Baghdad: The Final Hours

Iraqi soldiers man a rooftop position overlooking Sadoun Street in downtown Baghdad Wednesday, March 19, 2003, a few hours before the ultimatum given by President Bush to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to leave expires. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) AP

On Wednesday, CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan, who'd been reporting from inside Baghdad, left the Iraqi capital as a deadline for Saddam Hussein to flee Iraq or face war approached. She shared some of her observations as she and her crew drove out of the capital.

On military preparations or movements:

The first thing I noticed as we drove out of the city was Iraqi soldiers manning anti-aircraft guns on top of buildings, including an apartment building. Then as we came to the outskirts of the city, there was a line of military activity on either side of the road. At least 40 large flatbed trucks were dug into the earth - the kind the military would use as a launching pad for multiple rocket systems. Then about seven miles further on, we came to another site of trenches and sandbag fighting positions, but here we saw dozens of huge cylindrical fuel containers that were also dug into the earth. Strange as it may seem, the one thing we didn't see much of was Iraqi troops. All the fighting positions we saw were unmanned, and there was little in the way of a visible military presence.

On the mood in Baghdad:

People were increasingly nervous. Some came to us asking, "tonight, tonight?" looking for confirmation the U.S. would start bombing Baghdad tonight. Most shops and businesses were closed. Except for some small supply stores and streets that were usually crowded with traffic were virtually empty. There's almost an eerie calm on the surface, but when you talk to people you can sense the panic and fear underneath. Many people have weapons at home, some say it's to fight the Americans but others plan to hide in their houses and wait for it all to be over. The Iraqi leadership again came out in support of Saddam Hussein today, cheering him in the Parliament, and there were still no signs the president would leave the country to avoid war.
  • Jaime Holguin

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter