Skip to comments.US Could Be Ready for War in Iraq This Year
Posted on 10/10/2002 8:23:39 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
US Could Be Ready for War in Iraq This Year
Thu Oct 10,10:33 AM ET
By Charles Aldinger
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military could be prepared for war with Iraq as soon as December even though President Bush (news - web sites) has not decided whether to pull the trigger on Baghdad, according to U.S. officials and analysts.
Experts in and out of government said five U.S. aircraft carriers with 350 warplanes could be off Iraq before year's end if ordered and tens of thousands of troops could be sent much more quickly than the six-months build-up to the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites).
"We are not now on a war footing," stressed one of the U.S. officials, who asked not to be identified, in interviews with Reuters. "But this isn't 1991. We have tanks, lots of stuff in the region waiting for drivers and shooters."
"If there's a fight, winter would be better," a senior military officer said, referring to major discomfort that U.S. -- and perhaps British and other strike troops -- would suffer if forced to don bulky biological-chemical warfare protective suits in Iraq's summer desert heat.
A contrasting background of cold ground would also help heat-seeking missiles and bombs to find warm targets from anti-aircraft missile emplacements to tanks.
Even as the Bush administration presses the United Nations (news - web sites) and U.S. Congress to give strict disarmament deadlines to Baghdad, the White House and Pentagon (news - web sites) expect that President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), who Washington accuses of developing chemical, biological and nuclear arms, will trigger a war by eventually halting unfettered U.N. arms inspections.
While the Pentagon is counting on major military help from Britain and other European and Gulf allies, officials said U.S. military preparations had been accelerated since August, including plans to send up to three aircraft carriers from bases in California and Japan if ordered.
POWERFUL PUNCH FROM CARRIERS
They could join the carriers Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf and the George Washington, now in the Mediterranean. Five battle groups would include several dozen cruisers and destroyers armed with long-range cruise missiles.
The carrier jets would join nearly 300 U.S. aircraft already in the region at bases from Turkey to a British airfield on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
The U.S. officials confirmed a New York Times report that some elite Special Operations forces have been told to separate temporarily from the military and join up with clandestine CIA (news - web sites) paramilitary units for any early "shadow" campaign against Saddam and his top supporters.
British newspapers have reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites)'s government is ready to offer at least 20,000 troops and dozens of warplanes to the war effort. And the Jerusalem Post reported last week that Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer predicted an American attack on Iraq by late November.
While media reports of U.S. war plans have varied widely from the use of 50,000 to 200,000-plus troops, officials and private experts have said an invasion would lean heavily on air power and not require the massive U.S.-led assault of 500,000 troops used to drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait 11 years ago.
"You could start a reasonably good war in December by getting at least a couple of heavy divisions (about 40,000 troops) into the region," said former Assistant Defense Secretary Larry Korb, now with the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
"You could start bombing them and initially send troops in from the south and see what happened. That could be accelerated, but if the Iraqi military quickly collapses from air strikes, it's going to take about 100,000 troops to hold down the country," Korb added.
FINAL BUILD-UP HARD TO HIDE
He and other analysts stressed that any unscheduled movement of carriers could not be kept secret and would signal a final build-up.
Bush, they said, would also have to use emergency powers to call tens of thousands of part-time U.S. military reserve and National Guard troops to active duty ahead of any action.
There are 60,000 such "weekend warriors" on active duty from a major call-up for the war on terrorism declared after last year's attacks on America. But many more would be needed for tasks from fighting and refueling attack planes to providing intelligence and directing traffic.
The U.S. Central Command, which would oversee fighting in Iraq, openly reported last month that it would move 600 members of its key headquarters staff from Florida to Qatar near Iraq for an exercise in November and was considering making that shift permanent.
Central Command chief Army Gen. Tommy Franks will take part in what is scheduled to be a three-week deployment to modern Al Udeid Air Base near Doha in friendly Qatar for command post exercise "Internal Look."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has flatly refused to discuss any war plans and denounced detailed media reports on military options being studied by Bush to end Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs and perhaps oust Saddam.
But he suggested to reporters who traveled with him to a NATO (news - web sites) meeting in Warsaw last month that any invasion of Iraq would directly target Baghdad's "dictatorial, repressive" government while attempting to spare the Iraqi people.
The Washington Post reported that massive U.S. air strikes and simultaneous ground attacks could concentrate on "regime targets" such as Saddam's palaces, bodyguards, bunkers and hometown power center of Tikrit.
There are more than 250 U.S. attack jets based in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey and being used to patrol "no-fly" Zones over northern and southern Iraq. The Saudis have indicated that jets based on their territory could not be used for an invasion of Iraq unless it was fully supported by the United Nations.
But a large number of warplanes could be flown out of al Udeid in Qatar, and the United States is discussing with Britain permission to build shelters for bat-wing B-2 stealth bombers on Diego Garcia.
He HAS decided to launch war, and within the next few weeks. The American military ramp up that anyone can notice, in addition to 'training' in areas near Gulf, and other call ups, and the Senate and House votes, shows that we are in fact going to war. The worldwide press knows this as well.
|Thu Oct 10,11:28 AM ET|
The U.S. military could be prepared for war with Iraq as soon as December, according to U.S. officials and analysts. Experts in and out of government said five U.S. aircraft carriers with 350 warplanes could be off Iraq before year's end if ordered and tens of thousands of troops could be sent much more quickly than the six-months build-up to the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites). An F-16CJ patrols the Northern No-Fly Zone over Iraq in an undated photo. (Vincent A. Parker/USAF via Reuters)
And if they take in more than a couple divisions (which they should), that number could be as high as 100,000 reservists.
