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thedrifter
03-19-03, 08:22 AM
Tuesday, March 18, 2003


Marines applaud Bush's ultimatum

Soldiers in Kuwait prepare themselves for countdown to war

By John Bebow / The Detroit News

NORTHERN KUWAIT -- Some 100 Marines at Camp Tarawa, one of many U.S. military installations here, rose shortly before 4 a.m. Kuwait time Monday to watch President Bush deliver his ultimatum to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on a big-screen TV in their mess hall.

They reacted stoically to nearly every sentence of the historic speech, a few of them erupting in applause only once -- when the president ordered Saddam and his sons out of Iraq within 48 hours.

"This is what I enlisted for, it's what I believe in," said Lance Cpl. Elisel Perez, 24, from Temecula, Calif. "I don't know what took so long."

Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, sailors said they had mixed feelings about the prospects of going to war but were solidly behind the president.

At Camp Tarawa, Lance Cpl. Moises Luiz, 21, of Oakland, Calif., confidently predicted the war will be over in no more than a month. "Let the bodies hit the floor," he said.

Others were clearly shaken by the reality of their final countdown to war in the desert.

The middle-of-the-night event drew Marines of all races and ranks. The historical significance of Bush's casting off of the 20th century policy of containing regimes deemed dangerous to U.S. interests stuck with some of the most veteran Marines.

"We're switching to the pre-emption doctrine" of eliminating a threat, said Lt. Col. Bruce White, a 1983 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and one of the top U.S. military attorneys in Kuwait. "It's a good policy and one that is well-founded in international law."

Detroit News Staff Writer Francis X. Donnelly contributed to this report.



Sempers,

Roger