U.S. Eyes Winter War?

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The last war against Iraq was fought in January and February of 1991, and as CBS News News Correspondent David Martin reports, the U.S. military appears to be pointing toward a second war that would once again be fought during the cooler winter months.

Facing the threat of Iraqi chemical weapons, U.S. soldiers would be able to wear their chemical protection gear for longer periods of time without succumbing to heat stress. Lower temperatures also give helicopters and jet fighters greater lift and range.

The winter months bring clouds and rain to Iraq, which, during the last war, all too often obscured the targets. This winter, cloud cover wouldn't be a problem because U.S. aircraft now carry satellite guided bombs which do not require the pilot to see the target.

The advantages of fighting in cooler weather are obvious, and the Pentagon has scheduled a number of supposedly routine deployments and exercises that will have the effect of moving forces into position in time for a winter war.

In November, the U.S. Central Command, which would direct any war against Iraq, plans to temporarily move its headquarters from its current base in Florida to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.

In December, the Navy, which normally keeps on one aircraft carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf, will have three carriers available for strikes against Iraq.

Not coincidentally, the Navy will soon change that status of Scott Speicher, the first pilot shot down in the 1991 war, from "missing" to "missing-captured."

Thus, the U.S. has concluded that at one time he was held by Iraqi forces who know what happened to him – a small change but another justification for war against Iraq.
  • Jaime Holguin

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