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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: April 2013

2 - Us versus Them


On Monday, March 10, 2003, Dan Rather appeared at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News. Just as he had on so many nights that winter, the veteran newsman led the broadcast with a package about what the network was billing as the “Showdown with Saddam.”

“President Bush spent much of this day on the phone,” Rather intoned, “trying to line up support for a new UN Security Council resolution that would, in effect, authorize war against Iraq if Saddam Hussein does not disarm by next Monday.”

Bush was finding the road difficult. CBS reporter Bill Plante told viewers that the president had spent the day on a “series of urgent phone calls to world leaders, making the argument that if the UN fails to act in Iraq, it will be walking away from a moral imperative.” White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher amplified the theme, telling reporters that U.S. intervention would liberate the Iraqi people “from a cloak of brutal dictatorship that tortures, that kills.”