Is the United States at war with Iraq? And if so - has anybody noticed?
Those questions come to mind as the United States continues its participation in limited air strikes against Iraq. The ostensible purpose of those strikes is to punish Iraqi violations of the no-fly zones in the north and south of that country.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein says the U.S. and Britain violated the Gulf War peace settlement by bombing Iraq this winter; therefore, he says, his planes are no longer obliged to observe the no-fly zone.
Military analysts are increasingly concerned that an American or British aircraft will be hit during one of these Iraqi encroachments, or during a punitive air strike.
Moreover, many analysts believe the air strikes aren't merely punitive any more, but designed now to advance the cause of removing Saddam from power - possibly by making Saddam's officers so fed up, that they seize power for themselves.
Meanwhile, there are further reports that the Central Intelligence Agency really did use United Nations weapons inspection teams as cover for espionage - exactly as Saddam claimed they had done. Saddam might be expected to understand CIA operations - it's widely believed he was on the company payroll for years.
So far, the White House and Pentagon have explained few if any of these recent developments - perhaps because the American people don't seem to be paying much attention. On the ground in Iraq, it feels as if America is at war. But so far, America doesn't seem to notice.
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