We’re Loaded For Bear

United Press International: U.S. forces girding for short, furious war
A short, furious war is exactly what’s needed. It’s really amazing the force we’ve amassed for Iraq. Some details are spelled out below.

Around a dozen Tomahawk cruise missile-capable ships and submarines have moved from the Mediterranean Sea into the Red Sea and are poised to unleash their satellite-guided weapons on Baghdad, Pentagon officials confirmed Monday.

A small number of U.S. special forces are in northern Iraq, to track down Iraqi Scud missiles and chemical and biological weapons. Around 3,000 are based in Jordan pending the start of the war.

Five aircraft carriers and dozens of ships are in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, ready to launch a furious but short air strike with precision munitions to provoke “shock and awe” in the Iraqi army, and cause mass defections.

“We’re locked and loaded,” a senior defense official said Monday.

The coming war will be very different from the Operation Desert Storm of 1991, when the goal was to repel Iraqi troops from its neighbor Kuwait.

It did so with 38 days of air strikes with 126,645 combat sorties, during which satellite-guided Tomahawks made their combat debut. It also saw the first use of laser-guided bombs. In all, the coalition dropped 96,000 tons of ordnance. The United States was responsible for 7,500 tons of it. More than 300 tons of the ordnance involved depleted uranium munitions, used to pierce heavy armor.

The war is expected to start with just over three days to a week of air strikes and missile launches, during which as many as 3,000 bombs and missiles will be fired, many of them at air defense sites around Baghdad. Others will target suspected chemical and biological weapons sites, surface-to-air missiles sites, communications facilities and military headquarters, including presidential palaces.

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