4,825. 3/19/2003

On March 19, 2003, President Bush “met with the NSC [National Security Council] in the Situation Room…Then a secure video link came up with [Central Command leader General Tommy] Franks [who was at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia] and nine of his senior commanders. It is likely the first time a president was going to speak directly with all of his field commanders on the eve of war. …the president said, ‘For the peace of the world and the benefit and freedom of the Iraqi people, I hereby give the order to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom. May God bless the troops.’ ”

 – Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, Pages 378-379

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