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Old 03-19-2003, 02:41 PM   #1
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War Has Started????

This is
LONDON
19/03/03 - War on Iraq section

The war has started
By Robert Fox, Defence Correspondent and David Taylor, Evening Standard

British and American troops were involved in fierce fighting near Iraq's main port today as the war to topple Saddam Hussein began.

The firefight broke out near Basra as men of the Special Boat Service targeted the strategically vital city and the oilfields in southern Iraq.

At the same time allied troops were flooding into the demilitarised zone on the Iraqi border with Kuwait 40 miles away to take up positions for an all-out invasion.

Cruise missiles were also loaded onto B52 bombers at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, a clear sign that the bombardment of Baghdad could be only hours away.

British troops taking up "forward battle positions" were ordered to switch off satellite phones and allied warplanes bombed targets in Iraq after coming under fire in the no-fly zone.

By lunchtime, allied forces were in position to strike from the moment the 48-hour deadline set by President Bush for Saddam to quit Iraq expires at 1am British time tomorrow. But the White House had refused to rule out a strike before that.

The fighting reported at Basra was believed to involve British special forces and US marines in an operation to prepare landing sites for amphibious craft during an invasion.

Other special units were deep inside Iraq on secret operations to prepare landing strips in the desert for airborne troops.

Basra, Iraq's only seaport, lies on the Shatt al Arab waterway where the Tigris and the Euphrates open into the northern Gulf.

Surrounded by treacherous sandbanks and marshes it is difficult to approach from the sea.

Artillery, infantry and the tanks of the 7th Armoured Brigade had already moved into Forming Up Positions, and some were already on the start line.

An attack could target Basra and proceed up alongside the Euphrates towards the strategic cities of Nasariya, Najaf and Karbala.

Tony Blair said he believed all MPs, irrespective of their views on the war, now wished British troops well.

"I know everyone in this House wishes our Armed Forces well," he said in the Commons.

A sandstorm whipped across northern Kuwait as the pace of preparations suddenly quickened Kuwaiti security sources disclosed that allied troops move into the demilitarised zone, which straddles the Iraq-Kuwait border, at around 11am local time, 8am UK time.

The source, working in the Umm Qasr area in the east of the zone, said: "American convoys are still driving towards Umm Qasr."

A US military spokesman said he could not confirm or deny that troops were inside the zone.

A British Army spokesman said only that soldiers had taken up " forward battle positions".

At Fairford, 14 giant American B52 bombers which will lead the fight against Saddam were loaded up with cruise missiles this morning.

The first flight of B52s were expected to take off two hours before sunset to give them enough flying time to identify their targets and drop their first devastating payload before heading for home.

The missiles were driven to the aircraft in five articulated lorries escorted by police at 10.30am.

Troops meticulously loaded the weapons - each costing around £1million - into the bomb bays by forklift truck.

With an estimated flight time of only six hours to Iraq the bombers are expected to play a huge part in the initial air bombardment. A single B52 can deliver a payload of more than 70,000lb at a range of 8,800 miles without being refuelled. They are likely to take up positions over the Mediterranean or the Red Sea to unleash cruise missiles or satelliteguided smart bombs. RAF Tornados, Harriers and Jaguars are also likely to be involved in the opening 48-hour offensive.

The Tornados will be given the specific task of taking out air defences and barracks round small missile batteries and air strips in the Iraqi desert.

This will enable the enemy positions to be quickly seized by airborne forces and turned into bases for the advancing allied armies.

The Harrier force of up to 20 planes has the job of supporting special forces, the SAS and Special Boat Service and American Rangers in the hunt for Scud missile sites and any artillery shells with chemical warheads. Intelligence suggests Saddam has given his generals personal authority to unleash the deadly weapons as a last desperate measure to hold the Allies off from attacking Baghdad.

The mainstay of the bombing attack will be the 750 American and British fighter bombers from Gulf bases and the six American aircraft carriers now at battle stations in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea.

The aircraft, including RAF Tornados and Harriers, F16s, F15s and F18 Hornets will work on a "taxi rank" basis, forming ranks in the air before being sent in on targets. Along with the B52s from Fairford, other longrange bombers include the almost mythical B2 Spirit bat-wing supersonic aircraft which will fly from bases on Diego Garcia. Also spearheading the attack will be B1B Lancer and F117 Stealth bombers.

