February 18, 2003


Has War Begun?: U.S. Teams Already Attempting to Undermine Iraq's Military Strength (John McWethy, Feb. 17, 2003, ABC News)
U.S. warplanes are bombing Iraqi air defenses almost every day. Other aircraft are dropping millions of leaflets all over Iraq warning people things are about to change.

Small numbers of CIA and U.S. military operatives are secretly working inside Iraq.

American commando teams have been operating in Iraq's western desert, where the United States believes Saddam Hussein has hidden Scud missiles capable of hitting Israel or Jordan with nerve gas, sources told ABCNEWS.

These teams are dropped by helicopter in darkness. They stay for one to two days in order to hunt for missiles, scout for future bases and plant surveillance equipment.

Other teams, operating more openly, have set up small bases in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. They are working with tribal leaders, assessing their willingness and ability to fight.

The United States is also conducting a major psychological operation. The most secret part is aimed at Iraq's top military commanders.

The United States is sending e-mails to the commanders' private accounts, calling them on private cell phones, urging them to consider overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

At a minimum, it's intended to rattle them.

"Let them know that we can reach out and touch them personally," said Michael Vickers, a former special forces officer. "We know who they are. Let them know that we are watching their behavior."

And this is stuff even the Networks know... Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2003 8:57 PM

I thought the President was backing down and throwing away his chances at re-election. Surely all of these things can't be true!

Posted by: Kevin Whited at February 19, 2003 12:00 AM

Kevin - I know you're being sarcastic - right? - but it is amusing how many people asume that because the NYT doesn't print stories like this, it isn't "real". Oh. I get tired of arguing the point, after awhile.

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at February 19, 2003 9:05 AM

Yeah, I was being sarcastic, but I should have added *sarcasm* for good measure. These days, it can be mighty difficult to tell! :)

Posted by: Kevin Whited at February 20, 2003 11:57 AM