The U.S. Navy is getting nervous about current plans for an invasion of Iraq. If there are not enough air bases available for the operation, more carriers will have to be sent into the Persian Gulf. If none of our NATO allies participate, we won't have as much mine clearing capability (NATO has always had more mine warfare ships than the United States). If Iraq has smuggled in some modern anti-ship missiles we don't know about, plus modern naval mines, things could get ugly. On the positive side, the Persian Gulf is so shallow that if an American carrier were sunk, in most places it would settle on the bottom with portions of the upperworks still above water. At the same time, a nuclear powered carrier in a situation like that would make for a unique navigation hazard in one of the busiest sea lanes in the world.