Day 29 Wednesday, February 13, 1991
Saddam Hussein scored a propaganda coup when an F-117 Stealth bomber dropped a two-thousand pound smart bomb on what the U.S. called a "command bunker" in Baghdad. CNN cameramen, along with many other journalists, brought out photos of hundreds of dead civilians who were using the facility as a bomb shelter.
U.S. officials, citing intelligence information obtained from the builders of the bunker, stated the building was once a civil defense structure, but was later modified for use as a command center. The roof was reinforced, the communications equipment was specially designed to withstand a nuclear attack, and there were several military vehicles present at the scene. U.S. commanders acknowledged that they did not desire additional civilian casualties, but that in war, it was likely to happen. CNN reported casualties of about 200 the Iraqi government claimed 500 The United States and other coalition members blame Saddam Hussein for placing civilians in a military target.
The United States also claimed that the hotel where of the Western journalists were staying was also a major military communication facility, but that the United States would not be targeting it or bridges in Baghdad. To date, four of the six bridges in Baghdad had been destroyed and the United States did not want to cause further civilian casualties by attacking the other two.
At a press conference, Secretary Cheney pointed out that the Iraqis have begun to place military equipment in residential and historic places because of the U.S. policy of not bombing these areas. Cheney mentioned that two MiG-21 fighters had been positioned near a pyramid in the city of Ur, a valuable archeological city. Lt. General Thomas Kelly, one of the Pentagon's chief briefers, said somewhere between 50 and 100Iraqi fighters have been repositioned in residential neighborhoods.
The Soviet special envoy to Iraq, Yevgeny Primakov, was quoted as saying there is a "cause for hope" for a negotiated end to the war. Soviet spokesmen refused to go into detail, except to add that Tariq Aziz would be coming to Moscow for further discussions.
At the United Nations, a special session of the Security Council was demanded by the Yemenese and several other North African nations to discuss the bombing of the Baghdad shelter. The United States and its coalition allies on the Security Council were successful in having the meeting take place in private, out of the eye of television cameras and the media. The session is scheduled to take place on Thursday.
Day 30 Thursday, February 14, 1991
The United States raised the estimate of Iraqi armor destroyed, bringing the number closer to the 50% level desired by some commanders as the minimum required for the initiation of a ground offensive. To date, 1,300tanks, 1,100artillery pieces, and 800armored personnel carriers have been destroyed, approximately 30% of Saddam Hussein's fighting force.
The closed session of the U.N. Security Council began today to discuss the bombing of the Baghdad bunker. Many smaller countries, in opposition to the secretiveness of the hearing, opted not to speak in protest, but the case was made that the Allies were not being careful in their selection of targets.
In Washington, President Bush said U.S. bombing policy would not change "one iota," but officials in the Pentagon said more attention would be paid to targets that might have a mix-use. The United States concluded that the bunker was a military target, and considers its investigation into the matter closed.
Day 31 Friday, February 15, 1991
In preparation for a ground offensive, U.S. Marine units were reported to be heading toward the front in great numbers. Although the President has put a ground offensive on hold for the time being, General Schwartzkopf headed to the front today to confer with senior Marine officials on the plan of attack once the ground war begins. The Marines were followed by convoys of supplies and other equipment necessary to sustain offensive operations.
Also, unknown to the public, a major redeployment was well underway inside the KTO on Friday. With a ground war imminent, Schwartzkopf began a massive logistical effort to move forces west to the Saudi/Iraqi border. Prior to this time, these forces had been all aligned in Kuwait, but, in what was later called the "Hail Mary play," Schwartzkopf moved U.S. forces so that they could outflank their Iraqi defenders in a ground war.
In the air, the allied attacks continued at the same pace with the total number of sorties nearing 73,00. Officials in Saudi Arabia acknowledge that the planes have begun to use a bomb called a fuel-air explosives. This bomb creates a fine mist of fuel and then ignites the "cloud" causing a tremendous fireball and a powerful concussion. By using these explosives over vast areas of the desert, allied forces are able to clear a path through enemy minefields in preparation for ground operations.
In a statement read on Baghdad radio, the Iraqi Revolutionary Council announced that Iraq would withdraw from Kuwait, thus complying with one of the demands of the United Nations. The initial reaction around the world was that of jubilation, with citizens in Iraq dancing in the streets and firing weapons into the air in celebration. Unfortunately, upon further review of the translation of the statement, the hopes of many were dashed as it was discovered the offer contained many preconditions.
The Revolutionary Council issued an incredible list of things that had to be met before the withdrawal could take place. Included among these demands were:
- 1) an immediate cease-fire.
- 2) an Israeli pullout of occupied territories.
- 3) removal of all allied forces from the KTO.
- 4) payment of reparations to Iraq for war damage.
In a speech a few hours after the Iraqi statement, President Bush referred to the Iraqi proposal as a "cruel hoax." He announced that the "linkage" to the other problems in the Gulf, along with some of the extreme conditions made the entire package unacceptable to the allied forces. Opposition to the Iraqi plan was also expressed in the capitols of coalition countries, with each condemning Iraq for raising hopes and then dashing them. However, in the Soviet Union, Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh welcomed the Iraqi proposal and called it "encouraging." The Soviets are planning a major negotiating session with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz on Sunday and many analysts saw the Soviet's comments as an attempt not to poison the upcoming talks.
