Report: US to hit Baghdad in case of war
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- The Bush administration is considering taking Baghdad and other key Iraqi centers first
in the event of an invasion of that country, the New York Times reports Monday.
This "inside-out" approach, as the strategy has been dubbed, would aim to disrupt Iraq's potential use of its weapons of
mass destruction and topple or kill Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The pros and cons of the plan are being discussed, but have not been presented to President Bush or senior members of his
national security team, the Times said. Senior administration and Defense Department officials said other alternatives were also
Officials told the Times it may be possible to hit Iraq's centralized command-and-control system in which mid-level officers
are not taught to improvise. Those mid-level officers may not fire weapons of mass destruction if they fear Saddam has been
The Times said the plan would require less than 250,000 troops and would appeal to neighboring Arab states whose bases
the United States would want to use in the event of a war. Most Arab states have opposed an attack on Iraq.
The Times said, however, something near the 250,000 figure might have to be deployed anyway, to ensure any forces
dropped into Baghdad are not become isolated.
Saddam's elite troops surround the city, which is filled with antiaircraft batteries, the Times said. The Times said any new
attack of "Iraq would probably include intense air attacks followed by a combined airborne and ground assault on strategic
The Defense Department did not comment on the report.
But the plan has some supporters on Capitol Hill.
"There is a divergence of views on how can one best diminish the prospect that he uses weapons of mass destruction, with
any efficacy," said Senator Joseph Biden Jr., D-Del., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Biden said he had
not been briefed on the plan.
He told the Times: "That is where the argument for an inside-out operation gains credibility. There is a diminished possibility
that he will use chemical or biological weapons."
The operation is expected to be mostly U.S.-run, with Britain contributing significant forces.