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Coalition Troops Under Fire in Umm Qasr

Aired March 23, 2003 - 01:27   ET


AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: David, please go ahead and take that full if you can. What you're looking at now are live pictures in Umm Qasr, this port city we've talked a lot about. This is, I think, a British feed of some sort and there is a firefight going on as we speak, and we'll just stay with this for a bit.
And I can tell you that my heart rate just went up, because this is the kind of thing as we've talked about how we're going to cover this we do worry about a little bit. But you can see these troops, and we'll get it -- these are British troops, or at least some of them.

General, you probably can identify a little better than I what precisely we're seeing and what they think is going on, so feel free to weigh in as we go here.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Let's get a look at it. This is -- that's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE). These look like Americans to me.

BROWN: They look -- my first thought was Americans.


BROWN: Would the British be wearing uniforms that look -- are they wearing the same uniforms?

CLARK: Same uniform, but not the same helmet.

BROWN: Not the same helmet.

CLARK: I can't tell. This guy is a Special Operations guy right here.

BROWN: In the blue vest?


BROWN: And you see this, what looks like a convoy moving through of some sort.

CLARK: Those are Humvees there coming in.

BROWN: Very slowly. These are live pictures in Umm Qasr. This is in the south. This is a southern port town, a very important area. It seemed from our earlier reporting, both by Jason Bellini and Christiane...

DAVID BOWDEN, BRITISH POOL REPORTER: It appears to be a convoy of some type moving into the area. They're checking whether they can actually speak to the convoy.

CLARK: Because the convoy, it looks like it's about to go...


BOWDEN: Obviously what they don't want is for that convoy, which we've now confirmed are quite friendly vehicles, moving into an area where there is fire potentially coming from both sides on the U.S. Marines here who are trying to suppress the Iraqis over the other side, and potentially if there are any more Iraqis still up to fighting who could be putting down some fire on that convoy.

That's the situation here at the moment.

BROWN: That's a British corps reporter, who is describing the situation. I was writing something down, but I'm almost sure he said those are U.S. Marines.


BROWN: And they saw this convoy coming up, is that how you heard it? And needed to establish what it was.

CLARK: Right. That convoy is going to drive right into the middle of the firefight if they don't get it stopped.

BROWN: Right.

CLARK: Apparently, there is fire coming from that tree line over there is what it looks like.

BOWDEN: Yes, he's pretty safe. He's behind concrete blocks. I mean, the short answer is that there is no such thing as 100 percent safety in an area like this. You have to play the averages here. We figure we're as safe as we need to be to try and tell people what is going on here. He has his body armor on. He's got himself nice and low to the ground, and so he presumably thinks he's safe.

Mike, one second. Mike, do you feel you're safe enough there? Mike Donnelly (ph), my cameraman, do you feel you're safe enough where you are?

BROWN: So, so.

CLARK: Oh, OK, so there's a...

BROWN: Here is the correspondent here.

BOWDEN: It's a difficult call. We're trying to cover the war here, but at the same time, as I say, this is not a soap opera. It's not being done for television. It's being done to carry out the mission here. We're simply bystanders. We're tagging along. We're not part of it. And we have to look after our own safety.

I have to say that both the U.S. and British Marines have been very, very good to us. They've allowed us to get close to the action, but at the same time making sure that we don't do anything stupid.

BROWN: This is an example both of the wonder of modern technology and terror of modern technology from my point of view. I would be almost certainly correct if I said this is not an embedded reporter. This is somebody, I think I'm right here, who is probably part of -- he is an embedded reporter, OK. Proving what I said earlier is that I'm not the smartest guy on the planet.

CLARK: Well, now we know what the uniform is for the embedded reporters.

BROWN: Yes, blue vests and...

CLARK: Right, and khakis. But the cameraman is looking towards this house.

BOWDEN: ... you make for this kind of coverage of the war and what passes for safety. The idea is that if are embedded with the troops prior to there being any real war fighting, then once it comes, they know you, you know them, you do what they do, you have access to their kind of equipment.

And to put it quite frankly, you have access to their fire power. I'd much rather be standing here on this side with the weaponry that we have here going out, than on the other side on the receiving end. And I think that in a nutshell pretty much sums it up. If you're embedded here, then you do what they do and what they allow you to do.

BROWN: He's explaining the embed process that we've explained to you a number of times.

BOWDEN: And obviously you saw yesterday (UNINTELLIGIBLE) some of the best footage I think anybody has ever seen from any conflict anywhere, not just obviously from here, but from other correspondents from other organizations from other countries. There are a lot of cameras on tanks, with Humvees, on Jeeps, in commando landing craft who are providing unprecedented coverage of a conflict in this war. And it's because of the embedding system that it appears more...

BROWN: General -- David, just turn him down just a bit here for a second if you would. Thank you.

General, you've been watching this. Tell me what your sense of what's going on here.

CLARK: Of course, you're coming cold to something like this. These guys are oriented over -- there's a big wide open area.

BROWN: When you say -- well, you're not talking about the reporter here. You're talking about the troops.

CLARK: I'm talking about the troops here. BROWN: OK.

CLARK: They've got their weapons out there. They are scanning for targets; big wide open area. Maybe (UNINTELLIGIBLE) across that area. There is a house on the other side. There is a treeline. Presumably, they thought they received fire from there. So now the problem that they are facing is, what are they going to do?

They are not going to -- if you continually get fire, you're going to either call in the Cobras...

BROWN: Helicopters.

CLARK: Or you're going to use artillery, or you're going to send somebody to move around the flank of it. What you're not going to do is stand up and walk towards it, as long as you've got enemy fire coming in here. There is no reason to do that. Meanwhile, you've got to keep the people who are driving up that road, driving right down into the middle of the beaten zone, and getting shot right in front of you.

BROWN: I don't know if they've asked them not to, asked the crew not to point the camera towards the trouble here, or if he's just doing a long standup; I don't -- well, that answers a little bit of the question, I guess.

Is it at all troubling to you, general, that what seemed to be a taken city or controlled area seems somewhat less controlled than we thought maybe three hours ago?

CLARK: Well, this is always a hazard in a built up area, when you're operating a military operation like this, there is a sort of bump and run kind of an operation. If they fight back, you take them out. If they don't fight back, you are going to continue to roll on. And the problem here is they didn't fight back, they stayed behind there. You didn't actually go through and clear the area. Don't have enough troops to do that. Haven't taken the time to do it, and it's a calculated risk. This will probably work out all right, but you will have this kind of episode probably several more times.

BROWN: Several more times in this area, or?

CLARK: Yes, in this area, yes. Because there are isolated pockets. These people may either be stay-behinds. They may have gotten orders to resist late, or they may have not gotten the word that everybody else has given up.

BROWN: Thank you. As we move across here, this is, again, this convoy...

CLARK: OK, here's a tank.

BROWN: Here's a tank coming in.

(CROSSTALK) CLARK: Can they make contact with him? Is he going to be part of the action, or is this going to be one of these bizarre incidents where the guy drives right through and never notices what's going on?

BOWDEN: Getting back to what's happened earlier on, they were putting mortar rounds in and to try to keep their heads down of the Iraqis who were pouring their machine gun fire across here. They've also used javelin missiles, the first one of those went long and missed the target. The second one was a direct hit, and as far as I can ascertain, there has been no fire from the Iraqi positions since then. What we have seen is a number of vehicles, a number of people moving around in that area. One of those vehicles were taken out. Three people in there are now dead. They are Iraqis, we are assuming, because they've been checking whether they were so-called friendlies, i.e. coalition forces, or hostiles.

BROWN: Just in his pause here, I want to continue. To hear him -- one other point about the embedding process, for everyone that worries about it, the commander here of this group, the leader of this group, is clearly allowing this broadcast to take place. And that speaks extremely well of how the process is working. Now we continue to watch it and listen.

BOWDEN: That's right. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. The Marines tell me that they took close to 100 prisoners as they swept through into here yesterday. Remember, it wasn't until fairly late on yesterday that they actually secured this position, but of course, it only takes one bullet to kill you and it only takes one person to fire that bullet, so all he time, there is somebody out there who is trying to put fire down on here, the situation cannot be declared safe. I think we have to make the difference between securing an area militarily, which is what we are saying that the Marines here have done, and the area being safe. There is a difference, and at the moment, this area is not safe, but according to the U.S. Marines, it is secure. They are defending it; they have control over it. And that's what they are trying to maintain.

CLARK: What he's been saying, it has not been cleared yet.

BROWN: Right.

CLARK: We haven't swept the area and really gotten rid of all the potential opposition.

BROWN: Just kind of a footnote here -- this is being broadcast now literally around the world, not only around the United States and Britain, but all the Arab channels are watching this. This is the first thing like this that we have seen since the war began. This is what we talk about when we talk about the ability to do this live. Go ahead and take it full.

BOWDEN: ... and safe by now, but the U.S. Marines are determined to finish this job properly before they move on to whatever is their next task. There is no point in doing a half-job here, because this fort, when it finally is safe, could be the beginning... BROWN: Obviously, an Arab TV network (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and we don't have too much information on the screen (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We never will, I guess.

BOWDEN: ... who are behind this war said is their main aim: Get rid of the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, get rid of the weapons of the mass destruction if he still has any, and then get the people of Iraq back on their feet again and bring them the help they need. They can't do that if they can't get large quantities of aid into the country. Umm Qasr is key to that beginning.

BROWN: That's because it's a port city, and the United States would want to move these large shipments of humanitarian aid in by ship, into that deep water port there. There isn't much of Iraq that's on water. So this is a very crucial point in the humanitarian effort, and it's also an important point on the road to Basra...

BOWDEN: Yes, Simon (ph), what they are doing is basically covering all the options. I can see the tanks, you can see just moving along just behind the railway line there. They are obviously positioning themselves. They will have a better view than perhaps we have, or certainly a different view. They have got on 45 or 60-degree or so different view on the situation than we have. They obviously are talking to U.S. Marines on the berm here and coordinating what they are going to do.

They are saying, get buyers (ph) on that vehicle. There is obviously a vehicle moving out there somewhere. They want to know who it is and what he or she is doing, and they will decide what to do with it. It's got a white flag on it, and it's a bus, we are told, so that certainly as far as we know is not a hostile vehicle. Whoever is in there is trying to surrender. They will continue to monitor it, of course, but at the moment, certainly they will not fire on it.

BROWN: Just say it out loud, General.

CLARK: I think this is just a remarkable, remarkable episode we're capturing here. This is the kind of stuff you might see at our national training center, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Never seen it in combat like this. You would not see this.

BOWDEN: ... training, nuclear, biological and chemical warfare training so (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but it's a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) different when you're in Iraq in a hole in a middle of a great pile of sand and people are firing at you.

BROWN: Never before in history has this sort of thing been shown. Of course, it is at one level, General, I assume, the most routine of soldiery moments. It's the kind of thing that you prepare for, train for and ultimately have to execute. We just note how careful everyone seems to be right now, until they have clearly identified what it is a threat, what the threat is, and how they are going to deal with it. Those Marines on the ground that we were watching when we came into this hardly seemed to twitch. They were in position and ready to deal with it. BOWDEN: ... unfolded. It was just after 8:00 local time, people were going about their morning routines, having breakfast, getting washed and scrubbed up. Went from two Iraqi squads over in a building to the front of us now, approximately just to the left, I think where Mike is pointing the camera right now, there was fire coming into this port, Umm Qasr. That triggered a load of U.S. Marines scurrying up this huge berm here and onto the top and laying down a hail of machine gun bullets to suppress that fire. That was followed up by some mortar fire into the area. The same objective, to keep the heads down of the people that were firing on us. And after that, they used javelin missiles to target the building they thought the fire was coming from. The first of those went long. The second one was deemed to be a direct hit, and we have had no fire from that building since then.

What has happened since then is that there have been a number of vehicles seen in the area. Some of them have been deemed friendly, i.e. containing Coalition forces, American or British. One of those, at least, was deemed to be hostile. That vehicle was taken out. Three people are dead in and around that vehicle. Since then there has been sporadic fire, as other people have been found moving around, so-called shadowy figures, and as we can probably see if Mike just pans the camera around slightly there are a line of tanks having moved in to try and get a different angle on the situation for the US Marines here.

BROWN: In this global ...

BOWDEN: ... I am just hearing that there are bodies in black somewhere over the berm. Sorry, Simon (ph).

BROWN: In this global village we live in, this is literally being seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world. This same shot, this moment. This is a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...

BOWDEN: ... What has happened already this morning is that another element of the 15th MEU, the Marine Expeditionary Unit here, which is under the control of course of the British 3 Commando Brigade, has moved further on up to the naval base just further up the waterway from here. Now they say they encountered very little resistance at all going in there. They have cleared that area. They did find some munitions in an armory there, perhaps not surprising. It is a naval base. They also found barges with sea mines on them. The fear was that what the Iraqis might do is just unload a whole bunch of these mines into the waterway as a sort of leaving present as they withdrew and, of course, denying that area then to shipping coming in, both military and perhaps more importantly in the long-term to the humanitarian aid vessels who will want to use this port, so there has been progress this morning, but of course everything certainly here has stopped while this situation is dealt with. Everything is being done to make progress at the best pace possible, but there is no point in moving on if the situation here has not been resolved 100 percent.

BROWN: It is just this -- it is a breathtaking moment to know that wherever there is a TV on a newscast anywhere and everywhere in the world.

