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Thursday, March 11, 2004 09:36 pm

Quick Takes 3-11-04

TIME FLIES

On March 17, 2003, President Bush delivered a 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein: Leave Iraq or allied forces will make you leave.

But there never was any question that the U.S. would attack.

Just days before the war began, administration sources told the New York Times that the U.S. and Britain would enter Iraq, whether or not Saddam left. Their mission, the newspaper reported: "To search for hidden caches of weapons of mass destruction and help stabilize the nation so that a new and more democratic regime could take over."

One year later, no weapons of mass destruction have been uncovered. And while Iraq inches toward a constitutional government, it does so amid instability and violence that have claimed more than 400 U.S. soldiers' lives since May 1, the day Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and declared "mission accomplished." (The war and occupation have claimed more than 3,700 U.S. casualties, including more than 3,160 wounded.)

In Springfield, two local events will commemorate the first anniversary of the second U.S. war on Iraq.

At 7 p.m. on Monday, March 15, the public is invited to see Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War in the Carnegie North Room of Lincoln Library at Seventh and Capitol. Discussion will follow.

And beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, a twilight candlelight vigil, sponsored the Iraq Peace Coalition, will be held on the Capitol steps at Second and Monroe. Candles will be provided.

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