Iraq: February 28, 2003

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  The US has sent B-2 bombers to previously prepared bases in the Indian ocean (Diego Garcia) and Britain. There are only 21 B-2 bombers in service, and the overseas shelters cannot accommodate more than a dozen bombers. 

The Iraqi government has told citizens that now is the time to go into the back yard and dig a trench to be used as a bomb shelter.

A sixth US aircraft carrier, the Nimitz, has been ordered to leave for the Persian Gulf (from San Diego) on March 3rd.

The first group of fifty Iraqi exiles graduated from the three week training course that prepares them to be guides, translators and negotiators for American combat units inside Iraq. Another class has begun. The first class consisted primarily of Iraqis who had settled in the United States.

The US has activated another 16,000 reservists, bringing the total to 168,000 reserve and national guard troops on active surface. During the 1991 Gulf War, 265,000 reservists were activated.

Journalists who are to operate with specific units in the event of a war have been advised to join their assigned units.

The debate over military action against Iraq continues in the UN. But this is not expected to have any impact on how and when the US invasion is conducted. When the two American divisions are in place in western Turkey, the invasion could being. But it's more likely that what is really driving the timing of the invasion are the negotiations with key people in the Iraqi government. The military operations are being set up as a fast and furious bombing and ground offensive. An operation like this will work better if most of the Iraqi army units decide to sit out the war, and senior members of Saddam's government switch sides. To encourage this, the US has drawn up a lost of 2,000 senior Iraqi officials, noting which ones you can make deals with and which ones must be arrested as war criminals (although deals will probably be made with these as well if it will save American lives.). 

 

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