CLARK: It is good as long as there is no TV in that ...

BROWN: ... right ...

CLARK: ... showing where our Marines are ..

BOWDEN: ... Okay, let me tell you what we have here. First of all, on the personnel side, I am part of an MVED which contains six people. There is myself, there is Mike Donelly {ph), my cameraman, you have already mentioned. There is another guy called Vic Donelly (ph), who actually works for ITN. He is here, too. We have Pete McDonald (ph), who is a Sky engineer. We have Simon Walker (ph), who is from The Times newspaper photography here with us and a telegraph writer, Tim Butcher (ph), who is also here with us. We have moved with 3 Commando Brigade headquarters pretty much everywhere they have been deployed. The way we get this back to you, obviously we have a camera and a microphone.

This is then hard-wired (ph) via a wire back to a satellite truck, which is just the other side, the safe side we hope, of this berm here, where Pete McDonald (ph) has fired up the satellite. It goes up to a satellite somewhere up in the sky and is downloaded in the UK and piped to you by the various television organizations. That is the layman's guide and is no more than I understand, Simon.

BROWN: Pretty good description of who he is traveling with. Those are all British organizations, ITN, Sky is a British cable operation ...

CLARK: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just a comment, if I could ...

BROWN: ... please ...

CLARK: ... right here on this as I am watching the action. No, what you are looking at first of all is coordination between the dismounted Marines that are there and the tanks so that in itself is nice achievement, because now you have got two different angles, two different views of course. You are looking at guys who have got the right equipment, they are taking their time, they are working patiently. What you don't want on a battlefield like this is a lot of impetuosity, is a lot of impetuosity ...

BROWN: ... You have got to do that ...

CLARK: ... These guys are taking it easy ...

BROWN: ... okay ...

CLARK: ... They take it slow, work it. There is no reason to ...

BROWN: ... to rush ...

CLARK: ... to push the pace at this point based on the situation as they have it ...

BROWN: ... right. Because eventually you will overcome it, whatever it is over there ...

CLARK: ... right. You are going to get in -- you are going to work your way in, you are going to do it safely. There is no -- whether you do it five minutes from now or two hours from now ...

BROWN: ... it doesn't matter ...

CLARK: ... it doesn't seem to matter based on what we can see in the situation here.

BROWN: Because the outcome is going to be the same ...

CLARK: ... right.

BROWN: And any impetuousness here puts people at risk.

CLARK: The greatest source of casualty on the battlefield is ...

BROWN: ... yes ...

CLARK: ... soldier impetuosity.

BOWDEN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about what happens next, what are they going to do, what is their next task. My life and the lives of all of these people around me may well depend on that being kept a secret and I, for one, am not about to (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but notwithstanding that we are allowed to film pretty much anything and everything.

BROWN: Again, for those of you who have been -- as probably many of you who are concerned, the senior officer in charge of this unit has the authority under the embed rules to pull the plug in a moment like this and he has decided not to.

BOWDEN: Let me shout across here and see if anybody knows. Excuse me, gentlemen, do we know who this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) vehicle is? I don't know whether heard that, "Not yet. We are trying to get positive ID on it right now", one of the US Marines just told me.

That's it. It is very much stop and start. There is no point, and there would be a lot of outcry I suspect in living rooms across the world if it were seen that these Marines were simply opening up on anything that moved. That may well be a non-hostile vehicle. It may well have some friendly coalition forces in it. Apparently, there is some talk that we may have an ambulance coming into the area at the moment. You can probably see on the road there appear to be vehicles moving both ways. That is actually behind the targeted building that this morning has been all about, so presumably is not causing too much concern here. It is what is happening almost in the foreground, if you like, that people are dealing with here.

It is very hot, as you say, Simon, and as you know. They try to take on water. Every now and again an instruction will go out saying they can drink 50 percent of their canteens, get some water inside them. Dehydration is very rapid in these conditions. A lot of these men have got their MVC (ph) suits on, their are anti-chemical weapon suits on as well, as well as all of their webbing, the weapons they are carrying. It is not easy to operate in these conditions when there is nobody firing at you. It is more difficult, of course, adrenaline will be pumping, there is a life-threatening situation here, so it is very, very difficult to operate in these conditions. Certainly, for the soldiers, marginally less so for us, obviously, because we are just a few yards back from what is de facto the front line, but it is very hot, very difficult, very dusty, and the sand, as you know, and dust gets into everything.

CLARK: When you are in a situation like this, you can't have enough eyes on that target.

BROWN: Yeah.

CLARK: You need 10, 20 people with binoculars looking. It is a very complex and difficult piece of terrain from this range, and you want to know everything about it.

BROWN: Do you have feel for how far they say this range (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...

CLARK: ... maybe sixteen, I said twelve hundred meters. It could be maybe sixteen hundred, eighteen hundred, maybe two thousand. It is really -- it is hard to tell on the television, but it -- it is beyond ...

BROWN: ... about 10 football fields ...

CLARK: ... yes. It is beyond small arms' range (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rifles.

BOWDEN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was less of an issue than securing this port here in Umm Qasr. The tanks appear to be moving, I am being told. Now you can probably see it. I don't know whether they have been told to move in or whether they are moving in just to find out what is happening. Again, I will try and see if I can get some more information here, if you will hold on for a second. Do you know why the tanks are moving, guys? Okay, we don't know up here why the tanks are moving in, but it is fairly obvious. You can see it for yourselves. That line of tanks is moving in very slowly towards where that fire was coming from earlier on this morning.

I have to tell you that for probably the best part of an hour or so now there has been no fire out of that area. There have been a number of vehicles sighted. They have been checked out, assessed whether they were friendly or hostile, and at least one of those has been taken out and we know that there are three Iraqis dead in and around that vehicle. So you are seeing it unfold here. You know as much as I do now. The US Marines here on this berm do not know certainly, as far as we can ascertain, exactly what the orders are for those tanks. It is looking to me, as I look over, as if they may -- (AUDIO GAP) there was a word there about the tanks. I didn't quite catch it. Just bear with me one second. Do we know what that guy said, then?

OK, it was simply a confirmation that the tanks are inbound. You can probably see that they have speeded up now and are moving at a reasonable pace now towards what will be the target, what was the target earlier this morning. I can count one, two, three, four tanks on that road. The first one is moving more quickly than the others. They appear to be in holding. They all appear now actually to have stopped about (ph) on the second one. I am hearing in my right ear that there have been some more bodies, i.e. people, sighted moving around in the areas, too.

So, this is obviously the final push towards. I am being told now that there is a vehicle -- I think it is a vehicle -- that is flying the Iraqi flag. I don't know exactly where that is. I don't know whether Mike can see it and whether you can see it. Obviously very, very difficult here. A lot of information coming in from various sources and what you are seeing is a fairly sizable proportion of it, but obviously not everything. Difficult to know exactly what is going on now and what stage of this entire operation we are now at. Whether or not it is about to be brought to a close or whether very much we are still in the middle of it here, Simon.

CLARK: Well, here is our problem ...

BROWN: ... OK...

CLARK: ... with this. The tank is going to be probably impervious to any weapon the Iraqis might have, if there are any alive back there. But you don't know that the area is not mined and so before you go busting into it, you would like to -- you'd hope that you are not going to run over an anti-tank mine in there -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

BROWN: So what do you do? ...


CLARK: ... Well, they are going to have to sort of poke their way around in this. The tank is a good ...

BOWDEN: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) be quiet and you can watch it happen.

BROWN: General, quickly ...

CLARK: ... the tanks have good machine guns (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or maybe reconnaissance by fire.

BROWN: Just keep your eye on the tanks here.

This whole thing, apparently, has been going on for more than an hour.

BOWDEN: Well, Simon, there you saw a brief period of fighting from what looks like the second tank along (ph). Difficult to see whether that is going to continue or whether there will be any more. There is more fire going in now.

CLARK: It looks like he is working it with his machine gun doing reconnaissance by fire up there, trying to see if he can get some reaction from the target.

I can hear it.

BROWN: Just to give you an idea of the point we were making before, about this is being seen around the world and across the Arab world. These are all three on the left -- are all different Arab language television networks, Al Jazeera, Abu Dhabi TV is one. It is early in the morning across the Arab world. It is on a Sunday morning and no doubt people with TVs are seeing this live.

CLARK: Of course, the thing is we can't see clearly what they are shooting at.

BROWN: Right ...

CLARK: ... But they are looking through some very high-powered optics, so they must see either movement over there or the indication of some kind of a prepared position.

BROWN: They have certainly pounded it over the last three or four minutes.

CLARK: And at some point, somebody is going to have to walk up to it and clear it. And they will do that very carefully.

BROWN: They seem to be doing everything very carefully.

BOWDEN: Where's the bunker? Can I just ask you what's happening?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger. Right now, we just got a confirmation that we've got some pop shots. I guess somebody is trying to return fire with the tanks onto the tank silver. I believe the first tank is about to take a shot right now. There we go. Apparently, there is somebody back there apparently that wants to keep going.

BOWDEN: There go the heavy rounds.

BROWN: And one of the tanks obviously has fired heavily into that area.


BROWN: And you heard one of the troops say somebody has been exchanging fire with them. That's what that interview was.

CLARK: Right. We've seen a little bit -- we've seen some answering fire on the second tank there. We saw the dust coming up beside it. And then we heard one of the Marines say that they believe there is an enemy tank in that area.

BROWN: For good or for ill, this is where journalism and technology is in the year 2003.

CLARK: This is called "clearing an objective." It's one of the toughest parts of any military operation. It's delicate, it's dangerous, it's unpredictable, and this is not armored vehicles sweeping across a desert.

BROWN: And we said some hours ago we worried that people would see this at all, and it's just one more reality TV show. It's certainly reality, but if this were being produced for television it would have ended long ago in a big bang. This is just...

BOWDEN: I don't know whether you heard that...

BROWN: It's difficult and dirty work.

BOWDEN: ... but word has just come down the line here...

BROWN: It has to be done.

BOWDEN: ... to keep your heads down. Shots are coming out of the building still.

BROWN: It's a little bit past 2:00 in the morning here in the East. Those of you just joining us, the broadcast you're looking at, the pictures you're looking at are being literally broadcast live around the world right now -- England, Arab countries.

Some Marine units, an American Marine unit inside the important port city of Umm Qasr, and they are trying to clear an objective, to use the General's term.

The picture is provided by a British pool team.

CLARK: Aaron, one of the difficulties here, of course, is that when the Marines began this engagement, they really had no clear idea of what the size of the enemy force was. People don't announce their forces, so you could be engaging a sniper, a squad, a platoon or something.

You can tell the size of the force by the amount of fire coming out, the type of weapons that you're being shot at with. And it takes a while to develop that situation.

BROWN: We lost the picture here. Let's see if we get it back. There we go.

CLARK: And probably for the men in the tanks, they have never gone through this before either.

BROWN: And I would just make the point here...

BOWDEN: Let me give you my take on...

BROWN: ... and remind you that this is not a TV show going on out there, that anything might happen, and something very ugly could happen.

BOWDEN: ... started this whole firefight. There is fire coming from two Iraqi positions...

BROWN: And that is the nature of what we are able to do for good or for ill.

BOWDEN: Now what happened before that is that they obviously found another position in a berm, a huge sand bunker where they thought they were receiving fire from, and one of the tanks took that out first. It poured a lot of heavy machine gunfire into that position, and then some kind of cannon round which you saw as a big cloud of smoke.

Then they have moved down and are now pouring fire into the building, as you can see. There were at least two very large rounds went in with a lot of machine gunfire following it up. That is still going on now, and there are still fires going into that building.

We had a call just a few minutes ago saying, keep your heads down. Along the line there is still fire coming out of that building.

Difficult to believe I know with the kind of battering it has taken, but obviously the U.S. Marines are not satisfied that that building is safe. So they are still pounding it, and I suspect they will take it down brick by brick if necessary.

BROWN: The voice of David Bowden, who is the British pool reporter with this team.

BOWDEN: Well, if this is the counter attack, then, Simon (ph), I think it's a counter attack that we can strike off the board, because I don't think it will go on much longer. I think the people, if they are still alive in there, will either have to come out with their flag waving; otherwise, they will be killed. There's no two ways about that.

The U.S. Marines here are determined that they will use as much force as is necessary and then a little bit more to make sure that their people are safe when they go into these situations. So until they are entirely convinced that this is over, that there are no more hostiles, as they call them, in that building capable of doing them any harm, they will not let up.

As I said before, if they need to demolish that thing brick by brick to make sure, that is what they will do. There won't be much left of that building when they're finished.

CLARK: And, Aaron, this I think illustrates the enormous complexity of ground combat in these small actions. The Marines really don't know what's up there. There is no terrain board, there is no map, there is no satellite imagery for them.

BROWN: All of the advantages of a modern army not there.

CLARK: It's not there at the lowest level.

BROWN: Right.

CLARK: We always put the technology in first to help the generals, and it's working its way downward, and it's not down here yet. What they'd like to have is an unmanned aerial vehicle... BROWN: Sure.

CLARK: ... with a TV camera that can fly up there and spot those guys. They don't have it.

BOWDEN: ... mortar rounds started going into that area, and then there were two Javelin missiles strikes. The first one went long of the building that we were just looking at that is now smoking. The second one was a direct hit. It went straight into the top of the building, and we thought that that was it.

