Countdown To War

Wednesday, March 19th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The deadline for Saddam Hussein is just about up.

Tonight is the deadline that President Bush gave Saddam to leave or face military action, so we may be a nation at war by the end of today.

And security here in the U-S is being stepped up for any possible terrorist attacks. Stacy Case files this report more from Washington.

Risking his presidency and his own life Saddam Hussein says he's not leaving Iraq.

Wearing a military uniform on Tuesday the dictator told his troops to prepare for battle.

Across the border, U.S. troops are in position waiting for the order from President Bush.

Ari Fleischer - White House Spokesman: "The bottom line is a coaliton of the willing will disarm Saddam Hussein's Iraq - no matter what"

That coalition of the willing consists of 45 countries, 15 which don't want to be named, and most of the 30 on the list won't have a combat role. Besides the U.S. - only Britain and Australia are offering significant troops for the offensive.

Here in the states, police are now on the defensive. From Times Square to the Golden Gate Bridge security is being stepped up and tightened.

One fear is retaliatory strikes by Iraqi sympathizers. The other possible attacks by Al-Qaida planned to coincide with a U.S. invasion on Iraq.

Cofer Black / US State Department: "They are extremely dangerous and they certainly have the capability to strike that's very important to appreciate however they're not the organization that they were and their trend is downward."

With war imminent protestors refuse to admit defeat. Poll numbers show two out of three Americans approve of war.

Peace activists say more will turn their way once the fighting begins.

The President's deadline is 8 pm tonight. But White House officials warn the invasion could start at anytime. Many in Washington expect it to begin Saturday night.