Air assault begins

loupaulsen at loupaulsen at
Fri Jan 31 17:38:00 MST 2003

Of course there has been 'air assault' on Iraq for 12 years now, and air
assault at a relatively high level since 1998, but now, in January, we have
moved into a new stage which you could call the pre-war war.

This AP story makes it clear that the pilots in the so-called "no-fly zones"
are going in with a list of targets in hand, and if Iraq does anything they
don't like, they get to bomb the whole list of targets.  Of course we have
only their word about what Iraq does.

The targets they are hitting have little or anything to do with 'self-
defense'.  Really they are just preparing the invasion.

"American bombers are hitting hard inside Iraq, getting a head start toward
disabling Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s defenses in the south, while
other U.S. forces are on the ground in the north preparing for war."

["hitting hard inside Iraq" - sounds like the war is well under way, no?]

"U.S. and British warplanes bombed three dozen sites in January, most
associated with air defense communications in the southeast. That's the route
invading U.S. ground troops probably would take if war should come." [..]

"We're kind of getting a head start," Lexington Institute military analyst
Loren Thompson said, speaking of the increasing airstrikes. "We're taking
advantage of the situation to reduce Iraqi defenses so we can use the full
weight of our air power when the war does come."

[A 'head start' - that is, they have begun the war before the official date
for beginning the war.]

"Officials say pilots in the U.S.-British coalition strike only in response to
Iraqi activity. Thus, increased bombings in recent months result from an
increase in such Iraqi actions as firings on coalition planes or flying Iraqi
planes into the zone, they say."

"Much of the increase in coalition strikes this month, however, owes to the
bombing by coalition pilots of as many as eight locations for a single Iraqi

"Pilots go out with lists of predetermined targets, parts of the air defense
system officers want destroyed. Last fall they would hit one or perhaps two
targets in response to Iraqi gunners. But of the 12 days in which coalition
pilots have bombed so far this month, half have seen pilots bombing three,
four, five or eight sites on the basis of one Iraqi move. "

"Most of the multiple sites targeted were cable repeater sites, stations built
at intervals along a fiber-optic cable network to strengthen signals passing
through the network."

"Defense officials also have said that pilots frequently have to go back and
strike the same areas because Iraqis constantly rebuild or replace what is

All of this activity is clearly aggressive war in violation of international
law including the UN charter.  But perhaps the UN has already gotten, as Colin
Powell warned it might, to the point of irrelevance.

Lou Paulsen

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