Then the tanks arrived. They parked up just a ways down the road, waited for a while, and then slowly moved in. And as the last half-an-hour or so I suppose has played out, we've seen those tanks move into position. They have taken two positions out, one in a bunker, a berm similar to the one that I am sitting in now where they thought that there was Iraqi fire coming out of. Now they are concentrating their fire on the building that we were watching just a short time ago.

But as Mike is showing you the pictures now, we have one of the U.S. Marines with big binoculars, getting eyeballs on the situation, trying to find out what is going on there. But until that building is completely clear, until everyone up here is happy that no one is in danger, then this situation will go on.

Yes, it's closer to two now, Simon (ph). They kicked off 10, 15 minutes past 8:00 local time.

CLARK: They're still engaging in there.

BOWDEN: We are now two hours into it, and it's still going on.

I think it points out quite, quite obviously that very small numbers of resistance can put up a whole barrage of problems for a very highly-trained, highly-equipped unit. The whole mission here has had to come to a halt while they deal with what is probably no more than a handful, maybe a dozen or so Iraqis, who have been firing on their position.

So whilst it might not be a huge problem in the great scheme of things, these are not vast numbers of people that have brought this situation to a halt for two hours at least. It looks like it's going to go on for a little while longer. And until this area is completely safe, and nothing is to say that this is not the beginning of maybe a series of attacks on this position, this could go on for the rest of the day, perhaps even longer than that, and all the time the next mission, the next task for the 15th-U here is having to be put on ice.

BROWN: I will tell you that General Clark, it would be the General's considered opinion that this is not going to go on for hours and days.

CLARK: But this is the task of the 15th-U. This is precisely what they should be doing, which is clearing this area, and it's unfortunate that normally you find out you have to clear an area when you get shot at.

BROWN: That's how you learn.

CLARK: That's the way you learn.

BOWDEN: ... try and drag this out and achieve nothing. These people are trying to deal with this in the most efficient, most pragmatic way possible. It's taking this long because it needs to take this long.

CLARK: Exactly.

BOWDEN: And I suspect that until they are absolutely sure, they will make sure that they have the upper hand, they have plenty of fire power to suppress any fire power that may come out of that building or anywhere else along this area of operation at the moment. The fact that we have received incoming fire from two positions does not mean that there are not Iraqis in other positions...

CLARK: Exactly.

BOWDEN: ... simply keeping their heads down, waiting until all of this is over simply to start it all up again. And until we do know that, then these men will stay here on their bellies in the dirt staring down their rifle sights.

CLARK: And there's one other thing that we probably ought to say about this. There is -- if this were World War II, you'd expect there would be somebody back there pushing these troops to get up there and get this over with. But this is not worth taking that risk for. This is a matter of a slow, methodical reduction of this enemy position.

BOWDEN: There you go. You've got that shot now.

BROWN: Is that a change in doctrine, or the fact that you already know the ultimate outcome of this war if it takes another hour or day?

CLARK: It's just common sense.

BROWN: Right, take your time. But why wasn't it common sense in World War II?

CLARK: For one thing, there were tempo problems, maneuver space problems, but maybe it was -- maybe it would have been common sense in World War II.


CLARK: As we, you know, look at battle today when you have very, very well-trained soldiers and Marines like this, they behave differently than we did in earlier engagements, and there is different technology. We're sitting here with a huge technology advantage over this Iraqi opponent. We've got better communications and more weapons, fire superiority, we've got tanks. If he has a tank in there, it hasn't shown itself, and those RPGs won't hurt these tanks. So we should conclude this action in the way that it's most advantageous to us.

BROWN: On the Marines' timetable and no one else's.

CLARK: That's exactly right.

BROWN: And RPG for people who are trying to figure that out?

CLARK: Rocket-propelled grenade. The Soviets introduced them to the world back in the 1950s and '60s when we fought against them in Vietnam. They will penetrate lightly-armored vehicles. They will not penetrate an M1A1 tank, not unless they hit it in a certain way back in the engine part.

And we want every one of these Marines and every one of the tankers in those tanks to come out of this engagement safe. We're not going to trade our men's blood to save 15 minutes in clearing this position.

BROWN: And they're peppering it still. This is a different area. This is the third area I think in the time we've seen this that they've worked. They worked a berm, they worked that building and house or building, and now they're -- it's a little hard for me to tell. It's just like a wall, isn't it?

CLARK: It looks like a wall, but you can't see...


CLARK: You can't see the depth of it.

BROWN: Right.

CLARK: You don't know what's behind it, and you can't see the movement back there that they can see with their optics.

BROWN: And again, the general a little bit ago estimated that perhaps we're looking down 10-foot ball fields or more from where these guys are to where those tanks are firing upon. But we're looking at a long lens down there.

CLARK: Right, we are.

BROWN: And sometimes it gets a little distorted in the way that the camera works, but...

CLARK: Now, the tanks have thermal sights, so they can actually see people in that kind of terrain perhaps easier than we could even with binoculars, because the body heat will probably make them stand out at this time of morning.

BOWDEN: My understanding is he's not much (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I have to confess, Simon, at the moment I'm trying to attract the attention of the staff sergeant we spoke to a short time ago to try and get an update. When he wanders back through my field of vision I will try and grab him and get him to give us a couple of words.

But it's fairly obvious from what we are seeing that they're not as yet satisfied that that area is completely free from any danger to them. They are still pouring rounds into there.

What I can see just to the right, if Mike Donnelly (ph) just pans the camera around, Mike, right down the road there, the road where the tanks are on you'll see a convoy of vehicles headed by a white four- wheel drive moving down. Now, I don't know whether they are military vehicles. I suspect they are. It looks sort of like the ones following with the lights on, Humvees, probably American military vehicles...

BROWN: Go ahead, General, if you know.

CLARK: Well, they've been -- they obviously are in communication, because they've turned away from the firing event.


CLARK: So they're under control, positive control by someone to get out of the beaten zone of the firefight.

BOWDEN: ... it may be more armor, it may be communications equipment. We simply don't know. As I say, when I can try and attract the attention of the staff sergeant, I will do so and try and give you an update.

In the meantime, I will try and tell you as much as I can see of what is going on out with the pictures that you are seeing now. Mike is showing you the great numbers of people who are laid down here, the U.S. Marines.

Bear with me one second. I have a U.S. Marine here.


BOWDEN: Can I just ask you, what's your understanding of what's happening right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we're suppressing the danger area right now with those tanks, as you can well see. We're trying to get a fire mission over there with more fires. That's all I know as far as right now.

BOWDEN: And what about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we don't know anything about any enemy yet.

BOWDEN: What about these vehicles that we can see arriving as we speak? Do you know who they are and what they're doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, their friendly forces. Now, we're moving the convoy back over here. I don't know anything else about that. BOWDEN: Thank you very much indeed.

So there you have it as up-to-date as you can possibly be from the forces here on the ground. They don't know what the situation is with the enemy in that house at the moment. They are continuing to fire on it and will continue to do that until they are satisfied that it is safe for them to go into there.

Meanwhile, a convoy that presumably was heading elsewhere is now being brought back here to the safety of the port area, which is fairly heavily fortified. This berm is a fairly permanent structure. To give you an idea, I guess it's maybe 20, 30, perhaps even 40 feet high, and there are concrete inserts into it. Now, you may remember that when we first started talking I was standing in it. I'm now sitting on top of it.

CLARK: This is the thing about this kind of action. You just can't know what's up there.


CLARK: And you don't want to expend people's lives to find out. You're going to do as much as you can from a distance. You're going to get the mortars in, the artillery in, you're going to try to make them reveal their positions, you're going go try to understand the boundaries, the size of the unit, and then take it apart from the greatest range possible.

BROWN: Because the farther away you are, the safer you are.

CLARK: And that's exactly right. And we've got the superiority here in the weapons. There's no great advantage to us to close in within the range of some of their rifles and machine guns.

BOWDEN: ... the military here that that has not happened, but that doesn't mean it may not.

CLARK: You know, and obviously this is a plan of action that this unit is putting together based on their understanding of the situation. If there was a huge -- if Patton's (ph) 3rd Army was behind...


CLARK: ... and they were racing to get through here and they were saying this, or they were being held up by this one position, then there would be maybe a different read on the situation. But that's not the case here.

BROWN: You see -- go ahead, David, and take it forward again for a second if you would. You see one of the young Americans with a video camera, one of those digital camcorders.


BROWN: And see that you've got hand -- those plastic handcuffs I think are what's on his jacket there, those little things you see at demonstrations sometimes should they encounter prisoners. That's how they'll secure them.

CLARK: Right.

BROWN: And these guys have been lying down like that for a couple of hours, while this piece of business gets taken care of live around the world.

CLARK: So when people ask, what's ground combat like, and how come the unit is stopped there...


CLARK: ... and why don't we get moving faster, this is the cutting edge of this unit. Now, other units had bypassed it, and the advance toward Baghdad is not being held up by this tactical problem.

BROWN: Just...

CLARK: But they have to solve this problem.

BROWN: You know, just to underscore that, so many times in Afghanistan, and I'm sure we would have done it here, we would talk about why is it moving so slowly, why is it moving so slowly, something must be wrong, something must be wrong, those of us who are witnessing this and as best as we are able to comprehend this will have a much greater appreciation for the complexities that determine how long things take. We're reporters and not soldiers, but we're smarter for having seen this.

CLARK: Here they are engaging again with machine gunfire.

BROWN: And this is the third area that they have fired upon.

CLARK: They're either taking fire from somewhere in there, or they're seeing movement, or they're simply trying to probe and do reconnaissance by fire, by engaging in there. We can't tell from here.

BROWN: We can't tell what exactly that building is.

CLARK: And that's the way it is in war. You can't tell. We don't know if that's a warehouse, a garage, a shell of a building.

BROWN: Again, these pictures are being provided by a British pool team. I looked at the monitors behind me literally being taken around the world.

The pictures on the left in the small box, that's Walt Rodgers, who -- our correspondent, Walt Rodgers, who is traveling with a Calvary unit. We spent a fair amount of time, but they have also been engaged in some nastiness.

Walt, if you can hear me, tell me just fairly briefly though, I need it to be fairly brief, what it is that's happening with your unit.

BOWDEN: If I can just interrupt you there, Jeremy, you may well have noticed from our pictures the tanks appear to be firing...

BROWN: Well, we lost him. Let's see if we can get it back. There it is again.

BOWDEN: ... on the third target now.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Aaron, if you can hear me, the 7th Calvary was moving forward through a city, which we can't identify at this point. They took in -- they took some fire from Iraqi units, actually a small group of soldiers. It took -- they had to call -- the 7th Calvary had to call in artillery.

I hope you can see in the distance the huge plumes of smoke going up behind us. They're turned us around. If we can get those pictures up. We have seen at least three Iraqis taken prisoner. Another Iraqi was wounded, wounded at the time, and he was being treated at a field hospital.

If you can stand by just a second. Charlie, can you point that camera up in the air? Can you -- Aaron, can you see the big plume of smoke there...


RODGERS: ... behind us?

BROWN: Yes, Walt, and...

RODGERS: All right, we -- it's obviously an oil fire.

BROWN: And, Walt, this -- so that you get a better sense of what's going on across the field here, while we are watching your pictures live, we are also watching pictures live of a Marine unit at Umm Qasr engaged in a firefight of some length of time that is being broadcast live around the world as well.

On one side of the screen we see you and your pictures, and on the other side of the screen we see the U.S. Marines engaged in this fight, this clearing operation in Umm Qasr.

RODGERS: Aaron, what you're looking at is a fire, which was detonated by U.S. artillery fire from the 3rd Squadron, 7th Calvary. They were moving north. They encountered that fire, small arms fire, and they called in either mortars or artillery. We're not sure which. Suddenly, there was a huge explosion in the distance, and you can see the big plumes of smoke going up.

Again, the 7th Calvary column is parked along the road. We have seen at least three Iraqis taken prisoner, being questioned.

They, by the way, were wearing like all black uniforms, or everything was black. We're not sure what unit that denotes. And there was at least one Iraqi soldier that was wounded.

And we're getting out of the vehicle again, perhaps clear up these pictures...


RODGERS: ... and give you just a slightly better look.

BROWN: Thank you. We've lost the -- for a moment or perhaps longer, we'll find out -- the pictures from the British pool feed. The pictures -- we've just flipped them around. OK, I know this is a little bit disorienting if you're trying to follow it, and we apologize for that, but we're trying to keep -- now, we have them both back. That's the plume of smoke Walter was talking about a bit ago.

So that's the Calvary unit now is on your right, and on the left in the small box is the American Marine unit engaged in this Umm Qasr operation.

And we hope you indulge us in the spottiness here and there of these pictures and appreciate not the little glitches, but the extraordinary achievement of being able to do this at all.

And, Walt...

RODGERS: Aaron, it's Walt, if you can hear me.

BROWN: Yes. Go ahead, Walt.

RODGERS: We're being asked to move back to the rear of the column again.


RODGERS: We moved forward to get you the pictures. Again, we are on the outskirts of a relatively small-sized Iraqi city, South Central Iraq. The 7th Calvary was moving forward, as you noticed, and then it took some fire, small arms fire. The mortars were called up or artillery of some dimension, and there was a huge explosion immediately afterwards, and then this big billowing black cloud of smoke.

Again, the Calvary is taking its position in the fields outside this city, but the very small units here are standing tight now, standing firm, and not moving forward. We were moving forward for a while, but again, the Iraqis very sporadically are putting up resistance.

