Top US general speaks on Iraq war plans

06 March 2003
Top US generals have been giving some indications of how they intend to ensure a short, clean war against Iraq, the New York Times reported on 4 March. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, told reporters that the action would be 'much, much different,' from the 1990-91 Gulf war. 'The best way [to keep war short] would be to have such a shock to the system that the Iraq regime would have to assume early on the end was inevitable,' he said. Other military officials elaborated, revealing that the war would begin with 3,000 precision-guided bombs and missiles being launched in the first 48 hours, followed swiftly be a ground invasion. Myers said that an attack would be mounted on two fronts despite the decision of the Turkish parliament not to allow US troops to deploy on its soil. The likely alternative is more limited operations out of Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

Washington and London plan to introduce a second resolution, essentially authorising the use of force to disarm Saddam Hussein, in the week following chief weapons inspector Hans Blix's report to the UN Security Council on 7 March. White House officials have said that they are unlikely to force a UN vote unless certain of receiving the necessary nine votes in favour. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on 4 March he was 'increasingly optimistic' about securing the requisite number of votes. A intense round of diplomacy is being conducted to secure the support of waverers, chief among them Pakistan, Chile, Mexico, Angola, Guinea and Cameroon. France, Germany and Russia have all restated their opposition to any resolution authorising war in recent days.

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