Quicker Iraq Air War Predicted

(Chicago Tribune) Stephen J. Hedges and Michael Martinez - Many of the pilots who would lead the bombing campaign have been patrolling the northern and southern no-fly zones and they know Iraqi skies. They know the workings of Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries, radar, and missile installations. "We've been here 12 years," said U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Fox, a fighter pilot and commander of the air wing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation in the Persian Gulf. "Anyone who is a tactical aviator in the Navy has had experience in flying over Iraq." However, Michael Russell Rip, a Michigan State University professor and a co-author of The Precision Revolution, cautions that the new generation of precision-guided weapons are not effective against mobile targets: "We tried to do this in Afghanistan: people tried to provide the coordinates of vehicles that were moving, but it was completely hopeless." Rip further warns: "They've figured out behaviorally where our weaknesses are. We don't target mosques, schools, hospitals, and that's where they're going to go. They'll use any human shield they can find. They could very easily blow up a mosque themselves, get Al Jazeera [Arab television] to show it on TV, and the Arab world will go ballistic."

2002-12-30 00:00:00

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