And there have been at least three Iraqi prisoners taken in this engagement. I see them on the ground over there. They were sitting dressed in black, their arms folded and they were being guarded by units of the 7th Calvary.

Then behind them, we saw the U.S. Army military detachments, or the medics, taking care of one of the Iraqi soldiers who was wounded in this engagement. Again, the American strategy tactics, Aaron, seems to be to stand off with the longer-range weapons the United States has and just fire out, punching from a distance the Iraqis.

Again, we are going to turn around it appears.


RODGERS: And we're going to give you in just a second if you can be patient those pictures again.

BROWN: OK, just hang on, Walter.

Just again to orient viewers, on the left, that's Walter Rodgers of CNN and his Calvary unit that he's been traveling with now for several days. On the right, that's a group of American Marines who have been engaged in a clearing operation somewhere outside of Umm Qasr that has been going on for a couple of hours. The pictures on the right provided by a British pool. To say that we are pushing the very edges of technology here is not an understatement. We worry a little bit we're overloading you with a little bit too much. At the same time, it is not an overstatement to say that in history of journalism, there has never, ever, ever been a moment like this. And you can see over on the left now the prisoners that Walt Rodgers was talking about that had been taken. Those of you who've been with us for several days now are very familiar with this unit of Americans. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...

RODGERS: We're going to pan left for you. We'll show you the vehicles they were taken in.

BROWN: ... for a second. OK. The Cavalry unit now on your right -- you're familiar with this unit. You've traveled with them across the dusty desert when they were racing across it. You were with them in the rain and the mud last night when they encountered off in the distance, at least, some trouble. And you are with them now again today when they have taken some prisoners. Look at the difference in the armies.

RODGERS: Have Aaron come back to us so I can narrate (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BROWN: Go ahead, Walt.

RODGERS: Aaron, what you're looking at is the three Iraqi prisoners. They're dressed in black, squatting on the ground. The Seventh Cavalry has given them water. If Charlie (ph) can pan left a little, you can see the pink pickup truck that they were using as their -- as their armored vehicle. Now, you can imagine what that does if it comes up against a tank. But they have mounted a light machine gun on there -- a 7.62 millimeter, and that pink pickup truck is the -- is the kind of vehicle that the -- that the Seventh Cavalry encountered here.

If we can look further to the left, we can get more plumes of smoke still coming up. That smoke is the result of a fire generated by U.S. artillery, either mortars or the larger 155s. There was an Iraqi resistance as the Seventh Cavalry was moving up this road -- Aaron.

BROWN: OK, Walter, be patient with me now because I'm managing two -- managing two sides of the screen here. So, just -- I'll get back to you in a second.

Now, on the left side of the screen -- or David, if you want to flip them over, I'll follow you here. What has happened here now according to the British pool reporter is a Republican Guard officer or soldier -- I'm not sure which -- has surrendered. Commander has surrendered, and he has told the Americans that there are a hundred Republican Guardsmen in there somewhere or out there somewhere. General Clark, does the -- has the equation changed?

CLARK: Well, not if we can get the commander to surrender the units, ...


CLARK: ... but it shows the difficulty when you're doing a clearing operation. You would have had a -- you've got here a company or platoon that's stumbling into a larger force, and so, they did the right thing. They developed the situation, they called for armor, they've applied superior firepower to that force -- they're going to break it and take it apart piece by piece.

BROWN: So they surrender or not, the end game -- it ends the same.

CLARK: It does.

BROWN: OK, so that's where the American Marines, who are now in the large box on the right, are. A commander -- a Republican Guard commander has, we are told -- excuse me -- has surrendered, and whether he is now preparing to surrender all of his people, we will watch and see. Cavalry unit on the right, you were able -- the left, rather -- you were able to see some of the prisoners they had taken. And both of these pictures are being broadcast live from thousands of miles away in the middle of a war.

I just -- this is literally the kind of thing that we in this business have talked about for 20 years -- 30 years, probably, that some day we would have the capability -- the technical capability to cover war live. And on this day, at 2:35 in the morning Eastern Time on a Sunday, that which we used to talk about in the ways students do, has come to be.

Let's just if we can for a minute just to try and check both situations listen to the British pool reporter, David Bowden, and see what he's reporting to audiences around the world.

BOWDEN: ... across the range here at what for the moment is a fairly quiet scene -- smoke still billowing out of the building that started this all off. But the tanks are quiet -- the people here appear to be quiet. There's obviously a situation report being compiled from down there to see exactly what the state of the situation is, whether or not there's a need for more tank fire, whether or not in fact the immediate danger is over. And when and if we find out something more, I shall tell you, Simon (ph).

BROWN: Fair enough. That works for me. That's David Bowden, who is the British pool reporter. Now Walt Rodgers -- Walt Rodgers, if you can hear me, I would just simply request because we're trying to keep track of two situations at the same time, update me on your situation, but do so, please, as briefly as you can.

RODGERS: Aaron, the Third Squadron Seventh Cavalry was moving north along this road. It approached a small Iraqi city in south central Iraq. It was supposed to move forward, and suddenly it began taking fire. The column stopped. You can see the armored column in position now. The fire -- the fire ahead comes from U.S. artillery, which knocked out some sort of Iraqi installation ahead. Iraqi prisoners were taken. They were driving a pink pickup truck with a light machine gun on top and a New York P.D. -- New York Police Department bumper sticker on the windscreen of the Iraqi pickup truck, which is what these tanks encountered here.

Again, the tanks have stopped. What you're watching is a plume of smoke, the result of fire taken. Now you can see a Kiowa helicopter flying up there doing the reconnaissance. Aaron?

BROWN: Thank you, Walter. That sort of irony on top of everything isn't it I mean there's this breathtaking and historic in its own way moment and just to make it a perfect moment in the context of why this war is being fought, you come across a pickup truck with an NYPD sticker on it. You can't write movies like this.

CLARK: And if did, no one would consider it realistic.

BROWN: Right. You couldn't sell it.

CLARK: But, Aaron, as we're sitting here, I can't help but think, you know, for the guys in the military in a command center far away, they've never seen anything like this either.

BROWN: Now, they have CNN. They're watching this, I imagine, aren't they?

CLARK: I imagine they are. At least in the higher level command centers.

BROWN: And are they watching it in the way that we are watching? Or are they watching it in an operational way?

CLARK: They're getting a lot of other input, but somewhere on one of their screens, this is up there. And they're also getting the radio calls. They see all the units moving. They hear them. They've got -- made symbols on their maps, but those symbols aren't showing these tanks parked by the side of the road or those Marines sprawled out on top, and they're not dynamic. So together with all of the information coming up the chain of command, this little -- these two little nuggets could be extremely valuable. BROWN: You know, it must be in its own way you know these men and women at CentCom sitting in front of these laptops for hours and hours on end, and now they can look up at a TV screen and see what it is that they've been controlling and monitoring. And it must be -- I guess we'd make everyone crazy if we tried to put a camera in there and threw that on the screen as well, just to round off the moment. But it must be something of a moment for them as well. We can see the tank moving there on the -- on the right side of the screen.

CLARK: It's moving into the area to either accept a surrender or bring fire from a different angle and a closer range. But think about it from the Iraqi position. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) They're also watching CNN ...

BROWN: Yes, that's correct.

CLARK: ... or some Arabic station, and they are watching these tanks and these Marines reduce the Republican Guard holdout in Basra. And they're thinking -- ...

BROWN: Umm Qasr.

CLARK: ... and Umm Qasr. And they're thinking, "What's -- how are we going to succeed against this? How could we defeat this kind of technology and these kind of soldiers and Marines?" And maybe it'll help bring the war to an earlier end.

BROWN: There's again a British pool reporter, and let's just see if he's reporting now. There's another television cameraman there also we saw. And David, just for a minute, maybe we could take that full just in anticipation that something might be about to happen.

General Clark points out you can see, if you look almost dead center in your screen, an Iraqi flag waving just right between those electric wires or phone poles there. Now, there -- almost to the right edge of the screen -- just went off (ph) the screen. And now those tanks that had been just lined up are starting to move in.

Just, please, to state the obvious here, this is live and this is war, and that is a dangerous combination. And we can't assure anyone obviously that something truly hideous is not about to happen and will not be seen. And be warned.

BOWDEN: Well, that's right, but I have to say that no one is really bothered about the spin and the politics and diplomacy, if you like, of this right now. They have a situation to deal with here. They are trying to deal with it. Yes, you're right -- this will be viewed, I suspect, in Baghdad and spun up into a major battle -- a major slowing down of the Allied move forward and the fact that the Iraqi army is up and willing to take people on.

The fact of the matter is we have seen unfold in the last couple of hours is that a relatively small number we think of Iraqi troops -- we have to assume they're troops -- they could be lone gunmen -- I suspect they are some kind or organized squads -- have put down fire onto a U.S. Marine position. They have returned it 10, 50, 100-fold, and have now sent in tanks to try and obliterate the problem. But as the Colonel was saying a short time ago, this is all eating away at the clock.

The idea originally -- I go back to the very beginnings of the war -- the plan, as written down, said that this project, if you like, for the fifteenth (UNINTELLIGIBLE) should be over certainly within a day. We are now well into day three. And whilst they will say that they are secure here, this area is obviously not safe.

The Staff Sergeant has just come and squatted next to me. Maybe I can just grab hold of him before he gets a drink of water. Staff Sergeant, what do we understand is happening right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now we've got an observation team that's located on that tower right back there, and they're calling in. They've zoomed the tanks into that direction right now. They're going to do a sweep through and get a visual advice on of what's still left in their part of their infantry going in. Just want to make sure that we have an overwhelming firepower before we move in.

BOWDEN: Do you know anything about these reports that, in fact, you've already captured a Republican Guards officer and he's told you there's 120 men out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Negative. We can't confirm anything (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We're just -- right now, we're just doing what we have to do to assess the situation and as the battlefield unfolds, just respond and put down as much firepower as we can.

BOWDEN: This thing has escalated substantially from a -- from a couple of squads of what looked like nuisance value early on. This is a full-scale battle now, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's definitely reshaped itself. Until we actually get soldiers -- the Army and their tanks because I believe right now -- no, I second that -- once we get the Marine tanks onto (ph) the ground and we get some Marine infantry in there, we'll be able to get a better evaluation of what's going on.

BOWDEN: And as the problem with the third building -- that corrugated iron building -- the vanilla one over there, is that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ...

BROWN: Walt Rodgers in his Cavalry unit now -- our correspondent, Walt Rodgers -- this is under the command of a 30-year old captain, Captain Clay Lisle (ph), ...

RODGERS: Hello, CNN. You're right up front.

BROWN: ... Fort Stewart, Georgia.


BROWN: Walt?

RODGERS: There's the CO. Go over to the CO -- right over there. BROWN: Walt, we can -- we can hear you now. You're on the air.

RODGERS: Hello, hello. We've lost our IFB (ph), folks.

BROWN: OK. IFB (ph) is just -- is the way they hear us. I guess, General, we have our acronyms, too. So, Walt has lost out in the desert his ability to hear us. And so he does not know that -- necessarily know that he is on the air now, which creates a danger all of its own. But they -- they're moving out.

CLARK: Now, the advantage this Cavalry unit has over the Marines, of course, is the Cavalry unit has this -- the helicopters organic.

BROWN: Organic meaning ...

CLARK: They are part of the Cavalry Squadron. They're there, they're on the radio frequency with them, they're working as teammates when they need to check out something.


CLARK: And here in this situation with the Marines we had to send the tanks in close to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BROWN: Right.

CLARK: Where they're -- where they can't maneuver easily, where their visibility is restricted.

BROWN: OK, hang on. Bring up the British side here -- the right side of the screen.

BOWDEN: What's happening?

DEPUTY BRIGADE COMMANDER COLONEL STEVE COX: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) engaged in just clearing this part of the port once they're complete the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) next mission. At the moment, the main thing is they're just clearing out this position down here now.

BOWDEN: The next units -- they are British Royal Marine (UNINTELLIGIBLE) isn't it?

COX: They're one of the units -- yes, one of the units looking to move in and take over this place.

BOWDEN: Now, there's been much speculation that this should have been over and done with now and these guys should have been out of here already. Did you expect this kind of resistance?

COX: Well, quite frankly, the minute you cross the start line, that's when the script runs out. You can't -- you know, you can't guess what the enemy are going to do. Some people (UNINTELLIGIBLE) very good positions. The Marines are dealing with it (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's -- it always takes longer than you think. BOWDEN: But you're confident that this position is pretty much stabilizing itself now and it won't be that long before we can declare this area safe and the mission can sort of get back into gear again.

COX: Yes, these guys are doing well. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I'm very happy that it's going to be done quite soon, and then we can get on with the next (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mission.

BOWDEN: And what's the view back in the command post -- back at Camp Viking about how this whole thing -- the insertion of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Commando -- 42 Commando coming in, the 15 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- what the overall view?

COX: Well, I watched -- I was on (UNINTELLIGIBLE) commanding the team out there, and I feel delighted. All our targets (UNINTELLIGIBLE) all intact as designed. Still some sporadic resistance over in the R-4 (ph), but that's being cleared up today. So, we're pretty happy so far -- pretty happy so far.

BOWDEN: And obviously you're not going to tell me anything that's going to jeopardize the security of your forces, but what can you tell us about the plan from here on in?

