CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Strike on Iraq: U.S. Ground Troops Engage Hostile Forces
Aired March 20, 2003 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Under fire today. A massive aerial assault is ongoing, and the worst of it may be ahead.
Here's also a live picture of Kuwait City. Iraq has fired back, but not with the same intensity or success.
Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Kuwait City, where we're tracking an air and ground campaign led by U.S. forces.
The British government has just released Prime Minister Tony Blair's statement to the British people on why he ordered British troops to take part in the war. Here's what Tony Blair said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Tonight, British servicemen and women are engaged from air, land and sea. Their mission, to remove Saddam Hussein from power and disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.
I know this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country, but I know also the British people will now be united in sending our armed forces our thoughts and prayers. They are the finest in the world and their families and all of Britain have great pride in them.
The threat to Britain today is not that of my father's generation. War between the big powers is unlikely, Europe is at peace, the Cold War already a memory. But this new world faces a new threat of disorder and chaos, born either of brutal states like Iraq, armed with weapons of mass destruction, or of extreme terrorist groups. Both hate our way of life, our freedom, our democracy.
My fear, deeply held, based in part on the intelligence that I see, is that these threats come together and deliver catastrophe to our country and our world. These tyrannical states do not care for the sanctity of human life. The terrorists delight in destroying it.
Some say if we act, we become a target. The truth is, all nations are targets. Bali was never on the front line of action against terrorism. America didn't attack Al Qaeda. They attacked America.
Britain has never been a nation to hide at the back, but even if we were, it wouldn't avail us. Should terrorists obtain these weapons now being manufactured and traded around the world, the carnage they could inflict to our economies, our security, to world peace would be beyond our most vivid imagination.
My judgment as prime minister is that this threat is real, growing and of an entirely different nature to any conventional threat to our security that Britain has faced before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The British prime minister, Tony Blair, speaking to the British people now that British forces are substantially involved in fighting in southern Iraq. We had heard earlier from our Christiane Amanpour the British forces now moving into the Al Faw Peninsula in southern Iraq from positions in northern Kuwait.
I want to show our viewers some pictures earlier tonight, pictures of Baghdad. Listen to this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking in foreign language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You can see the fires of these buildings, these government buildings in downtown Baghdad from earlier. U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles fired at significant targets in Baghdad.
Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, is standing by as he has throughout our coverage. Nic, talk to our viewers, tell us what's happened in Baghdad tonight?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, early in the evening, a couple of hours after it got dark here, the air raid sirens went off. There were some distant detonations and then a lot of anti-aircraft gunfire, the anti-aircraft gunfire originally on the periphery of the city, and multiple eruptions from different anti-aircraft positions in the city.
Then as we were watching, not far from our location, several buildings within a mile of where we were were hit. At least one building hit by at least two missiles. Impossible to say for us from our position if they were bombs or cruise missiles. That building, then the big ball of red flame and smoke erupted around the side of the building. That building still smoking.
The other buildings close to our location that were hit have stopped smoking now.
The city at this time, very quiet. The all-clear was given here perhaps about an hour ago. Iraqi television here has been reporting. It says 72 cruise missiles fired at the city. They say many of those missiles failed. They also say that the enemy has tried to violate the borders in the south and west of Iraq and the newsman then went on to say that Iraq has confronted the enemy in those areas.
They also say that Iraq has fired two missiles into Kuwait, one to a port and one into another area of Kuwait. They also say that there are four martyrs here today. Four people have died and one officer has died, as well. And they report five other apparently military people also injured -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Nic, I want to get back to you, but I want to bring in CNN's Walter Rodgers. He's in the northern part of Kuwait along the border with Iraq, where there's significant military action unfolding right now.
Walter, tell our viewers what's going on.
WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Wolf. The U.S. Army 7th Cavalry has had its first hostile contact with the Iraqis on the other side of the border.
Now, it's not described as a large action, but it is described as hostile contact and an army source told CNN that a number of -- of vehicles of the Iraqi army were taken out. The numbers, I can't be precise upon, but there were apparently some Iraqi trucks and perhaps some Iraqi tanks and Iraqi BMPs, that is armored personnel carriers.
