President Bush said a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Iraq after Jan. 15 would send a “deadly serious” warning to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Bush’s warning came just before the Security Council approved the resolution, 12 to 2, with one abstention.
In Italy, an unofficial delegation of Italian pacifists returned with 68 hostages and said that Hussein is “ready to dialogue” with anyone. The delegation urged the Italian government to negotiate the return of other hostages.
A French poll showed that 57% of the French people oppose their country’s participation in a Persian Gulf war. Military Front:
The Pentagon said more than 240,000 U.S. military personnel are now in the gulf region--or 10,000 more than announced earlier this month. Defense officials have said as many as 400,000 U.S. troops could be in the region by the end of January.
Hussein, meanwhile, said he is not afraid of fighting the United States and warned that he has the technology to shoot down Stealth aircraft. Political Front:
Senate Republicans increased calls for a special congressional session on the gulf crisis, but a White House spokesman said Bush is “reluctant.” Bush meets with congressional leaders today, and Republicans are expected to push for the session.
At hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, former Navy Secretary James H. Webb said that if Bush is serious about attacking Iraq, he should seek to resume the draft and get a declaration of war from Congress. Projected non-Arab troop deployments in the gulf:
United States: 430,000