COX: The main thing now is consolidation of this area. As you know, the port here, Umm Qasr, is designed to be the main humanitarian relief port. So the big game (ph) now is to get the area secure, check out the port facilities, let's get all that cleared and get some Naval units up here, and let's get some aid delivered.

BOWDEN: And there was a problem, I know or certainly fear, that the waterway may have been mined. Has that gone away?

COX: Not gone away, but at the moment the U.K. MCM (ph) group, our (ph) U.K. minesweepers, have just started on the far end of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they're starting the clearances now with U.S.M.C. helicopters and a few (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And they're (UNINTELLIGIBLE) working their way up now. North bank's been secured by (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Commando, so they're safe from both sides (UNINTELLIGIBLE) now. So that (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BOWDEN: At the risk of making you a hostage to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) circumstances here, how long then before realistically the first aid ship, unarmored, could get in here?

COX: You're quite right -- we will be hostage (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I haven't got a clue.

BROWN: All right.

COX: But the work's ongoing. We're getting there. And, you know, ...


COX: ... we'll be there as fast as we can.

BROWN: Let me ...

BOWDEN: Thank you very much indeed. Well, there you have the Deputy Brigade Commander Colonel Cox (ph) telling you exactly ...

BROWN: All right. Just to throw one more piece of information at you, ladies and gentlemen, we told you earlier there was a missing RAF -- British Royal Air Force plane -- jet. We are now being told that that plane may have been engaged by a U.S. patriot missile battery, and that would be indeed a tragedy -- friendly fire incident. And we expect to hear more from British Public Information people on that shortly. That -- and they will give us more detail, but there's no -- we can -- we can confirm that's coming from the RAF and they may give us more detail on that. And again, we would note that the British have had a tough few days, particularly given the size of the force that is there -- you know, less than -- about 15 percent of the force that's in the region.

CLARK: Well, we'll have had a tough day if this is true.

BROWN: Go ahead, General. Just ...

CLARK: I mean one of the prime requirements with air defense is not to shoot down your own aircraft, and a lot of effort has gone into that -- a lot of technology, a lot of training, a lot of procedural controls. And this is the -- this is the first time since the last Gulf war that we've had to deal with incoming missiles. We've got a very, very effective air defense system now -- anti-missile -- anti- tactical missile defense system, and I hope this hasn't -- hope this proves to not be correct.

BROWN: I hope this proves not to be correct also, but there does seem to be a pretty strong feeling that it is certainly the view now at least of the RAF that that is what apparently happened, and we'll wait.

Now, we'll throw one more voice into the mix. Jason Bellini is -- of our staff, is embedded with a Marine unit. He is about a mile- and-a-half away from what you are watching now on your screen. Jason, tell us -- tell us what you can about what is going on.

JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: OK, Aaron. Well, to be honest with you, you can't see anything from where we are. All we can do is hear, and we're hearing the sound of machine guns. It's fairly sporadic. And we've also heard some loud booms presumably coming from those tanks that are in the fight. Still trying to gather what information we can (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this is a very large port. The people that we're embedded with -- they encountered fire in the same area just the other day. And that slowed them down as they were making the march from one side of the port to the other. They fired back. They thought that they had suppressed it. They thought that the problem was already taken care of. So the people here saying it's a bit of a surprise that these guys have reemerged. Aaron?

BROWN: Jason, thank you, and we'll let you get back to gathering information, which is -- which will give us a better feel for all of this. This is an extraordinary set of circumstances that we find ourselves in yet again tonight.

There are -- this day for us began with -- and it now seems a long time ago as you watch this -- with a tragic incident at Camp Pennsylvania in the northern part of -- forgive me, of Kuwait. I've been at it a bit. In that incident, it is now alleged that an American soldier opened fire on other American soldiers, that two -- one American died in it -- 11 others were hurt, varying degrees of seriousness in the injuries, there was some -- he shot, it is alleged, two of the people in this (ph) tent and then threw a couple or three grenades. He is -- was found about 30 minutes or so later, and he is in custody and being questioned.

He is -- I'm hesitating to report something because I'm not clear I can at this point to be honest. Just let me hold on to the thought.

So that happened a long -- a long time ago, and that made it a bad day certainly for the American side. That's not the kind of thing that Central Command or anyone else wants to hear about. This is with the 101st back in Kuwait at Camp Pennsylvania. And that was -- also occurred in front of embedded reporters. Jim Lacey of "Time" magazine, in fact, who we talked to for a good long time helped carry some of the wounded to get medical attention. And again, a young American soldier, described as having recently converted to Islam, is in custody. And that story is still developing and seems like a while ago.

There was also -- Patriot missiles were also fired at another base in northern Kuwait which also took an incoming Iraqi missile. And an embedded reporter Karl Penhaul was reporting on that. Everyone's OK. The Patriots worked there.

And now we watch this scene of American Marines trying to control this spot on the earth in the desert in Umm Qasr, this important port city -- important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it is the place where millions and millions of dollars of humanitarian aid -- of food, medicine will come into Iraq as soon as it is safe. This is part of the bargain that the coalition made in engaging in this is that they would care for -- feed the Iraqi people along the way. And to do that, they have to be able to get ships into Umm Qasr, and to get the ships in, they have to control it. And what you're watching in front of you is one operation to do so. There was a sense earlier that that had been done already, but clearly that is not the case.

The American Command now says it looks like -- to use that phrase -- their phrase -- so it's not quite certain, but it looks like it was an American Patriot missile battery that hit an RAF plane that is also missing. So, it's been a complex and difficult day. There's been a tendency to see this march to Baghdad as some sort of cakewalk. General Clark points out we need to find out when this Patriot -- or this friendly fire incident -- let's describe it that way for now -- occurred, and we'll get some more information when it -- not only when, of course, but where it occurred and we're (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to get some more information on that from Central Command and our correspondent there, as well. There's a lot going on, folks, and it's going on live. I was about to say there's a tendency to look at this march to Baghdad as some sort of cakewalk, but as -- and we always say that's not the case and this is difficult and there are tricks along the way and you need to be careful in how you view it.

BOWDEN: As we've already seen this morning, very few people can cause a lot of trouble. Twenty to 25 people with hostile intent could cause even more trouble. So sorry, Simon (ph), I interrupted you there, but I thought it was important you should know that.

That's right. Whilst this on the ground here is very much a U.S. operation (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the Marine Expeditionary Unit of the U.S. Marines is for this particular conflict under the control of Three Commander Brigade Brigadier Jim Dutton (ph), the man in charge of that, and Colonel Steve Cox (ph), who we just spoke to a short time ago. He's No. 2, the deputy brigade commander. He is up here. He is looking, of course, to get in the next wave as soon as possible, so that the 15th MEU can move on to their next tasking.

But as he said to you, 42 Commando Royal Marines have already cleared one bank of the waterway up here of mines. We've got Navy minesweepers moving up the waterway, very close to us here now. They will be checking for mines.

If you cast your mind back a couple of hours, I was telling you that the naval base just to the north of here was taken by U.S. Marines earlier this morning. They came across very little resistance as they were doing that. They did find a munitions cache, perhaps not unexpected given that it was a naval base. They also found barges with sea mines in them.

The obvious inference is that if the mines were still in the barges and still, if you like, awaiting to be deployed, then they are not floating up and down the waterway potentially causing damage to any either naval vessels, or perhaps more importantly in the long term, humanitarian aid vessels who will be itching to get at the regeneration of this place here.

I don't know if you can hear that. There is more gunfire now from the back of the building. I'm going to shut up and let you watch it and listen to it.

BROWN: We have to make a bit of a shift change here ourselves here, as you watch this play out. Anderson Cooper and Carol Costello will continue to watch all that is unfolding on what is truly a remarkable and, for journalists at least, a historic moment. That we've been watching a moment that has, I suspect for many of you who have watched it with us, changed your perception. Those of you who have never been -- many of you probably have been in these things before -- but those of you who have never been in this sort of situation watching them fighting a war changed the perception of how these things go on.

And we'll probably never again say, why is it taking so long?

We'll see you again later in this day.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Perhaps we should give viewers just joining us an update of what's happening in Umm Qasr, because for the past few days we've heard that the military had taken control. But as you're seeing by these live pictures, they certainly haven't. A firefight is now going on in Umm Qasr.

You can't see the picture of the building right now, but Marines are lying on their stomachs, tanks are in the area, and apparently some Iraqi troops are holed up in this building. There was some fire, and we understand that it may be some part of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard inside.

A Republican Guard commander has turned himself in. Perhaps he'll get the rest of the troops holed up in that building to turn themselves in as well, at least we're hoping so.

Let's watch these live pictures, as Anderson Cooper joins me now on the Anchor Desk.

Of course, at the very same time this is going on in Southern Iraq with the 7th Calvary, where our Walter Rodgers is, an oil well has been set on fire, and they recently picked up some Iraqis in a pink pickup truck. A machine gun was mounted on that pickup truck, and those Iraqis have now been taken into custody.

Don't know if Walter Rodgers is on the move again with the 7th Calvary. We're going to take you live there in just a moment.

But right now, we're still at Umm Qasr, that port city that's so very strategically important because, of course, the United States and Britain wants to get humanitarian aid into Iraq as soon as possible.

And as I said, for the past few days, Anderson, we thought Umm Qasr was in the lockdown, that we had taken control, that the United States had taken control of Umm Qasr, and by these pictures we see they have not.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's not so much a question of not being in control of the territory, it's more, as the military spokesmen have been pointing out, the pockets of resistance, as they call it.

Christiane Amanpour and Jason Bellini, who have been on the scene in Umm Qasr, saying that while large parts of the city are secure and in coalition hands, there are these pockets of resistance, whether they are individuals...

COSTELLO: Well, we can see something just happened by the picture shaking.

BOWDEN: Simon (ph), let me just tell you what I think is happening now.

COSTELLO: Let's listen. BOWDEN: Those 20 or so figures that had been spotted on the horizon are now moving towards the convoy we were talking about before, and they just told the convoy that they should dismount and take up defensive positions.

Mike Donnelly (ph), my cameraman, has just asked one of the U.S. Marines if they can point out exactly where all of this is happening. We're just having a quick look down our lens now just to make sure we're pointing in the right direction.

So you are seeing pretty much a Marine's eye view of this situation as I speak to you. Difficult to see with the naked eye exactly what's going on, but a great flurry of activity, obviously concern that these people may be moving onto this position. Of course, the ultimate fear is that these people are moving towards the convoy because they want to surrender to them, but until we know one way or the other, the Marines here are very keyed up, need to make sure that they are safe.

And as I say, I'm not looking down the lens now. We have a U.S. Marine who is actually looking down our camera lens and showing you the pictures of what is concerning them. So you are getting it straight from the horse's mouth, if you like. They are pointing the camera at what is exercising them.

I don't know what you can see, Simon (ph), but to me, very little has changed, but they're obviously concerned about these people who are moving along.

COSTELLO: The picture you're seeing on the other side of your screen is from Southern Iraq from Walter Rodgers. We understand shortly he'll have an interview with the tank commander to tell you exactly what happened in that incident with the 7th Calvary.

But again, let's listen in to what's happening in Southeastern.

Walter -- are you there now?

RODGERS: Yes, I'm here, Carol.

What you're looking at now is the 3rd Squadron, 7th Calvary's commander, Lieutenant Terry Ferrell. He's meeting with his officers -- that is the men who control or who command the rank and Bradley platoons. They are assessing the combat situation ahead of us at this point.

Again, we're on the outskirts of a city in South Central Iraq. The Calvary tried to move forward a short while ago. At some point, they encountered some resistance. There was artillery fire called in.

And you have been watching all morning the big plumes of black smoke. I think you can see it there now over the top of that main battle tank. That is what has slowed down the Calvary again.

There has been resistance. We've seen at least three Iraqi prisoners taken. At least one Iraqi soldier was wounded, and he has been treated by the U.S. Army medics.

By way of a footnote, a short vignette, the Iraqis who were taken prisoner were driving a pink Japanese pickup truck with a light machine gun mounted on the back. On the wind screen was bumper sticker that said, "New York PD." This is what the Iraqi army was driving around in.

We'll get back to you when Colonel Ferrell is free -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Walter, tell us more about this pink pickup truck. That must have been a bizarre sight for the troops.

RODGERS: It was indeed. It was a pink pickup truck, your normal Japanese issue, but the Iraqi soldiers had mounted a 7.62mm light machine gun atop that. Palestinians have been doing that for years when they were Beirut. And on the right corner of the right wind screen, that is the windshield, there was a bumper sticker...


COOPER: OK, Walter, I'm sorry. We're going...

RODGERS: The Iraqis were driving around with...

COOPER: Walter, I'm sorry. We're going to have to interrupt. We're going to -- you're seeing Walter Rodgers' pictures on the right- hand side of the screen.

On the left-hand side of the screen, we're going to go back to those pictures, Umm Qasr. We are being told the tanks are taking up defensive positions. This has been a situation which has been going on for over an hour at this point, perhaps as many as two hours or so before we joined it.

You see a tank there in the middle of your screen taking up what we believe to be defensive positions. These images are being taken around where the camera is, which is taking these images, if you're just joining us. There are a number of U.S. Marines under British command deployed. They are literally laying on the ground, weapons at the ready, looking through telescopes and looking through all of their binoculars, trying to get a sense of how big the enemy position is, how many enemy forces there are.

COSTELLO: Yes, I wish the camera would pan over, so that folks could see the building in there for those viewers just joining us. And the interesting thing about this is that Republican Guard commander who surrendered at Umm Qasr, because we had thought previously that Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard wouldn't be in this part of Iraq defending it.