The first hostile contact the army has had has been by a scouting unit, the 7th Cavalry. That has slowed the progress somewhat here, but the push through is continued in a short while.
Actually, the army accelerated its timetable to move towards Iraq, accelerated it because the Iraqis fired at least half a dozen tactical ballistic missiles in the direction of U.S. troops in Kuwait earlier in the day. That being the case, the army began moving forward a number of hours ago.
That progress has moved -- has been slowed somewhat, however, because of the first hostile contact the 7th Cavalry has had with Iraqi forces on the other side -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Walter, earlier in the day we saw U.S. troops with you dressed in full battle gear, not only battle gear, but chemical and biological protective gear as well. Are they still dressed along those lines?
RODGERS: Wolf, I'm standing here wearing the army's CBW suit, chemical biological warfare suit.
When these soldiers were ordered into their Bradley fighting vehicles this evening and into their tanks and in every other vehicle which is traveling with this unit, we were told to go to MOPP one, which is to say put on your chemical weapon suits. We've done that. We do not need to wear our gas masks at this point. That MOPP alert could be upgraded at any point, but every soldier here is at this point wearing his chemical weapons suit.
Additionally, those in the armored vehicles are wearing what are called Nomacs, those are fire retardant uniforms that the tankers and the men in the other fighting vehicles wear in case the vehicle is hit. The soldiers call those things their fireproof pajamas -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Walter Rodgers, he's here in Kuwait along the border with Iraq. You saw a videophone picture of him. It's after 1 a.m. Here in this part of the world, not very far away from Walter is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's medical correspondent. He's also embedded with U.S. troops.
Sanjay, tell us where -- what you're seeing and what you're doing right now.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. Just past 1 a.m. in the morning in the northern desert of Kuwait. Sort of bright moon out here, as well.
Behind me is a bunker and this is where most of the marines here at Camp Iwo Jima have spent most of their day. Of course, that's not the kind of day that they were expecting.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
(voice-over_ It started off like any other day for the marines at Camp Iwo Jima. Many were glued to the television, hearing for the first time of the attacks on Baghdad.
At 10:28 a.m. local time, everything changed. An object traveling very fast about 300 feet above the ground made the unmistakable sound of a missile. It caused marines to scurry for cover.
Another familiar sound was then heard. Bunker, bunker, bunker! Gas! Gas! Gas! This time it was for real. This was no drill. Marines quickly grabbed their Kevlar helmets and gas masks and sprinted towards the nearest bunker. Packed tight, shoulder to shoulder, it was hot and hard to breathe.
(on camera) This is the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bunker in as many hours. As you can see, we're wearing our masks, our Kevlar and our helmets because we were instructed to do so as we were instructed also to be here in this bunker.
You can see missiles flying overhead. They're are SCUDs all around us. They've heard sirens as well. Who knows what's next?
(voice-over) It is fair to say everyone is anxious, tired, frustrated, but remain confident.
For now, I'm writing by flashlight and our team is setting up in the dark, as close to the bunker as we can.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
Yes, and another thing, Wolf, even since that time there has been another bunker call. We've heard the sirens go off continuously. There are trucks set up right around the perimeter of the base here. There are trucks at the base that continuously monitor the air. If they detect even the slightest abnormality, then everyone basically -- the alarms go off.
Wolf, even as we're doing this live shot, they have shouted bunker, bunker bunker! Marines are starting to come to the bunker. You'll see them here in just a few seconds. They're going to have their helmets on, they're going to have their Kevlar.
This is the 10th bunker call since 10:00 this morning -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, what about the earlier fears, Sanjay, of chemical or biological agents in the air over where you are, resulting in you guys putting on those gas masks? Were those false alarms?
GUPTA: It appears at this time that they were false alarms. Again, these particular trucks that monitor the air are designed to be very sensitive, and a lot of different thing that can trigger them besides chemicals themselves, even particulate matter in the air from dust, from the silicone. Things like that can possibly trigger them.