President Bush traveled to Andover, Massachusetts to meet with a crowd of workers at the Raytheon Company. Raytheon developed the Patriot missile and its workers have been working overtime to ensure a steady supply of the anti-SCUD weapon to the forces in the Gulf. The President used this rousing reception to call on the Iraqi people to end the war by rising up and overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Apparently, the administration was buoyed by the scenes of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad celebrating what many believed to be the end of the war.
Day 32 Saturday, February 16, 1991
The Coalition forces continued operations Saturday with little change from in mission structure. Two SCUD missiles were launched toward Saudi Arabia, one being intercepted and the other allowed to land in a deserted part of Saudi Arabia. Two allied planes were shot down in Northern Kuwait, raising the total combat losses of U.S. planes up to 20.
The Soviet Union joined the allies on Saturday in rejecting the conditions put forward in Friday's peace plan. The Soviets were initially guarded in their comments about the statement released by the Iraqi Revolutionary Council, but closed ranks with the United States and the allies in assuring their support for the full implementation of the United Nation's resolutions. The situation inside the Soviet Union is being watched by many analysts who feel the right-wing military leaders may use the imminent Iraqi defeat to drive Gorbachev from power.
Day 33 Sunday, February 17, 1991
Speculation intensified today about an imminent ground war when reports came from the front of "aggressive patrols" being launched by U.S. and allied forces into Kuwait. American commanders were sending in small units, supported by artillery, Navy ships, and air cover to seek out weaknesses in the Iraqi lines and destroy any units discovered. All in all, there were seven clashes between allied and enemy forces on the Saudi-Kuwait border. Two American soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division were killed when their armoured personnel carrier was hit by an American Hellfire missile, fired by an American Apache helicopter. This latest case of friendly fire resulted in the dismissal of an American commander several days later.
Although the anti-war movement has suffered a lack of inertia, there are still isolated cases of American expressing opposition to the fighting. In Kennebunkport, Maine, where President Bush was enjoying a weekend church service, a protester interrupted services to speak out against the bombing. John Schuchardt, who has a long history of civil disobedience, was escorted out of the church by Secret Service and taken away by Kennebunkport police.
Day 33 Monday, February 19, 1991
One of the greatest concerns to allied Naval forces is the threat of Iraqi mines strewn throughout the Persian Gulf. On Monday, two U.S. warships struck mines, damaging both and forcing one to be taken out of action. The U.S.S. Tripoli, a helicopter assault ship, which ironically was the flagship for anti-mine operations, hit a mine and suffered a 16 by 20 foot hole in her hull. Four of her crew were injured, but none were serious. Damage control efforts were successful and the ship was stabilized.
An hour later, another vessel, the U.S.S. Princeton, an AEGIS cruiser, set off an influence mine, damaging her propellers and causing a considerable crack in her main deck. The influence mine did not cause a hole, but the damage was so serious the ship had to be towed out of the area and was considered out of action. To date, some 80 mines have been destroyed by allied forces, but Navy commander said the area where these two ships were hit appears to be more heavily mined than expected.
On the ground, U.S. forces continued border skirmishes, hoping to engage them and Iraqi forces and then call in air and naval gunfire to destroy them. Also reported today was battlefield preparation with allied bulldozers tearing down sand walls called berms that Iraq had constructed as a first line of defense. Gaping holes are being carved in the berm which will be used by advancing tanks into Kuwait.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz left the Soviet Union today with a new peace proposal in hand. The plan, details of which were not released, was later revealed to call for a conditional withdrawal over a period of several days and the elimination of U.N. sanctions. The Bush administration refused to talk about the specifics of the proposal, but indicated it offered nothing new. Aziz left Moscow to relay the proposal to Saddam Hussein. Domestic--
Tragedy struck the anti-war movement when a protester died in Amherst, Mass. The man, carrying a peace sign, doused himself in flammable liquid and ignited himself. The protester was later identified as Gregory Levy, 30, the son of two Boston Globe columnists.
Day 34 Tuesday, February 19, 1991
Throughout the war, General Norman Schwarzkopf has been uneasy commenting on Iraqi losses in Kuwait. For one, he did not want to give the Iraqis a clear picture of how much damage was being inflicted upon their forces and informs them of the capabilities of allied intelligence. Secondly, Gen. Schwarzkopf said early on that he did not want to get involved in body counts as his superiors did in Vietnam. Thus it came as a surprise to many when he made comments to the Los Angeles Times saying Iraq's army was of the verge of collapse.
Schwartzkopf claimed that allied forces were destroying upwards of 100Iraqi tanks per day and that many of their troops were on the verge of deserting. He cautioned his statements, not wanting to appear overly optimistic as his predecessors did in Vietnam, but there was little hiding the fact that early beliefs that the Iraqi military was a strong and competent fighting force were probably in error.
Commenting for the first time on the Gorbachev proposal, President Bush said it "falls well short." Many looked at the plan as a last-ditch attempt by the Soviets to reestablish themselves as a player in Middle Eastern politics. Although the details of the plan were not released, it appears that the United States no longer desired a negotiated end to the war, ready to settle the matter on the battlefield.
Week Five Report
- Sorties to date:
- Total U.S. Aircraft Losses to date (combat):
- Total Allied Aircraft Losses to date (combat):
- Total U.S. Casualties to date:
- 16 Killed in Action, 29 Missing in Action, 8 Prisoners of War
- Iraqi Aircraft destroyed:
- Iraqi Aircraft in Iran:
- Iraqis Held as P.O.W.'s:
- SCUD's launched to date:
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