COOPER: And according to a British reporter, a Republican Guard commander who surrendered at Umm Qasr has said that there are about more than 100 or so Republican Guard holed up. Whether or not that is at this location we are not exactly clear at this point, but again, you are seeing tanks taking up defensive positions. And what you're really seeing overall is a very methodical, very carefully orchestrated attempt by the Marines in this instance to secure this area, and this is what is happening in Umm Qasr, or it has been happening over the last 24-48 hours or so. These small-scale operations, mopping up as they often say, trying to root out and deal with, whether it's by apprehending or frankly killing the pockets of resistance which have been using small arms fire.

Again, on the left-hand side of the screen you are seeing Walter Rodgers' images, the troops assembling, talking, the 7th Calvary in South Central -- in central -- somewhere around South Central Iraq. The right-hand side you are seeing Umm Qasr.

COSTELLO: And General Clark said something very interesting, you know, when people ask, why isn't the U.S. military moving faster, why can't it approach Baghdad even faster? And these kinds of firefights are the reason why. They take so long to put under control, because you just don't know what is happening. I mean, literally there could be, what, 100 Iraqi soldiers in this building that we can't see right now. But it's the large concrete building. They don't know what's inside.

COOPER: General Clark also making a very important point, and a point he stressed to me right as he was leaving, is that if the Iraqis believed that by doing these sorts of sniping incidence they can stop the larger advance of U.S. forces, they are simply mistaken. This is a small unit, a small detachment of Marines which is dealing with this small encounter. The larger unit, the larger forces have basically just bypassed this area and continued to move onward.

So obviously the strategy any time you have a small unit operating doing some sniping kind of operations, their objective is to slow down, is to harass, is to delay.

General Clark making the point that if that is what they think they are doing, they are mistaken.

COSTELLO: Of course, we don't really know if they have a strategy, because at this point, we're still not clear if Saddam Hussein is in command of his troops. Perhaps that Republican Guard just happened to be in the building and saw the military troops approaching. We just don't know as of yet.

COOPER: OK, there has been a lot also happening elsewhere throughout the region at this point.

We're going to go to Tom Mintier, who is joining us on the phone. We're going to stay with these pictures in Umm Qasr, and you may see Walt Rodgers' pictures pop up again on the left-hand side of your screen. Actually, I think we have a picture of Tom Mintier. We're going to see him come up very soon on the left-hand side of our screen.

Tom -- what's the latest you can tell us about this apparent incident of friendly fire? TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we can tell you is that the British have confirmed that they believe a Patriot missile took out one of their warplanes in the skies over Kuwait. Several hours ago, the British reported, confirmed reports that one of their warplanes was indeed missing.

And now within the last few minutes a British spokesman has told me and confirmed to CNN that they believe a Patriot anti-missile missile was responsible for downing one of their aircrafts in the skies over Kuwait. So if indeed this proves to be true, this was probably one of the most horrific friendly fire incidents that we've seen not in this campaign, but in the last Gulf War as well.

Reports early on from the British, they had a plane missing, and now they are confirming that they believe this British military aircraft was taken out by an American Patriot missile battery located inside Kuwait. Again, a Patriot missile apparently downing a British warplane somewhere over Kuwait -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, we want to follow more about this with you, but we're going to have to wrap it up with you, because we have with Walt Rodgers a tank commander who is available. So, Tom, we're going to hopefully come back to you, because we want to talk more about this.

Let's go to Walter Rodgers now in South Central Iraq -- Walter.

RODGERS: Hello, Anderson.

What your pictures are showing you now is Lieutenant Colonel Terry Ferrell, commander of 3rd Squadron, 7th Calvary. He has been briefing his men for the past 20 minutes or so on the order of battle as it has unfolded.

We're expecting him at any moment. We thought he was finished just then. He still is getting questions from his tank commanders, so I'm going to go back to you, Anderson, and I'll come to you quickly again when Colonel Ferrell walks our way.

COOPER: All right, well, let's just stay with you, Walter, for now. We were talking to Tom Mintier about this incident of friendly fire. But if we could, we'll just try to stay with you as long as you're available.

What is the situation exactly now?

RODGERS: The 7th Calvary was moving up the road, approached the outskirts of a city, an Iraqi city in South Central Iraq. It began to take some small arms fire. We're not sure how substantial the fire was, because the Bradley armored fighting vehicles are far in advance of us, as well as a few tanks. The commander decided to stop the column, put it on the side of the road. They called the artillery. The artillery pounded the Iraqi positions.

And what you can see off to the right is the smoke, which has been rising from the targets of the U.S. artillery. That's been burning like that. It was burning much more furiously, oh, 45 minutes or so ago. The Iraqis were pretty well pounded down, but again, the 7th Cav. has not gotten its orders to go forward yet.

At least three Iraqi prisoners were taken. They were put in squatting, sitting positions beside the road. They were being interrogated by interpreters -- Army interpreters. They all seemed quite jovial. It was a rather friendly conversation. The Iraqi POWs were given bottles of water. They were wearing all black uniforms. That doesn't tell us anything about their unit, but perhaps someone out there recognizes the unit.

And what happened was another Iraqi soldier, again in that group, was wounded. The U.S. Army medics took him to one of their trucks, one of their armored vehicles. The Iraqi soldier was being treated. I cannot tell you his condition. He was too far away, 50 meters away, and we couldn't go off after him.

But one vignette, the Iraqis who were taken prisoner were driving a pink pickup truck with a light machine gun mounted on the back of that when they were put out of business. They must not have put up much resistance; otherwise, they would have been taken out very, very quickly.

You can see Colonel Ferrell with the 7th Calvary's officers, sipping his coffee over there -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Walter, well, we're going to come back to you when you have the colonel.

And let's a little bit about what's going on in Umm Qasr, Carol, with General Clark.

COSTELLO: General Clark has joined us, and thank you so much, because I know it's been a long night for you, but extraordinary developments are happening overnight tonight on Sunday into Monday -- oh, it's still Sunday. It's Saturday into Sunday. I get mixed up on my days.

What are we seeing in Umm Qasr right now?

CLARK: Well, this is -- they're basically trying to clear the area. In other words, when you take a position like this, this is very complicated, it's a very big area, nobody is -- unless the unit that you're defeated has total control, it doesn't even know where all of its own people are. So somebody could surrender, but you still have holdouts.

And in this case, you may have different units. There were some Republican Guard guys in Umm Qasr, who were put in there by Saddam Hussein's top commanders to stiffen the resistance. Apparently, they did not surrender.

So they were shooting at the road when people were moving by. These Marines were on a routine clearing mission trying to really clean up the area and move on north when they came under fire this morning.

COSTELLO: And what do you make of the commander turning himself in of the Republican Guard?

CLARK: Well, I think he recognized he's in a hopeless situation, unless it's a trap.

COSTELLO: Yes. We're going to go back to Walt Rodgers now, because we understand he does have the commander of that tank unit.

Walter -- are you there?

RODGERS: Yes, Carol, I'm standing here with Lieutenant Colonel Terry Ferrell. He's the overall commander of the 3rd Squadron, 7th Calvary.

Colonel Ferrell, can you give us an idea of what the action has been this morning, how has the combat unfolded, please?

LT. COLONEL TERRY FERRELL, 3-7TH CALVARY: For approximately the last 24 hours in and around this objective area, we've been dealing with a substantial light infantry force armed with RPGs, mortars and air defense weapons systems. They've been very protective of the locks, the roadways that run around the city. As we've gone through and fought our way through to secure those to facilitate our movement into zone.

RODGERS: Obviously, they are still out there. I think those are 155s we're hearing in the rear, aren't they?

FERRELL: Yes, they are. They are still there. There's still an effective force out there that we're fighting through. There's been a lot of success on the part of this squadron throughout the night to allow freedom to maneuver on these locks. And now we're preparing for another operation that will force us to push through this area, and we're just prepping that. That's what you hear now.

RODGERS: What was the unit size that you faced over there? Do you think it was battalion-strength? And were you surprised by the resistance the Iraqis put up?

FERRELL: No, I was not surprised by the resistance at all. I mean, they're fighting, and we expect them to fight. It was about a battalion-size, approximately 300 dismounts or more with RPGs and mortar systems. We encountered one or two light armor systems, but predominantly an ADA (ph) system that's had an impact on the air coverage that I usually work.

RODGERS: How significant has their resistance been in slowing your forward progress?

FERRELL: It has not slowed by forward progress. Actually, I'm ahead of schedule of where I thought I would be today. By moving later this afternoon, I will be 24 hours ahead of what I thought I would be doing, working well through this, because it is a light force. I'm a very armored force that we've had no impact from their fight. We just have to search them out and destroy that force.

RODGERS: Is the size or the concern about American casualties in any way affecting your battle plan as it unfolds? That is to say the tanks are not moving as fast-forward as they might?

FERRELL: No, negative. We're moving at the pace we need to move. The key here is the light force. I'm an armored force. I have to find them. Then I have to go to them. They've done a very good job, or of working in and around this environment of using ambush positions or built-in positions that allow them to maintain cover and concealment.

The tanks and Bradleys are actually moving a lot closer than I would normally see just so that we can find them.

RODGERS: That black column of smoke up there, what was the target when the artillery popped that one?

FERRELL: We destroyed two air defense systems at that location earlier in the wee hours of this morning. And when we went in to check VDA (ph), we actually discovered there was an ammunition dump, a very sizable ammunition dump at that location, so we destroyed that as well.

RODGERS: And will we be moving forward again in the near future?

FERRELL: We will be moving forward here in the very near future.

RODGERS: Lieutenant Colonel Terry Ferrell, commander of 3rd Squadron, 7th U.S. Calvary, thanks very much for talking with us.

FERRELL: Thank you.

RODGERS: Back to the Hummer.

COOPER: Walter, if you can hold onto the colonel, General Clark is here...


COOPER: ... and he wanted to ask a question.

CLARK: That's OK.

RODGERS: He's gone.

COSTELLO: Well, maybe Walter Rodgers can answer your question, General.

CLARK: Well, Walter, let me ask you this. I think...

RODGERS: Hello, General Clark.

CLARK: Hello. It's good to talk to you. You've been doing a great job out there, and we've been very appreciative of what you're doing with the 3-7th Calvary.

RODGERS: Thank you, sir. Nice to be...

CLARK: Let me ask you this. RODGERS: Thank you, sir. It's nice talking to you.

CLARK: We're watching -- we heard Colonel Ferrell now brief what he found up there, about 300 infantrymen dug in using the terrain. What kind of -- how were they doing it? How is it that they're concealing themselves so well in that terrain? Can you tell us anything about it? And did they have effective command and control, or were they just sort of -- were they just abandoned there?

RODGERS: My assumption was they had some effective command and control, because remember, the 7th Calvary has known that that battalion-sized unit has been out there for nearly 24 hours now. At first, the 7th Calvary was not sure of the size of the Iraqi forces out there, but it later became determined -- I knew and reported as of about 12 or so hours ago that it was approaching battalion size.

At one point, we heard that the artillery and the Kiowa helicopters, which you see flying in the distance, took out about 180 of the Iraqi soldiers, killed them. But that's fairly stiff resistance out there.

There have been reports we can't confirm, but in other aspects of this theater that the Iraqis had moved Republican Guard forces in to back up and put some spine into these Iraqi units which are out in front of the 7th Calvary -- General.

CLARK: Do we know what unit -- Iraqi unit this was, Walter?

RODGERS: At this point, we don't know, but as you heard the general say, and I won't go further than what he did about our location, but there are canals ahead of us. And what the Iraqi unit has done, it has tried to use these natural obstacles as a wall...


RODGERS: ... to try to stop the advance of the 7th Calvary.


RODGERS: Again, they've only taken a prudent pause.

Yes -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Walter, I'm sorry. I'm going to have to interrupt. The Iraqi Iraqi information minister, Saeed, right?

COOPER: Sahaf.

COSTELLO: Saeed Sahaf is speaking now, and he's talking about Umm Qasr where there is a firefight ongoing. Let's listen to what he has to say about this.


MOHAMMED SAEED AL-SAHAF, IRAQI INFORMATION MINISTER (through translator): This is the fourth day of this military aggression that is being perpetrated by the superpower, accompanied by Britain. This is the fourth day, however, and they've been lying to the whole world. But the media has been having to refute their claim, their claim that Umm Qasr was under the control (UNINTELLIGIBLE) destroyed, and they said now we only control the harbor. And today, clearly the pictures show that they're not in control of the harbor.

I would like to tell you that the fighters and resistance are heroes, and Umm Qasr are teaching them a lesson. Those American and British mercenaries will face the ultimate death, and fighting is under way and very intense in Umm Qasr, which is not far from that desecrated Arab land where the British and American invaders are in Kuwait.

There is only a fence between Umm Qasr and the other side. Iraqi fighters for the fourth day are slapping those gangsters across their face. And when they flee, they will kick their backsides. Therefore, the battle is continuing, and those coward mercenaries (UNINTELLIGIBLE) death in the place, and they can't say how the Iraqis are resisting and defending their land in a small part of their country, in a small corner of their country.

(not through translator): In English, I will brief you on a few points, and at the same time, I will present to you our military spokesman, General Hazim Alowi (ph). We will add his efforts and all of the information he has to our daily briefing to you.

COSTELLO: We're going to jump away from that right now.

We've just got word from the British reporter on the scene in Umm Qasr that the armor is being pulled back, and that may -- well, let's ask General Clark.

What might that mean that they're pulling back now? Could it mean an airstrike?

CLARK: It could mean an airstrike. It could mean heavy artillery in there. We're not quite sure what the armor saw when it went in there. To be honest with you, it made me a little uneasy, because I never like to see tanks get into close quarters like that where they can't traverse the gun tube, and they don't have the ability to maneuver.

And the tanks, part of the tank's protection, especially the M1A1 tank's protection, is its speed. When it's in the open, it moves.

COOPER: I mean, what I assume is what is so difficult in a situation like this, if the tanks are sort of limited by the space, you also don't want to send in troops. I mean, you don't want to send in ground forces, because...


CLARK: The ground forces don't have the protection.

COOPER: Right. CLARK: So in this case, the commander did the right thing. He put the tanks in there enough to be able to see what was going on, and he recognized this, for whatever reason that he's not going to be able to reduce this position with machine gunfire.


CLARK: And it looks like he's going to call something else.

COSTELLO: So when airstrikes begin, of course, their target will be that building where these 100 or so Iraqi soldiers are holed up.

CLARK: Well, that's the question. It might be the building. But it might be -- it might be some dug-in position behind that we can't see. And this is what makes ground warfare so difficult, and it's really why this is such an amazing episode we're watching.

The men from this position had -- they really had no idea of what's around those trees, no more than what we can see. They don't know anymore really than we do about it.

COSTELLO: Yes, I wish we could drop the banner for just a second, so folks could see that those are Marines, armed, lying on their stomachs, pointing their guns towards those trees back in the distance.

CLARK: And they haven't moved for about three hours from that position.

COOPER: The information minister, which is always an interesting title I think in his case, basically says that this is a sign of the resistance that they are putting up, and that they are able to halt U.S. military operations. Is that true?

CLARK: Well, he's partially right. It is a sign of resistance. But what has to be acknowledged is that this is a very, very small element of the U.S. force. And the rest of the U.S. force is still moving, and moving north toward Baghdad. He's not delaying anything here by the resistance. This is going to be over with, the people that fought are either going to surrender or die very shortly here.

And this is the routine task that you do. After you seize an objective, you have to secure it, you have to clear it of the enemy.

COSTELLO: And this is an example of what we're going to be seeing for the duration of this war, don't you think?

CLARK: I think this is a foretaste of what we're going to see in the built-up areas on the outskirts of Baghdad. In other words, the terrain is complex. This is not open desert. You can't look from a distance and assume that you know what's out there. Behind every rise in the ground, there could be bunker system. Within a grove of trees, you could have an enemy antitank gun or tank. And when you get resistance, you have to focus on that resistance and either eliminate it or effectively seal it off. COSTELLO: For viewers just joining us, I'm sorry to interrupt, but that building, we've been talking a lot about it since we've come on the air, and if you're just joining us, inside that building, General Clark, from your perspective, because you've been here longer than we have, what's going on inside that building?

CLARK: Well, apparently the Marines came here in the very early morning of Sunday morning, Iraqi time. And they got fire, they thought, from that building. They hit the dirt; they returned fire. It took a while to get in contact with the tank platoon. They brought the tank platoon up from our right flank, as we see. The tanks came into the area; the tanks received fire, a little bit of machine gun fire. They returned fire.

They discovered that there were Iraqi soldiers in the trench line and bunker system off to the right. The camera's sweeping away from it, but off to the right. And they returned fire on that. And then they moved in front of the house. They got a little bit of returned fire out of the house. They blew part of the roof of the house off, part of -- the left side of the house has a little three-story tower on it. They shot the tower with cannon.

And then they moved into what looks like the courtyard or the environs right around the house. All four tanks went in there. They met a Republican Guards commander who reported that he was going to surrender. They then backed out.

And now we understand, we don't know whether it was a surrender of one person, surrender of a unit. Apparently it wasn't a surrender of a unit.

And so this is the sort of fog of war and the friction of war, down at the bottom.

COSTELLO: So now those tanks have been pulled back, and we don't know exactly what's happening next, but we can guess.

CLARK: Presumably they're going to need more fire power to deal with that force there. Presumably it did not surrender. We did not see a bunch of guys sit down or come marching out.

COOPER: And if an air strike is called in, what is the process for that? How long does it take and how does it work?

CLARK: Well, the unit will go through its chain of command, one or two levels up, and there'll be a liaison officer there who is on an Air Force or a Marine air net who will actually talk the aircraft in. Then they'll either use the grid coordinates of this building with the reference of what it is around the building they're attacking, or perhaps they'll have a laser designator and actually put a laser spot where they want the bomb to be dropped. It'll be done with a visual identification of the target.

COSTELLO: One moment, we're going to go back to Walter Rodgers who is somewhere in south central Iraq with the 7th Cavalry.

You have an update for us, Walter, what is it?

RODGERS: Yes, Carol, I was talking with an officer in the 7th Cavalry here about the kind of resistance they're meeting on the road ahead of us. What you can see is that big plume of smoke rising, that was an Iraqi ammunition dump. The problem with the advancement at this point is that when the Kiowa helicopters, the reconnaissance helicopters, go forward, they're taking an enormous amount of small arms fire in the direction of that smoke cloud. We do not know how many Iraqi soldiers are still up there.

But one soldier described the situation that when the Kiowa helicopter flew over, it was akin to, in his words, "Black Hawk Down."

Now none of the U.S. Kiowa helicopters have been shot down, but anyone who saw that movie can attest to how much fire these helicopters are coming under when they move forward.

General Clark was earlier asking two questions, one of which we have the answer to. That is, the nature of the cover which the Iraqis have taken. It's a small grove of trees with mixed buildings. It's very difficult to see the Iraqis in that position, but their position is a small row of trees and much building.

Now, the unit, we've tried to find out...

COSTELLO: OK, Walter, we're going to break away now and go back to Umm Qasr.

COOPER: We're told an air strike may be coming; that may be why we're seeing some movement of this cameraman in front of the lens. Again, this is a situation we've been watching now for several hours.

What should we be looking for, General Clark?

CLARK: Well, the first thing you're going to see is the bomb hit. Unless the cameraman rotates up and you can see an aircraft. But these -- this aircraft could drop from 20,000 feet. You might not see the aircraft drop that bomb. It depends on the size of the aircraft.

COOPER: They're apparently warning everyone in this scene. That's why you saw the cameraman get up to get behind a wall. I assume that's for protection from any fallout of the bomb.

CLARK: Yes, well this is a 2,000 -- if it's a 2,000-pound bomb, it's got quite a large danger zone around it.

COSTELLO: Yes, I was just going to ask you that. I mean, will a protective wall really protect them?

CLARK: It will, but you'll still feel -- probably from this distance -- and again, I can't exactly say the distance, maybe 1,000 meters, maybe 1,200 meters, maybe 1,600 meters out to that house. It's really hard to say through the camera. But, you'll...

COSTELLO: You're switching back to your military measurements, in meters.

CLARK: We always use meters. And you should feel the shock when it comes in, if it drops on that house, with a 2,000-pound bomb.

COOPER: You know, it's kind of hypnotic watching these pictures. I mean, as we've discussed, this is unprecedented, just seeing this kind of thing, especially for the American public.

What does the camera not capture? I mean, for the Marine who is lying on the ground, watching this through a scope, who has been laying there for two-plus hours in the heat and in the fog of war, what are we -- what are we missing?

CLARK: Well, you're getting a good wide-angle view here, but you don't have the optics to be able to really see what say of tank site would see looking at that. And the key in a battle like this is you need a lot of eyes on the target. And you have to look very, very closely at the target; you have to study it. And you may not at first see what's there. And it takes a lot of different people looking from a lot of different angles.

The other way to do it, of course, is you can just start walking toward the target. And at some point, people get hit if they're still there. Now, we don't do that anymore. So we try to really distribute binoculars down, we try to use optics. We could have brought something like we have here in this case the OH58 Delta, that the 37 Cav has, we could have brought an OH58 Delta in. And it's got great optics. It could hover, it could move from angle to angle, and really tell us what's out there.

COSTELLO: So whatever information is gathered in those ways goes back to the marines who are lying there on their stomachs on the ground, somehow?

CLARK: Well, we hope it does. But we're not sure exactly what the information is that's been exchanged between the tank platoon and the marines. That's on the ground. That's always an issue. Because everybody is very busy. These radio nets are full of discussion all the time. And it's push to talk. And so it's not like a telephone. One person talks, everybody else listens. And people are fighting to get on to these nets normally and explain what they need, what they see, where they are and so forth. And this is very stressful...

COSTELLO: And a lack of clear communications -- here come the planes now.

CLARK: Unless the pilot is taking ground fire -- and I can't tell whether that's crackling of the camera or ground fire coming up -- unless he's taking ground fire, there's nothing to keep him from going around and around that target until he really sees where he should put the ordnance. So he may make a couple or three passes to make sure he's really understanding the situation.

COSTELLO: And he probably knows there's nothing to fire at him from the ground, because the marines on the ground have communicated that to him, obviously. CLARK: The marines don't know that. In other words, there could be surface-to-air missiles in here. And there could be a 14.5 millimeter antiaircraft gun in there that hasn't been exposed. You're always operating here with relatively limited knowledge in ground combat.

COSTELLO: Not that I'm -- because I am not a military expert -- but just flying around up there above the target would be frightening, at least in ...

CLARK: You have to fight and take risks to get information in ground combat. The information is not given. It's pulled out.

COOPER: What kind of plane would likely be involved in -- I mean, if it is an air run, what kind of plane are we likely to see?

CLARK: Well, if it's a British airplane, it could be an AV8. It could be a Marine AV8-B, which is a Harrier jet. It could be an F-18. It could be anything, really, that's available. The air battle captains will scramble the aircraft, divert here. This is a troops in contact kind of an air support mission, so it should take priority.

COOPER: Are there flight -- I mean, just sort of going around in the air space all the time that can be called upon to go in to target one particular scene?

CLARK: At this point in the battle, there probably are. It's called Push close air support, PUSHCAS we call it. And you launch aircraft without giving the pilot a specific target. He goes up into an orbit, he tanks as necessary to maintain the orbit. And then when he's called in, he's given a target, he's talked into the target.

COOPER: So it's not a question of a jet being scrambled from an aircraft carrier or base somewhere?

CLARK: Probably not at this point.

COSTELLO: For this kind of target, would there just be one?

CLARK: Probably would be a flight of two with one doing the dropping and one doing the spotting.

COSTELLO: And on board each of those planes, one pilot, two pilots, or...

CLARK: Depends on the type of aircraft.

COSTELLO: Got you.

COOPER: And without knowing how many forces there are, I suppose they pick the ordnance depending on what they think is appropriate?

CLARK: Well, I mean, first of all, we don't use napalm. That's gone. So you've got really a choice here between cluster bomb and big bomb. And we wouldn't want to use a cluster bomb if we thought the marines needed to go through there. And if the troops are dug in on that objective, you wouldn't use a cluster bomb. So you're going for a big bomb here.

COSTELLO: Our producer tells us the planes are getting closer. It's hard for us to determine that by just hearing the audio.

CLARK: My guess is that the planes are probably orbiting up there.

They're talking -- they're talking to the people on the ground. And they're being passed information. And they're going to verify the information with their own eyes.

COSTELLO: And certainly who's ever in those buildings or behind those trees can see the aircraft, hear the aircraft, and...

COOPER: And this is the sort of thing that commanders -- I mean used to only see in military centers, I mean back in the background. When you were active duty, I mean, you just kind of observed these kind of things in war colleges and...

CLARK: You train -- you train this. This is training at Twentynine Palms or the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin. You practice getting into a situation, having a force out there, you call in the close air support and they drop for you.

But a higher-level commander, until now, wouldn't see it unless he happened to be there.

I mean one of the keys in military leadership is to go to the critical point in the battle. So if this particular enemy was holding up the division's resistance, the division commander might be here watching this.

But then of course, that's not the case here. This is a routine sort of clearing the zone. We're going to reduce this enemy force; it's either going to surrender or be destroyed. We're going to do it without losing any of our own forces.

COSTELLO: I just can't -- I can't imagine how tense things must be out there. I'm feeling tense, and I'm here in Atlanta, Georgia. But just waiting for something to happen, and hearing the planes up there.

CLARK: It's -- war is either boring or tense and dangerous. When it's boring, people are out there wishing something, they could sort of make something happen. And then in a case when it's really tense, they wish it weren't, they weren't there.

This is OK here. The problem here is to keep the attention level. The troops are tired. These marines have worked hard, and they've had interrupted sleep. And so they're in a position where they've got to be at utmost attentiveness, focused on this position, continuously.

COOPER: Is there any sense -- I mean, we may not know, simply, but how many forces are involved in this? I mean, we've seen, you know, a dozen or so marines probably in the immediate vicinity of the camera. Any sense of how large an operation this is?

CLARK: Well, we can't -- we don't know the size of the marine force. It's at least a platoon. It may be a company.

COSTELLO: So explain a platoon, how many?

CLARK: Maybe for the marines maybe 35 troops, 40 troops.

But -- and that's what I've seen, but this could be part of a larger force here. And the whole force could be focused on this, for all we know.

COOPER: Now, earlier we had seen a patrol coming down the road. It was to the right of where the camera is now. Then they seemed to break away and sort of move off. That I guess a sign that operations in this area haven't come to a complete halt, that things continue to move on...