They're designed to be very sensitive, perhaps not as specific, but they have been going off continuously, Wolf. Like I said, we're just hearing it right now, as well. There's a siren going off right now. There's a siren, basically talking about the specific chemical thing. Who knows if it's a false alarm? Who knows if it's the real thing? You can hear the sirens and horns going on now, Wolf.
We're going to go put our stuff on as well and jump into that bunker -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sanjay. We're hearing sirens here in Kuwait City, as well. Presumably, precaution because of where you are. This is the sixth time today here in Kuwait City the sirens that you might be hearing behind me are going off.
We're going to continue to monitor precisely what's happening here in Kuwait City, but as I speak to you right now, sirens for the sixth time today going off in Kuwait City. We'll continue to check out and see what the issue is here in Kuwait City. We'll follow up with Dr. Sanjay Gupta in northern Kuwait, as well.
In the meantime let's go over to our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.
Jamie, tell us what the latest assessment is at the Pentagon about the military operation.
JAMIE McINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the so-called shock and awe campaign apparently has been put on hold while the Pentagon assesses the state of Iraqi leadership, how much of a hold Saddam Hussein has on power.
The question is, is anyone in charge of the Iraqi military at this point? Is anyone communicating with troops in the field? Because the evidence is, at this point, is that there's been a very weak organized response to the strikes that have taken part so far.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld today said that he -- the Pentagon has been in communication with people and the Iraqi military at various levels, including the Republican Guard units and that they're going to become, he said, increasingly aware that Saddam Hussein is going to be gone very soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is not a war against a people. It is not a war against a country. It is most certainly not a war against a religion. It is a war against a regime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
McINTYRE: Now the -- all indications are that the strike last night against a leadership target Baghdad was an area that U.S. intelligence believes that Saddam Hussein might be, along with his two sons, Uday and Qusay.
The U.S. Is still not 100 percent sure that that was Saddam Hussein on that tape last night. There were about 39 cruise missiles fired from six ships in yesterday's strike and then today another round of cruise missiles produced some fires at government buildings in downtown Baghdad.
We are told more than 20 cruise missiles fired from ships today, including two British submarines.
Also, in the -- all of the action is going on in the fog of war, there was an incident today in which an Apache attack helicopter had to make a hard landing in southern Iraq. We are told that the crew was able to repair the helicopter, at least get it back up in the air.
There was some gunfire in the area. It's unclear, though, whether the gunfire from the ground played any role in the helicopter going down. In any event the helicopter was able to fly out on its own speed and get back to safety -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jamie, as you were speaking, the sirens have stopped wailing here in Kuwait City. Our viewers are seeing a live picture of Kuwait City. The sirens have gone off for a couple of minutes. Once again the sixth time, presumably, a precaution of -- because of what's going on in the northern part of this country, 100 kilometers north of here, about 60 miles or so north of where I am. The sirens are now off here in Kuwait City. The sixth time they went on today.
Jamie, let's get to some of the issues that you raised in your report. The most important one, the full fury of the U.S.-British military, the coalition, not yet being unveiled. That's going to wait, the shock and awe campaign. Presumably what they're trying to do, correct me if I'm wrong, is begin to rattle the top Iraqi leadership?
McINTYRE: Yes, and actually, they're trying to see now what effect they've had before they proceed. You know, the war plan called originally for a very vigorous start of the campaign, but because it started the way it did with these targets of opportunity and the question now about whether there's a real effective command structure in Iraq, the U.S. doesn't want to rush into a campaign that would level a lot of Baghdad if it's possible that the Iraqi regime is crumbling. Now I said it's basically on hold, but it may not be on hold for that long. That's part of the psychological warfare. Iraqi military -- excuse me, the Iraqi military and the Iraqi regime doesn't know when the U.S. might unleash that series of punishing air strikes -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jamie, we're getting the all-clear over here as the siren going off that this is the sixth time that siren going off. Now an all-clear single monotone blast, indicating that any threat to Kuwait City has now gone away.
You're looking at live pictures of Kuwait City. It's now, what, about -- almost 20 after 1 a.m. in the morning, 1:00 a.m. here in Kuwait City. We'll continue, of course, to monitor what's going on. Jamie, stand by, Jamie.
I want to go back to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our medical correspondent. He's embedded with U.S. troops in northern Kuwait. He's actually getting ready. We'll get back to him in a moment, but let's go over to the White House. Our senior White House correspondent, John King.
We heard from the president earlier today, John.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We did, Wolf. Much of the president's day spent behind the scenes. We are told he has been in the Oval Office most of the day, working the telephones, calling several world leaders, also calling the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, to give him an update on the war campaign so far.
We are told the president is quite satisfied with the progress. Quite happy with the reports he is getting from senior military officials and Pentagon leaders.
Mr. Bush did make one public appearance, though. A message to the American people that their government is up and running, even as the war is being prosecuted and a message, as well, to those around the world who say this operation lacks international support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I called my cabinet together to review our strategies, to make the world more peaceful, to make our country more secure, to make the lives of our citizens as healthy and as prosperous as possible.
We heard from Secretary Rumsfeld, who briefed us on the early stages of the war. There's no question we sent the finest of our citizens into harm's way. They perform with great skill and great bravery. We thank them. We thank their loved ones. We appreciate their sacrifice.
Word from Secretary Powell, who briefed us on the ever-growing coalition of the willing, nations who support our deep desire for peace and freedom. Over 40 nations now support our efforts. We are grateful for their determination. We appreciate their vision and we welcome their support. As well, we discussed the need to make sure we have plans in place to encourage economic vitality and growth. We will continue to push for a Medicare system that's compassionate for our seniors. We care deeply about the fact that some children in our society can't read. We want the best of education for every citizen in America.
This cabinet is confident about the future of our country. We're confident we can achieve our objectives. I am grateful for their service to their country. Thank you all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And suggesting this is a broad and robust coalition, the president tries to counter criticism from France, from Russia, from the United Nations, that he and Great Britain essentially are off on a rogue adventure without the sanctioning of the international community. The White House says that is not the case.
I want to show you quickly now a behind the scenes look at the president's first big briefing this morning in the Oval Office. The CIA director, George Tenet, coming into the room, you see him in the blue shirt there. Vice President Cheney with his back to the camera. White House chief of staff Andrew Card.
We are told that this meeting in the morning, the CIA director, George Tenet, telling the president and the vice president about the strikes last night. Also, his assessment of the threat of terrorism here in the United States.
Again, Wolf, the president behind the scenes most of the day. He's having dinner with a visiting foreign leader tonight, the president of Cameroon. We are told by senior administration officials the president quite happy with the progress reports he's getting so far and he is reaching out to world leaders.
We are told to probably expect the president to speak again tomorrow, but that expect -- that depends on the developments overnight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: John King, we'll be getting back to you at the White House. John, thanks very much.
Jane Arraf is standing by right now. She's in northern Iraq, not far from the Turkish border.
Jane, what's happening where you are?
JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of expectations here, Wolf. It was the Turkish parliament approval of two things. The use of the Turkish airspace by the American military, we're expecting -- local officials are expecting American troops to be landing at airstrips in northern Iraq for a possible scaled down northern front assault on Iraqi forces.
The other thing is the possibility that there could actually be Turkish troops in northern Iraq following that parliament decision. Now as expected, Kurdish leaders are not taking that very kindly. They are still saying that it's totally unnecessary and warning that there could be very severe problems as Turkish forces come into that border area where they have arraigned thousands of their fighters along the border.
Now we are also seeing what officials say is almost a full-blown humanitarian crisis here. We are in the city of Dohuk (ph), which has been emptied like many other cities in northern Iraq, people fleeing into the countryside and into the mountains, fearing Iraqi forces and what they say could be a possible chemical attack.
Now if you drive out of the city you'll see tens of thousands of people who are living out in the countryside and hundreds of families who are huddled in tents, in some cases just thin sheets of plastic. Now there's been freezing rain. They're up to their knees in mud practically. They're trying to warm their hands with fires and they're getting water from streams. They're living in dire conditions.