Action began in the air today as warplanes from the USS Abraham Lincoln bombed Iraqi positions after coalition aircraft - including two RAF Harrier jets - were fired on by Iraqi forces.

"There were, yesterday, four firings against our aircraft flying in the southern no-fly zone," Rear Admiral John Kelly told reporters on board the Lincoln. He said US forces had responded by bombing "a series of targets" he described as "command and control" positions.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/w...5393?version=1
2003 Associated New Media
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Old 03-19-2003, 02:52 PM   #2
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it would make sense that they start a couple hours early. its not like saddam is going to give up now anyway.

with as much firepower as they have, this war will be over by the end of the week, dont you think?
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Old 03-19-2003, 02:52 PM   #3
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I don't know how you "officially" mark the beginning of the war, but the Iraqi's have begun surrendering.

17 Iraqi Soldiers Surrender
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Old 03-19-2003, 02:58 PM   #4
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lol, they began surrendering last week already.
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Old 03-19-2003, 03:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
By lunchtime, allied forces were in position to strike from the moment the 48-hour deadline set by President Bush for Saddam to quit Iraq expires at 1am British time tomorrow. But the White House had refused to rule out a strike before that.
This man has a hard time holding his wad, doesn't he?
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Old 03-19-2003, 05:05 PM   #6
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B52's left UK(not to be confused w/ the band)

At 1808 GMT (1:08 p.m. EST, 9:08 p.m. Baghdad) B-52 bombers were reported taking off from RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom. Flying time to Iraq is about six hours. Earlier today, they were reportedly loaded with cruise missiles. The British press has also reported that skirmishing has commenced between Iraqi troops and U.S. and British special operations forces near Basra. Coalition aircraft also have attacked 10 Iraqi artillery pieces in the southern no-fly zone, and Israelis have been ordered to open and fit their gas masks, keeping them nearby at all times.

War has not yet commenced, but this is a war alert. More information will be forthcoming as it is available.
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Old 03-19-2003, 05:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


This man has a hard time holding his wad, doesn't he?
Roflmfao!

But remember they don't have sex in the whitehouse anymore so it's been awhile for him.
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Old 03-19-2003, 06:47 PM   #8
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I have also gotten e-mail reports, taken off of news sources, about fighting around Basra. There have also been reports from NPR that troops have crossed the border from Kuwait into the demilitarized zone.
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Old 03-19-2003, 08:40 PM   #9
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Normal Dead Line Passed!

We in america are now at war. I don't know how I am feeling right now. I was born and raised in Canada and I am behind my new home all the way because its all I can do. Support our men and women serving the U.S. I have mixed feelings and thoughts as to wheather we should be going into Iraq. I can see both sides of the arguement but I haven't decided. All I know is that something just is not right about it. I was 13 when I sat in my home and watched Iraq get riddled with bombs and thinking the world was going to end. All I know is that when we go in there we had better fucking find all the bio-chemical agents and bombs Bush and Powell are saying are there. If not things between us and the rest of the world is going to get hairy.

Your thoughts if you care to express them?
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Old 03-19-2003, 08:51 PM   #10
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I am very nervous. I feel very uncertain. There are already reports of huge numbers of refugees headed towards Jordan and Kuwait. I woke up this morning with the Headache From Hell and I still have a headache, twelve hours later. I'm exhausted, I think I will just have to sack out soon.
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Old 03-19-2003, 08:58 PM   #11
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i am amused *i am joking when i say amused* at the cable news networks (CNN, MSNBC, FOX) for having a deadline countdown above the scrolling ticker all day and the live shot of baghdad prior to the "zero" hour occuring.
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:10 PM   #12
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i don't know what everyone was expecting at zero hour. it's not like the world was about to blow up. the media circus following something so serious and so real is sickening.

screw marketing.
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:20 PM   #13
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Oh lilly, its not like that at all! the media are doing the right thing, we keep getting live updates of footage of this mosque that hasn't changed one single bit in the last hour.
Infact, I will go check it again very soon. The sun might have risen or something...
Another media circus.
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:25 PM   #14
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at least they aren't showing you a mosque and telling you a thousand ways its planning on killing you.
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Old 03-19-2003, 09:38 PM   #15
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air raid sirens heard in baghdad and scattered anti-aircraft shots...

and lightning just started here in chicago. it's incredibly creepy.

ari fleischer is arriving at the podium.



pray for everyone...
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