Iraq : 16 Dec 1998 (AFPN) - U.S. forces launched a "substantial" air strike against Iraq in the early morning hours of Dec. 17, responding to Iraqi resistance to U.N. weapons inspections.
- U.S.-UK MILITARY STRIKE PUNISHES IRAQI PATTERN OF OBSTRUCTION By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA 16 December 1998 -- Secretary of Defense Cohen says the United States -- joined by Great Britain -- launched "a serious and sustained" military strike against Iraq December 16 to degrade Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's capability to threaten his neighbors with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missile systems to deliver them.
- CLINTON HAD "NO CHOICE" IN ORDERING STRIKES ON IRAQ, BERGER SAYS By Wendy S. Ross USIA 16 December 1998 -- The United States had no choice but to begin air strikes against Iraq because the chief of the United Nations Commission in Iraq (UNSCOM) had reported to the United Nations that it "is not able to function," says President Clinton's National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger.
- ALBRIGHT SATISFIED WITH WORLD SUPPORT FOR US ACTION IN IRAQ By Jane A. Morse USIA 16 December 1998 -- Secretary of State Albright says she is "very satisfied" with the support expressed by the international community for the US decision December 16 to take military action against Iraq.
- IRAQ / DIPLOMACY Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- BEFORE THE LATEST ATTACK ON IRAQ BEGAN, THE U-S STATE DEPARTMENT SPELLED OUT THE REASONS FOR THE AIRSTRIKES, SAYING THERE WAS NO HOPE OF IRAQI COMPLIANCE WITH U-N RESOLUTIONS.
- CLINTON SAYS "WE HAD TO ACT AND ACT NOW" AGAINST IRAQ By Wendy S. Ross USIA 16 December 1998
-- President Clinton says he ordered a strong, sustained series of US air strikes against military and security targets in Iraq ecember 16 because Saddam Hussein "failed to seize" his last chance
to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
- THE UN SPECIAL COMMISSION REPORTS NO PROGRESS WITH IRAQ By Judy Aita USIA 16 December 1998 -- The UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) overseeing the destruction of weapons of mass destruction inside Iraq reported late
December 15 that Iraq has not fully cooperated with UNSCOM weapons
experts since inspections resumed in November and, in fact, has
imposed new restrictions on the commission.
- Terrorist attack warning hikes Persian Gulf threat level by Linda D. Kozaryn American Forces Press Service 16 Dec 1998 -- The threat of a terrorist attack against U.S. targets in the Persian Gulf in the next 30 days has put American service members in the region on Threat Condition Charlie -- the second-highest threat level.
- PENTAGON / IRAQ -- WED UPDATE Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- A SENIOR U-S DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS THERE IS ABOUT A "50-50 CHANCE" THAT THE UNITED STATES WILL ATTACK IRAQ TODAY. THE COMMENT FOLLOWS A U-N REPORT THAT SAYS IRAQ IS NOT KEEPING PROMISES TO ALLOW FREE INSPECTIONS OF PLACES THOUGHT TO HIDE BANNED WEAPONS.
- Scott Ritter on Bombing Iraq Channel 4 News Wednesday 16th December 1998 --
..."I'm dead set against this military strike. I think Iraq must be held
accountable but I think a military strike even of a three-day nature, a
massive strike that will inflict grievous harm on Iraq, will not solve the
- Six Senators Write Clinton, Overthrow Saddam 16 December 1998 --
Despite your clear expression of the need for "a new government" in
Baghdad, Secretary of Defense Cohen has stated that you were "not
calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein". Earlier, General Anthony
Zinni, the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM),
reportedly stated that "I donít see the parts [of the Iraq Liberation
Act] that make it sensible," adding that he sees no "viable" Iraqi
- LOTT-IRAQ Voice of America 16 December 1998 --
IN WHAT IS BELIEVED TO BE AN UNPRECEDENTED ACTION, U-S SENATE MAJORITY (REPUBLICAN) LEADER TRENT LOTT ANNOUNCED HE WOULD NOT SUPPORT AMERICAN MILITARY STRIKES ON IRAQ - IN PART, HE SAYS, BECAUSE THE TIMING IS SUSPECT. AN UNUSUAL, SHARPLY WORDED STATEMENT, IS SKEPTICAL OF WHITE HOUSE ASSURANCES THE ACTION IS NOT AN ATTEMPT TO DELAY THE PENDING IMPEACHMENT VOTE.
- TEXT: HELMS SAYS SADDAM "LEFT THE U.S. NO CHOICE BUT TO STRIKE" 16 December 1998 -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (Republican-North Carolina) said December 16 he is "convinced that Saddam Hussein has left the United States with no choice but to strike Iraq."
- CONGRESS-IRAQ Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE PREPARING FOR AN IMPEACHMENT VOTE WHILE TENSIONS WITH IRAQ RISE. IF MILITARY ACTION OCCURS, THE HOUSE
REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WILL FACE A DILEMMA OF DEBATING CHARGES IN THE CLINTON SEX SCANDAL WHILE THE PRESIDENT IS DIRECTING U-S TROOPS.