Local authorities are starting to build tent cities for them. They're appealing for them to return to their homes, saying it's safe, but not very many people are listening -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jane Arraf, thanks very much for that report. Jane Arraf in northern Iraq, not far from the Turkish border. We'll see what's happening on that front.
CNN's Miles O'Brien is standing by at the CNN center in Atlanta for some more big board analysis on what's going on on the battlefield -- Miles.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I'm joined by the former NATO supreme commander, Wes Clark, who's going to walk us through a couple of things. First of all, we're going to take a big picture look at the-- I guess you could call it a minuet that involves these hundreds of aircraft as they kind of converge over the airspace and begin an assault like this.
It really is an interesting thing as we look at some animation produced by our friends at Analytical Graphics, and we zoom in. I just want to point out, these blue circles are generally the radars which emanate from friendlies, the term is. That's to say AWACs.
How important are those AWACs aircraft as you're coordinating these battles, General Clark?
WESLEY CLARK: They're critical, because that's how you keep track of what's in the air, that's the way you time it and sequence the flights in. And they're also detecting, of course, the enemy forces. So they would vector you in if you needed help to find the enemy.
O'BRIEN: There's your AWACs right there. And it has about a 300-mile radius, I think, around it. It controls -- there are literally air traffic controllers in there and as we kind fly through this, you notice it kind of turns kind of pink. That means you're being painted -- that's the term -- or read by an enemy radar. And one of the things you do in coordinating a battle like this is you take out those radars, right?
O'BRIEN: All right. Now one of the other things that's involved in all this, of course, is stealth technology because before those radars are -- the eyes are poked out of them, what you want to do is use, if you can, something that is not seen by radar.
The B-2 aircraft is something that is in play here, deployed for the first time outside of Missouri, in this case Diego Garcia running up through the Persian Gulf, the B-2 has the capability of delivering a couple of laser-guided weapons, the so-called mini bunker busters.
And as they come in they're not the fastest aircraft in the fleet, but they also have the ability to be more or less invisible to radar. Are they really invisible?
CLARK: No. They're not really invisible. So what we like to do is, we want to have some jammers up there with them, we want to take out those radars early on.
Plus, we know that when they get up close, they're liable to be seen, so we want everything in our favor before we put the B-2's in.
O'BRIEN: All right. And let's look real quickly at the EA-6B Prowler, which does that jamming, and that's exactly what happened in this case. The Pentagon telling us that the EA-6b, which does in fact create this, you know, kind of jamming signal and can create false targets on radars is involved, sort of the belt and suspenders technique, if you will.
Now let's look at the map here and I want to ask you this shock and awe we have been talking about. The announcement from the Pentagon that it's been suspended, potentially really good news embedded in that announcement.
CLARK: Absolutely. Because if we've taken out his command and control, they are ready -- they're ready to fall -- the apples are going to fall off the tree. All we have to do is pick them up.
And it's just a matter of finding someone in there who can tell the Iraqi military to lay down their weapons, move off to the side of the road. We'll drive up there, get those weapons of mass destruction and this thing will be over.
O'BRIEN: All right, but there's been a tremendous potential power vacuum there, there could be a lot of confusion and who knows what if there was a real decapitation of this regime.
CLARK: If there was, I mean, it's possible that some other leader would emerge who would be just as hostile and say this is my chance to grab for power and I don't think the United States could do this and therefore we're going to fight. But I think that's unlikely. I think that given all the buildup to this, if we really do decapitate that regime, the people who are next in line are going to go to any relative's home and stay off the telephone and stay off the radio not give orders and hope that this thing goes away very quickly.
O'BRIEN: Interesting. Now let's talk a little bit to that end, some of the targets that we know about, just from seeing cameras in the city of Baghdad. Some of them unmanned because of the way we've positioned our crew is to get them out of harm's way.
For example, crews are operating at the ministry of information, which is a very desirable target, if you're planning out this situation. Of course, it hasn't been struck yet, because we still have a camera there. But nevertheless, we didn't want our people there.
