Truckee residents wait for news on war with rest of world
As President Bush’s deadline for Saddam Hussein to surrender power passed unheeded Wednesday night, Truckee residents waited with the rest of the world for news of war.
“I’m hoping it’s a very quick operation and we accomplish our goal quickly and get all of our people to a more stable environment,” Truckee Police Chief Dan Boon said Wednesday evening. Boon served for 21 months during the Vietnam War.
Others, with family in the Middle East, expressed support for their loved ones and U.S. troops.
“War’s not great, but this is something that needs to happen,” said Cody Thornton, whose brother Michael is in Fort Hood in Texas waiting to be deployed. “I trust our president to do the right thing.”
Thornton, 17, a North Lake Tahoe resident, has been talking to Army recruiters and plans on enlisting when he finishes high school.
Some local residents hope to send care packages to their loved ones and friends stationed in the Middle East.
For veterans like Boon, it is difficult to gauge what troops will face in Iraq.
“The situation here is so much different than what it was in Vietnam,” Boon said. “We didn’t have the technology that they have today.”
Truckee residents – milling around downtown – were eager to talk about the looming deadline, which expired 4 a.m. Thursday in Baghdad.
Its population has shrunk in recent days by an exodus of thousands of fearful residents.
It was 8 p.m. in Washington, and Bush was at the White House, neither he nor aides giving any hint of the planned timing of the invasion.
Defiant to the end, Saddam showed no sign of accepting a public offer of exile from Bahrain, and his regime gave every appearance of digging in.
“We are dedicated to martyrdom in defense of Iraq under your leadership,” a loyal Iraqi parliament assured the Iraqi dictator, and armed members of the ruling Baath party deployed behind hundreds of sandbagged defensive positions in Baghdad.
Even so, 17 Iraqi soldiers surrendered to American GIs during the day, eager to give up before the shooting started.
Bush met periodically throughout the day with his top aides at the White House and sent formal notice to Congress that reliance on “further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone” would not suffice to counter “the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”
His spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said the nation “ought to be prepared for the loss” of American lives once the military effort begins to depose Saddam and recover weapons of mass destruction.