Preparing For War In Iraq

image AP

In Baghdad, it is impossible not to sense the storm-clouds of war building on the horizon, reports CBS News Anchor Dan Rather.

Under Saddam, the Iraqi people have become well-acquainted with war.

And this time, they know, it may come to the very streets where they live.
All around the bustling capital city of Iraq there are quiet preparations for yet another conflict.

Twenty years of war, and twelve years of sanctions have made digging in, almost routine. Families are stockpiling food -- wheat, flour, rice and oil. Many have stored up enough government rations to last at least five months.

Liquaa Al-D'ami and her family are like so many others -- what used to be their garden porch -- is now a bunker stored with emergency supplies.

She proudly showed Rather her stash of kerosene and water.

In gun shops, those who can afford it are buying weapons to defend themselves if need be -- not against an invasion -- but the chaos that may follow.

But on nearly every street corner -- from the copper souks of Old Baghdad -- to the fruit markets of Saddam City -- talk of war is mostly just background chatter to the everyday struggle to survive.

Finding a sense of normalcy here is like hearing a familiar song. Even Baghdad's National Symphony Orchestra has managed to play on -- despite the hardships Iraqis refuse to believe they have even partly brought on themselves.

Their conductor says they've only stopped performing once -- during the Gulf War.

They may soon stop again -- his wish is the silence won't last for long.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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