- CONGRESS / IMPEACHMENT Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- THE U-S HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS MEETING THURSDAY. BUT MEMBERS WILL NOT BE DEBATING IMPEACHMENT CHARGES AGAINST PRESIDENT CLINTON. THEY WILL BE SHOWING THEIR SUPPORT FOR U-S TROOPS INVOLVED IN MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ.
- CONGRESS/IRAQ/IMPEACHMENT WRAP Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- THE U-S ATTACK ON IRAQ HAS PUSHED BACK THE LOOMING VOTE IN THE HOUSE (OF REPRESENTATIVES) ON IMPEACHING PRESIDENT CLINTON (FOR THE MONICA LEWINSKY AFFAIR).
- Statement of Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon to members of the Security Council of the United Nations during its meeting of December 16, 1998 regarding the ongoing aggression of the U.S. and the U.K. against Iraq:
- SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS TO DISCUSS MILITARY STRIKES AGAINST IRAQ; SOME MEMBERS CHALLENGE USE OF FORCE WITHOUT COUNCIL CONSENT 16 December 1998 Press Release
SC/6611 -- Iraq Contends International Law Flouted; United States, United Kingdom Say Diplomacy Exhausted after Repeated Blocking of Weapons Inspections. Security Council members, meeting this evening to consider military strikes against Iraq today by the United States and the United Kingdom, held divided views on the use of force without Council consent.
- SECRETARY-GENERAL DEEPLY REGRETS THAT UNITED NATIONS EFFORTS TO SEEK PEACE IN IRAQ HAVE PROVED INSUFFICIENT 16 December 1998 Press Release SG/SM/6841 IK/265 -- Stresses Acute Need for Humanitarian Relief and Healing Diplomacy In Iraq and Wider Region Will Continue, Says UN Will Be Ready to Play its Part
- DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OF OFFICE OF SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL 16 December 1998 --
Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, opened today's noon briefing by reporting that late yesterday afternoon the Secretary-General had received a report from the Executive Director
of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), Richard Butler, concerning the disarmament work of the Commission in Iraq.
- TEMPORARY RELOCATION OF IAEA PERSONNEL FROM IRAQ TO BAHRAIN 16 December 1998 Press Release
IAEA/1330 IK/263 VIENNA, 16 December (IAEA) -- The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, has decided to temporarily relocate to Bahrain all IAEA
personnel currently in Baghdad.
- SECRETARY-GENERAL'S ADVISORY ON UNITED NATIONS PERSONNEL IN IRAQ 16 December 1998 Press Release SG/SM/6842 IK/266 -- This afternoon and evening (Baghdad time), 73 United Nations personnel left Baghdad, seven by the
scheduled United Nations flight to Larnaca and 66 by road for Amman, Jordan. There are 133 international and 578 national staff remaining on duty in Baghdad, and another 232 international and 880 national staff in the three northern governorates of Dahuk, Erbil and
- IRAQ / U-N EVACUATION Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- REPORTS FROM IRAQ SAY UNITED NATIONS STAFF MEMBERS ARE PREPARING TO EVACUATE THE COUNTRY. THE DEVELOPMENT FOLLOWS A REPORT BY CHIEF U-N WEAPONS INSPECTOR RICHARD BUTLER TUESDAY SAYING THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT HAS NOT BEEN COOPERATING
FULLY WITH THE INSPECTIONS PROGRAM.
- U-N / IRAQ Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- THE U-N SECURITY COUNCIL HELD TALKS ON IRAQ TODAY (WEDNESDAY) AND WILL CONTINUE MEETING ON THE ISSUE DURING THE NEXT FEW HOURS.
- TEXT: PRIME MINISTER TONY BLAIR ON IRAQ STRIKE 16 December 1998 -- Moments after authorizing deployment of UK forces against Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Richard Butler's report on Iraq's lack of compliance with UN weapons inspectors left "no realistic alternative to military force."
- RUSSIA / IRAQ Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- RUSSIA IS CALLING FOR AN EMERGENCY U-N SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON IRAQ. FOREIGN MINISTER IGOR IVANOV (WEDNESDAY) ACCUSED CHIEF U-N WEAPONS INSPECTOR RICHARD BUTLER OF "GROSSLY EXCEEDING" HIS AUTHORITY IN IRAQ.
- IRAQ / U-N INSPECTORS Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- IRAQI PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN HAS MET WITH THE RULING REVOLUTIONARY COMMAND COUNCIL TO DISCUSS THE SUDDEN DEPARTURE OF U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS EARLIER IN THE DAY.
- IRAQ / BRITAIN Voice of America 16 December 1998 -- BRITAIN IS TAKING THE U-N INSPECTORS' REPORT VERY SERIOUSLY ABOUT IRAQ'S LACK OF COOPERATION. AFTER THE LAST CONFRONTATION, BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES SAID THEY WOULD CARRY OUT AIR STRIKES WITH NO MORE WARNINGS TO SADDAM HUSSEIN.
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Updated Thursday, December 17, 1998 7:33:02 AM