Friday, April 4
Saddam rallies Iraqis on TV
BBC News, April 4, 2003, 22:04 GMT

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has made two dramatic appearances on state television just hours after US forces seized Baghdad's main airport.

Saddam Hussein has been elusive since the start of the war
The TV said scenes showing the president being mobbed by cheering crowds and at one point hugging a baby took place in Baghdad on Friday.

If confirmed, this would be the Iraqi leader's first public appearance since the war started on 20 March.

Although some US officials have suggested the man may have been a double of the Iraqi leader, the BBC's Paul Wood says a group of Iraqis who watched the broadcast with him were convinced they were seeing their president.

Earlier in a televised speech, Saddam Hussein urged fellow Iraqis to repel coalition forces around Baghdad and "hit them hard".

It was not clear when or where the speech was recorded. But US intelligence officials said a reference to an Apache helicopter shot down by an Iraqi farmer suggested that it was made after the air strike which targeted him and his sons on the first night of the war.

The Iraqi leader also mentioned US military gains around the capital and other cities, saying the invading forces had "by-passed Iraq's defensive lines."

BBC Middle East analyst Roger Hardy said there seemed to be two aims to Saddam Hussein's address: To show the world he is still alive and still in charge, and to mobilise the people of Baghdad for the tough fight that lies ahead.

But the US Defence Department played down the new recordings, with spokeswoman Victoria Clarke insisting "we haven't seen him publicly." [...]

Uggabugga, April 02, 2003


From , USA Today's story, by Judy Keen --Strain of Iraq war showing on Bush, those who know him say.
He's said to be 'burdened,' tense, angry at media, second-guessers we read:

# People who know Bush well say the strain of war is palpable. He rarely jokes with staffers these days and occasionally startles them with sarcastic putdowns. He's being hard on himself; he gave up sweets just before the war began.

# He's a supervisor who manages the competing views and egos of top advisers.

# News coverage of the war often irritates him. He's infuriated by reporters and retired generals who publicly question the tactics of the war plan. Bush let senior Pentagon officials know that he was peeved when Lt. Gen. William Wallace, the Army's senior ground commander in Iraq, said last week that guerrilla fighting, Iraqi resistance and sandstorms have made a longer war more likely.

# Bush believes he was called by God to lead the nation at this time, says Commerce Secretary Don Evans, a close friend who talks with Bush every day. His history degree from Yale makes him mindful of the importance of the moment.

# ... Bush doesn't keep a diary or other personal record of the events that will form his legacy. Aides take notes, but there's no stenographer in most meetings, nor are they videotaped or recorded.

# He is convinced that the Iraqi leader is literally insane and would gladly give terrorists weapons to use to launch another attack on the United States. The thought of another assault on the United States horrifies Bush. Aides say he believes history and heaven will judge him by his ability to prevent one.

# He and Rumsfeld spread out maps of the war zone in their meetings. Bush wants to know where U.S. troops are, where they're headed, what weapons are being used and how the enemy is faring.

# Bush advisers say he will revise the war plan if he becomes convinced that it's not working.

# On March 17, before he delivered a 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam, Bush summoned congressional leaders to the White House. They expected a detailed briefing, but the president told them he was notifying them only because he was legally required to do so and then left the room. They were taken aback, and some were annoyed.

# Bush copes with anxiety as he always has. He prays and exercises.

# Bush has imposed an almost military discipline on himself. Even though he's as lean as he was in college, he decided just before the war that he was unhappy with his running times, which were slowing from his preferred pace of 7.5 minutes or less per mile. So Bush gave up his one indulgence: sweets. It worked; he's losing weight and improving his time.

# When Bush doesn't find time to run three or four miles a day, he still works out. He uses an elliptical trainer, lifts weights and stretches. Exercising regularly, he says, gives him time to think, improves his energy and helps him sleep.
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