And as we zoom in on Baghdad, let's take you and what I'll do is I'll show you kind of the -- let's get in one step closer, Dave, and get in there and we'll give you a sense of some of the key areas that we know were struck on this day of strikes.
And what I want to point out to you is first of all, that is the mother of all Saddam Hussein palaces there, the Republican Guard palace. Up here is a facility, a building that is used by Tariq Aziz, the deputy prime minister. Over in this area is the hotel where Nic Robertson has been giving us our reports, kind of a field of view of that.
Let's get closer very quickly and I want to just give you one example of what we're talking about here. As you look at this office building, take a look at this image, of course, from our friends at earthier.com digital globe, shot a year or so ago.
Take a look at the images that we received here at CNN Center earlier in this day of this same building. It's quite clear from this night vision imagery that it has sustained a rather significant hit and as we said, this is a key place for some of the Iraqi leadership.
General Clark, these are regime targets which means we're not -- the U.S. is not going after power plants, dams, anything that would cause undue hardship on the civilian population, correct?
CLARK: That's right. These are targets that are associated with control of the country and control of the armed forces.
O'BRIEN: And if you succeed, it can be...
CLARK: Just like the decapitating strike. I mean, you're going to take out his communications, his files, his record keeping and all the means he's got to maintain a reign of terror in Iraq.
O'BRIEN: General Wes Clark, thanks very much -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Miles O'Brien at the CNN Center and General Clark. I want to go right to this videotape, show our viewers what -- tell our viewers what we're about to see.
CNN's Walter Rodgers, he's embedded with U.S. troops in the northern part of this country, the northern part of Kuwait. He was videotaping a standup, and I want you to take a look and see what happened as he was videotaping this standup, what happened in the middle of his report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODGERS: A U.S. army source has told CNN that the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry has had its first hostile contact with the Iraqi forces on the other side of the border. They are describing it as relatively low key, according to reports which we're receiving now and these reports are somewhat conflicting.
A number of Iraqi vehicles were taken out including, perhaps a number of tanks. That has slowed the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry's progress across the border into Iraq -- we just heard -- what the hell! No, man, I don't know what it is. I can't -- I -- can you hear me? Atlanta, we just heard something shooting!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. That was Walter Rodgers, preparing a report on videotape. He was feeding it into Atlanta. Walter Rodgers joining us on the phone right now. Tell our viewers what that explosion was that you heard, Walter, as you were preparing that report.
RODGERS: Our best guess, Wolf, is that that was indeed an incoming shell, judging by the sound of it. It was high, explosive. It was a single incoming artillery shell. We are guessing at this point. The reason we're guessing that it was not friendly fire by any stretch of the imagination is because the sound (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BLITZER: Walter, I assume everyone is OK. Is that right?
RODGERS: Everyone -- yeah, sure, we're fine. You know there was a little concussion, which you get with artillery stuff but it wasn't anywhere near close enough to weigh anyone any damage that we're aware of.
BLITZER: How are the young -- how are the young soldiers you're with dealing with these incoming artillery shells, with the fears and scud missiles, cruise missiles? What's the mood where you are, Walter?
RODGERS: Wolf, can you repeat the question? We're moving and it's a little difficult to hear you. Try again, please.
BLITZER: All right, Walter. Let me try again. I'm wondering how the young soldiers that you're with are dealing with these scares that you're facing up in the northern part of Kuwait along the border with Iraq.
RODGERS: Well you can imagine their adrenaline is pumping but then again many of these young soldiers joined the army, as they say, because they wanted to get into a fight. And every one of them, of course, you can -- as I say, is excited when they hear the sound of an incoming shell. It puts them on a very taunt edge.
Having said that, that has not deterred our movement at all. We're still moving forward -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Walter, I know you're like me, a veteran journalist. How are you coping?
RODGERS: Me? I've heard ...
RODGERS: ... so much artillery before it was -- you know, it's no big deal. OK.
BLITZER: Famous words from Walter Rodgers, no big deal. Clearly, it is a big deal but Walter Rodgers, one of the best in the business. Thanks very much, Walter, for that report. Take care of yourself.
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