I thought that was a done deal!
Excuse? Try breach of 16 UN resolutions, or attempted assassination of G.H.W. Bush.
I know who the simpleton is. He signed up 28 Sep. 2002 on FR.
Stress on "former." It's going to be dangerous even if the enemy sits on their country estates and watches the parade go by. There are tons of chemicals and biologicals that would be hard to deal with and dispose of in the best of times.
So we're going to war for the UN, huh?
...or attempted assassination of G.H.W. Bush
According to Bill Clinton, that is.
Only they dont vote in the US elections or give money to U.S. candidates since Bill Clinton left office (at least not as often)
So.. who cares what they think? And who cares what you think besides Michael Moore, Barbie Streisand and Noam Chomsky??
What planet are you hopping your clods on?
Yesterday the house and senate passed what Bush asked for by better than a 2 to 1 margin. That to you is problems?
Bush continues to enjoy extremely favorable ratings. That to you is problems?
What does Israel have to do with the current agenda, by the UN and by the US for Iraq? Or for you, does Israel ALWAYS pop up as a principle subject?
Noting your signup date 28 Sep. 2002.
My guess is that he is going to eliminate every other conceivable option before mounting a so-called 'invasion'. There is a lot more here than meets the eye. In addition to trying to rally the world, there is a lot going on within Iraq and Iran covertly to attempt an overthrow using opposition groups and encouraging the military to revolt. That is why I don't think direct military action on our part is imminent.
Umm, in addition, there are also the small matters of shooting at US warplanes;
the desperate race to get a nuclear bomb or two, most likely for DC and Tel Aviv;
the murdering of thousands of Iraqis with chemical weapons;
the invasions of two neighboring nations for economic gain;
and the harboring, support, training, and coordination of terrorists (abu nidal, al-qaeda, hezbollah, etc)...
maybe you've heard of those? They made the news once or twice.
The truth is that the world is far safer without Saddam. We made the mistake of supporting this trained assassin and helping him gain more power and influence a few decades back. Now we're fixing that mistake. We are not going to go after EVERY dictator who kills his own people... but the ones that have been and continue to be a threat to their neighbors, the US, and to massive number of innocent civilians just might get on the list.
Actually, they DO vote in US elections. House Minoirty Leader Gephardt just offered amnesty to illegals if they vote in sufficient numbers to give the Dems a majority in the House.
Democrat Congressmen are encouraging massive law-breaking (by those who have already broken the law) for their own political benefit. How nice. Clod, you must be SO proud!
I'll be on my own doing what? I'm not going anywhere. I'm in pretty good physical shape but how many 40+ year-old non military women are going to Iraq?
All the things you state are just silly. You haven't learned a thing from the past, have you? What countries say publicly and what they do privately are often two completely different things.
Just keep underestimating Bush and his Administration. If the time comes for a war with Iraq (and, again, I'm not too sure that is going to happen) we will have plenty of support.
Europe is a stinkhole full of appeasers who didn't learn a frickin' thing from the past Century. As far as I'm concerned, they deserve whatever they get.
We'll see if you bed-wetting Euroweenies change your tune when your Parliament building takes a car bomb or hijacked plane. Maybe the heads will come out of the sand tehn, but probably not
Your bias toward the UN tells me what a 'simpleton' you are. The UN can't even enforce it's own resolutions, yet it thinks it should tell the US how and when she can defend herself.
As I have said many time, I'm not convinced there will be a war against Iraq. Bush is playing his hand masterfully. Watch and learn.
So we're going to war for the UN, huh?
No dufus, the 16 resolutions were passed in an attempt to protect innocents from terrorist murder. Those 16 resolutions have been breached, meaning the innocents aren't being protected... do you recall WTC I, WTC II, or any of the other world-wide terrorist attacks?
Perhaps you're one of the radicals who believe Iraq has nothing to do with terrorisism?
This is the correct assessment of the situation. You left out Afganistan. No one much knows what is really there. You also omitted Saudi Arabia. ditto as far as prepositioned equipment.
In a corner sulking and trying despertately to remove the blood stains of Vietnam dead from his hands and the constant stench of guilt for urging the war to be lost.
We will feign a posture of indecision and confusion, then strke Hussein and decapitate the regime. No way we will allow the UN to go on in this charade which has weakened this country of our for way too long. ALL BLUFFS WILL BE CALLED. I will be on this board when we are victorious, and you are not (on this board)
Britain is a breeding ground for Islamists. All of Europe is for that matter. Go ahead, see if you can appease them out of their fanatical views. Try to 'understand' their grievances. If we could all just get along! Ha!
As to my argument, if we're going to war to protect innocents, then I'll give it a fair hearing. If we're going to war to enforce UN dictates, then I'll reject it every time, "Principled". Simple as that.
It is bookmarked for posterity....
But inquest, you already asserted otherwise. Changing one's mind when convenient is what a spoiled child would do, eh?