- The Bush administration plans to intensify airstrikes
in the southern and northern no-fly zones whether Iraq is shooting at U.S.
planes or not, sources tell ABCNEWS.
- As the United States approaches the possibility of war
with Iraq, military sources say there will be a major effort to cripple
Iraq's air defenses in both these zones and in the south, to take out surface-to-surface
missiles that pose a threat to American troops in Kuwait.
- Preparations for war appear to be nearly complete.
- Military sources say all the ships the Navy needs to
go to war are in the region ÷ nearly 100 of them, including five
aircraft carrier battle groups.
- In the next several weeks, the Air Force will fly in
the last 100 to 150 of its planes ÷ including B-2 stealth bombers
early next week. That will bring the total of American aircraft ÷
Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps ÷ to about 900.
- As for U.S. troops, there are now 210,000 in the region
from the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps. In the next two weeks,
50,000 more are expected.
- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked how long
this massive U.S. force could just sit there.
- "It is very clear that once you flow the forces
it's stressful to maintain them for a long period of time," Rumsfeld
said. "It is clearly preferable to be engaged in Iraq in the period
other than the summer."
- Temperatures begin climbing to summer levels in April.
- When and if the United States does go to war, military
sources say the United States is preparing a monster new weapon to be used
during the first nights.
- It's called MOAB, short for "massive ordnance air
burst" bomb. It is a modern, bigger version of the 15,000-pound "Daisy
Cutter" used in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and Afghanistan.
- Sources say MOAB ÷ still experimental ÷
is a 21,000-pound bomb that will be pushed out the back of a C-130 transport
and guided by satellite. Because it is not dropped by parachute, as was
the old Daisy Cutter, the aircraft can let it go from far higher altitudes,
making it safer for U.S. pilots.
- The MOAB's massive explosive punch, sources say, is similar
to a small nuclear weapon.
- It is intended to obliterate a command center hidden
in tunnels and bunkers or a concentration of Iraqi tanks.
- Whatever the target, it must be far from cities where
civilians might be hurt. But one important aspect of using this type of
weapon, sources say, will be psychological impact on enemy troops. It is
intended to terrorize Iraqi troops, drastically reducing their desire to
continue the fight.