U.S. begins invasion of Iraq, attempts to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein: We go live to Baghdad to speak with Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness and hear President Bush and Hussein; Hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest war just hours after the U.S. attack: We go to Sydney, London and Washington; Talk-back to war: Listeners tell us what they re doing in this time of war; June Jordan, an anti-war voice of the past from the Pacifica Archives
8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: At around 9:30 Eastern Standard Time last night, the U.S. military began an unprovoked attack on Iraq. Air raid sirens sounded throughout Baghdad just before the sun rose. Anti-aircraft fire filled the sky and explosions shook the city. Pentagon officials said over 30 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from warships. Two Stealth bombers each dropped two one-ton bombs. It s not clear what has been hit or the extent of the casualties. The Iraqi News Agency has just reported there are fourteen injured and one dead. The US military says Iraq responded by firing three missiles into northern Kuwait. The attack was not the beginning of the expected massive Shock and Awe campaign. Instead, it was a targeted strike on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his sons. The Pentagon and the White House evidently had not intended to start the war this way. Around 4 pm yesterday, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, CIA director George Tenet, War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers and national security advisor Condoleeza Rice met for nearly four hours. The Washington Post is reporting CIA director George Tenet offered President Bush the prospect -- improbable to the point of fantasy, yet somehow at hand -- that the war against Iraq might be transformed with its opening shots. Tenet said the CIA believed Saddam Hussein and the most senior levels of the Iraqi leadership had fallen under U.S. surveillance. The unforeseen glimpse of the enemy was not expected to last, and so presented what one administration official called a rare target of opportunity." The Washington Post reports Bush and his senior advisers tore up the carefully orchestrated schedule of violence that the U.S. Central Command had honed for months. They decided to attempt to assassinate Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and much of the Iraqi leadership in a single blow. We begin this broadcast of the War and Peace Report with special guest co-host Jeremy Scahill by listening to President Bush s addressed to the nation broadcast live at 10:15 EST last night. Tape: President Bush, announcing the US invasion of Iraq has begun, 10:15 EST, March 19, 2003 It s not clear whether the assassination attempt was successful Three hours after the attack began, Iraqi state television broadcast what it said was a live address by President Hussein. Tape: Iraqi state television s broadcast of what it says is Saddam Hussein, March 20, 2003 U.S. analysts are not yet sure whether that was in fact Saddam Hussein, or whether he was speaking live after the attack. Saddam Hussein has several body doubles. The glasses he wore looked nothing like the ones he normally wears. The address did not specifically address the missile attacks. The Arab TV network Al-Jazeera reported that as the attack began, US propaganda messages were broadcast on Iraqi airwaves, saying QUOTE: "This is the day you have been waiting for." Guest: Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices in the Wilderness speaking live from Baghdad 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:30 cont d 8:30- 8:40: More than 500 communities throughout the US are organizing protests for today. Activists are calling for nationwide walkouts, strikes and protests. Yesterday, dozens of people were arrested in Washington while staging anti war protests in the nation s capitol. Over 200 demonstrators marched from a park near the white house to war secretary Donad Rumsfelld s house in northwest Washington. In Boston, police arrested 36 people in two anti-war protests at a federal building and outside the Boston Stock Exchange During a midday march to the United Nations in New York, 45 anti-war demonstrators were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct. And Reuters reports that a wave of anti-war protests rolled across Europe and the Middle East after the opening salvos of the war against Iraq. Barely three hours after the first U.S. missiles struck Baghdad, a crowd that organizers put at 40,000 and which police said numbered "tens of thousands" brought Australia's second largest city, Melbourne, to a standstill. In Germany, 50,000 school students marched in Berlin. In Britain, activists are calling on workers to stage a mass walkout from offices and colleges around the country. Tape: Bruce Childs, protest organizer in Sydney Australia Tape: Matt Bradley, WPFW reporter speaking from Washington where protesters blocked a main bridge 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:50 PROTESTS CONTD Tape: Andrew Burgin, organizer with the British group Stop the War speaking from a London demonstration Guest: Jenn Carr, organizer with United for Peace and Justice 8:50-8:56: We turn now to you, the listeners. This is what some of you had to say about what you're doing in this time of war. Tape: Talk-back to war, recorded the week of 3/17/03. 8:56-8:58: On this first day of war we go back to the Pacifica Archives to hear June Jordan, poet, activist, essayist, teacher. June Jordan is the most published African-American writer in history. She burst onto the literary and political scene in the late 1960s, on the wings of the civil rights and anti-war movements. Poetry for her was a political act, and she used it to shine a fierce light on racism, sexism, homophobia, apartheid, poverty, and US foreign policy. Author Toni Morrison once summed up her career as: "Forty years of tireless activism coupled with and fueled by flawless art." Tape: June Jordan, recording from the Pacifica Radio Archives 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.