CLARK: Of course, they just bypassed where the fighting was. But it's a good sign for the marines, because it shows they have positive command and control of the activity that's in that area.

COOPER: It also shows the level of communication...

CLARK: Exactly.

COOPER: ... which is obviously a good thing.

CLARK: Exactly. Right.

COOPER: It's fascinating to watch. There's so much had been made in the last war about the antiseptic nature of the pictures we saw. It seemed so far away; it seemed -- this is a completely different thing. And it will be interesting to see in the coming days and weeks what sort of an impact that has, both on the military planning and the...

CLARK: Well, this is why we argued so strongly to have embedded media. In 1991, the greatest tank battle in history was never covered by the press because the United States Army didn't permit anyone to come forward. So there were a number of us who felt that this was absolutely essential in promoting public understanding. This is not antiseptic war; this is not clean. This is high technology war, but it's very much hands on, high risk, and...

COSTELLO: It's interesting that you say that, because you know, you hear a lot of criticism of the media for having embedded reporters and possibly putting the troops in danger by giving away too much information. But the military knows all of that, understands that. And has ways around that. And wants them there.

CLARK: Well, it's very important for the military, I believe, to have this kind of information coming out. Because the way it works is that the technology works from the top down. The first guy to get served is the commander, the general. And he only has to be in the right valley. He doesn't have to know precisely where -- the general's not calling for artillery on this point. And what you have in the Marines and the Army is you have so many lower level units that to equip them all with the technology is difficult, expensive, it's hard to maintain, it's very bad environmental conditions. It's hot, it's dirty, it's dusty. The stuff gets through around in their track vehicles. And so we started -- when we really started with technology 20 or 30 years ago, the guys down here never had it.

So this is where it has to be. These people really need the access to an unmanned aerial vehicle. If you had a small unmanned aerial vehicle and you could fly it over the battlefield and take a picture, you'd see what was there. You wouldn't have had to drive the tanks into the grove of trees and risk the tanks in there.

COSTELLO: Going back to the Iraqi troops that are holed up inside that building or perhaps around it. We have heard that -- we don't know the condition of Saddam Hussein, and maybe his military is in disarray. What does this tell you about that aspect of this war? Is it -- I mean, is this an organized thing?

CLARK: Well, first of all, you always have to respect your enemy. Human beings are human beings, and some are more courageous than others. And even in an army that's -- where it has deteriorating command and control and inferior equipment, you'll find brave people. And they will oppose you, if they determine to do that, even knowing that ultimately there's not much chance for their success and that this won't make any difference to the outcome of the war.

COSTELLO: So this may not be part of some grand military plan...

CLARK: Oh, it is, it is on the part of Saddam Hussein. He would like to stall us here. He'd like to use the vastness of Iraq to soak up the American forces, force us -- force the American forces to expend manpower.

COSTELLO: I hear yelling now.

CLARK: Use up their supplies.

I hear it coming in.

COSTELLO: Well, we heard one loud boom, but I mean, I couldn't identify what that was?

CLARK: Well, it didn't strike that target.


COOPER: I think what's happened with the camera -- and I'm just guessing here, is that we saw one cameraman moving from the lens, is that he's probably laid the camera in just a stationary position while they were told to seek cover behind some sort of wall.

CLARK: Exactly.

COOPER: So you may be wondering at home why when that explosion occurred, the camera didn't move or pan over. It's probably an unmanned camera at this point. This is a pool camera, and these pictures are literally being seen around the world, live, on stations across not only the United States but across the world, Arab stations, European as well.

This is a British reporter on the scene. And, again, right now we believe he, his cameraperson, as well as the marines who they are with have pulled back and are sitting behind some sort of a protective wall as an air strike was called in.

We heard one explosion. We don't know exactly what location is was, how close it was. It sounded relatively close.

CLARK: It sounded close. But presumably he left the target pointing at -- I mean the camera pointing at the target...

COOPER: Or the wrong target, perhaps.

COSTELLO: The wrong target, yes.

CLARK: Or, you know, they could have called in the air on several different targets, and we will be only seeing one of them.

COOPER: You know, we heard so much about this sort of sporadic contact in the last two days or so around Umm Qasr, small groups, small pockets of resistance, as it's been categorized. I am sort of wondering, and perhaps you can answer it, what is in the mind of an Iraqi soldier willing to stay behind, with all that has been put out, all the leaflets that have been dropped, all the sort of sense that the Iraqi regime's days are numbered -- let's watch.

CLARK: That apparently was some kind of ordnance, and the aircraft made a pass, we are just not seeing the results.

We don't know what the Iraqi soldiers is thinking, but probably he does not see the big picture. He's probably been told, this is the mission, you are going to stand here, you are going to fight and you are going to die for Iraq. It's important.

COSTELLO: He probably feels he has no choice.

CLARK: He probably feels he has no choice. He feels his family expects him to do it. His family has no choice.

COOPER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the level of communication they may have with Baghdad still, I mean, do we know that at all?

CLARK: Someone knows that, and the implication, or the statement from the secretary of defense has been it's deteriorating, but that does not necessarily apply to this particular unit.

COSTELLO: We are seeing on our screen now that the Republican Guard commander has surrendered, and you know, hopefully the U.S. military will be able to get some information out of him.

CLARK: Hopefully he will talk and will explain this, and maybe he'll convince someone else to surrender, and that's the way you like to roll up a position. You'd like to do it by having the enemy surrender rather than by having to dig them out in its location, because when you go into an area like this, you really have no idea what the strength of the enemy forces is anyway, until they begin to surrender.

COOPER: As you continue to watch this scene, in Umm Qasr, we are going to be joined by Christiane Amanpour who is live somewhere in southern Iraq near some oil wells which I believe in the rear of her we can see are -- seem to be alight.

Christiane, what is the latest where you are?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, just a word about the Umm Qasr situation. We have been briefed all morning that it seems they weren't completely secure. And as you can see now, they are taking care of it.

We'd also been briefed yesterday that some of those holding out as well as some of those who had surrendered had been sent down from Baghdad. Those who surrendered had told the U.S. Marines that they didn't want to fight anymore. But clearly those who are still holding out are perhaps part of those same units.

As for where we are, we are in the Rumaylah oil fields, which are the big, strategically important, economically important oil fields for Iraq. And the objective here was to take these oil fields and all the gas and oil pumping stations here intact. And that is what they've done. Essentially we've been told and we've been shown the gas/oil separation pump, which is a very important facility, which eventually pumped the oil down to where it needs to be exported.

But the thing is, what the important thing here, they tell us, is that they have secured those, they have found attempts, they say, yet, of any Iraqi booby trapping or sabotage. Of course, as you know, before this campaign started, people were being briefed very heavily that U.S. and U.K. intelligence had showed them that the Iraqis were planning to blow up their oil fields.

Well, the British Royal Engineers who have gone in here, they've started eight hours -- or rather, three hours after the actual ground offensive started. They say they have found absolutely nothing yet to show that there was any attempt to booby trap or sabotage, and certainly nothing that shows any orders were executed to do that. There have been several oil wells set on fire. But that, relatively speaking, is a minor situation.

You may be able to see some smoke in the background. That's one of those oil wells. But the important gas/oil separation pump has not been sabotaged in this area -- Anderson.

COOPER: Christiane, we are seeing not only your picture but also very close up pictures of oil wells that have been set on fire. Quite dramatic pictures from Kuwaiti TV. How are those fires going to be put out? Are the troops you're with capable of that or are they going to have to call in experts? AMANPOUR: Well, there are several methods. Again, just to put this in perspective, there is something like 500 oil wells in this area. And according to Tommy Franks yesterday nine have been set on fire. And according to the engineers here, even that number they say was being rolled back to seven. So seven out of 500 is not a huge amount. So what they've done to try to put them out, in some instances, they've turned off the valves in the gas and oil separation pump. In other instances, they have beat (ph) it out themselves.

But yes, they are waiting for private contractors who were already in Kuwait waiting to come up here, not just to see about those oil wells, but also to get the oil pumping separation -- oil and gas separation pumps working again. Because they have not been working for a while. When the U.K. forces came here they found no Iraqi engineers or anything at these places. And so essentially it's shut down for the moment. So they're trying to get that up and running as soon as possible.

And just one more issue about this. It was U.S. Marines who came up and did any combat that needed to take place here to secure these fields. And shortly afterwards, a couple of hours afterwards, in a joint operation, the British engineers and explosive disposal experts came up here and did the turning off of the valves, the securing of these oil facilities -- Anderson.

COOPER: Christiane, from a strategic standpoint, does it make any sense to light -- to have these oil wells lit on fire by Iraqi forces or is it simply a harassment, simply a delaying tactic on their part?

AMANPOUR: Well, it was -- what we've been told here, the assessment was that if that happened in terms of those very few wells, it was perhaps either an individual firing a round into one of those wells and setting that on fire at the mouth of that well, or an attempt to try to obscure the vision of the invading forces. But that has been a futile attempt.

We've also seen oil field trenches around some of these installations. And some of those we can see that the oil is being burnt off. Some of those weren't even set ablaze by the Iraqis. It was an attempt to obscure the vision. That's what we're being told by the military experts here. But it didn't have much effect on the troops who came in.

COOPER: Christiane, will those troops stay in that area to secure those oil fields or did they move on?

AMANPOUR: No. They will stay, certainly for the moment. It's now under the British command, this oil field area, as the American forces have moved up and towards and their main objective which is Baghdad. But they will stay and they will obviously be securing the area. And waiting also for those private contractors to come in and get those gas/oil separation plants up and running.

COOPER: And when the Marines moved in, do you have any sense of the level of resistance that they encountered? AMANPOUR: Yes. We were told by the British that there was a certain amount of resistance about a kilometer away from where we're standing now which is -- apparently was the main pumping station. That's where there was some resistance. There were some casualties taken as well. That, apparently, has already been released. But there were a few casualties from injuries and perhaps on U.S. fatality there in the early hours of the land invasion.

But again, that was fairly localized and up until now there's been nothing else to harass them. And they are taking control over this particular part of these important fields. And I may have already said it, but this southern field, the Rumaylah oil field, produces somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of Iraq's oil output.

COOPER: All right. Christiane Amanpour, live in southeastern Iraq, thanks very much, Christiane, I appreciate it.

COSTELLO: Before we go to Walter Rodgers in south central Iraq, Umm Qasr, we believe that the aircraft now are retreating, but we don't know that for sure. We know that some bombs have been dropped, but we don't know what they hit. We are going to keep you posted on the situation there, but right now, we want to go to Walter Rodgers with the 7th Cavalry. He has new information for us -- Walter.

RODGERS: Hello, Carol. I was told by senior officers in the 7th Cavalry just a few seconds ago that as a U.S. Army Humvee was traveling up the road, you can behind me, one of the Humvee vehicles was ambushed. It took what we believe is a rocket-propelled grenade. Miraculously, according to the officers, none of the soldiers inside the Humvee was injured. This is, again, quoting senior officers in the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry. We are not able to confirm that on our own capability, but this is coming from the top brass of the 7th Cav at this point. Again, U.S. Army Humvee, traveling up the road, going northward, it was hit by an RPG according to the officers in this unit. Miraculously, whatever, there was no one injured in that, at least to the best of anyone's knowledge at this point, but of course, that is going to make the soldiers here even more aggressive.

They have been taking considerably surprising small arms fire throughout the morning. They have been returning artillery fire and so forth. Every time you can see one of those Kiowa helicopters go forward, we are told that they are taking very heavy small arms fire from the Iraqi unit on the ground just a mile or so up the road. Those Iraqis are firing shoulder-fired missiles, small arms fire. One officer told us it was like "Black Hawk Down," except there are no Kiowa helicopters down, and so far we can report no U.S. casualties. Back to you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Walter, that Humvee that was fired on by a rocket- propelled grenade, did it destroy the Humvee? And how many soldiers are in the Humvee normally?

RODGERS: Well, I can't tell you that until I see the vehicle in terms of its destruction. I can tell you that a Humvee is a soft- skinned vehicle, and an RPG should be devastating in an attack against a Hummer like that. As I say, it's a fiberglass door. That's what we're riding in. There's no protective covering to speak of. Soldiers inside the vehicle, however, would have on their body armor, and that should protect them from anything but the worst possible hit.

But how many soldiers were in it at the time, again, we can't tell you that, I just don't know. But again, repeating what we've just learned, a U.S. Army Humvee with the 7th Cavalry, up the road, which is behind me, north of here, was moving toward an Iraqi position. It took an RPG, according to senior officers in the 7th Cav. The vehicle, obviously, would have been badly damaged. But no U.S. soldiers were injured, according to the officers with whom I've spoken, Carol.

COSTELLO: And Walter, the 7th Cavalry halfway to Baghdad right now, and it is safe to say that you're being met with ever more resistance?

RODGERS: Well, I think what you're going to see from here on out is the cavalry fighting its way northward, and I mean that quite literally. The Crazy Horse Troop, the 7th Cav, just moved out a short while ago, their Bradley fighting vehicles. There's never been any illusion, even before the border was crossed from Kuwait, that there would be a fight in it, the Iraqis would fight the closer you got to Baghdad.

And I think what you're seeing, I'm not sure we're halfway there yet, but I think what you're seeing is the Iraqis in small units so far, although we've had battalion-sized resistance, they are indeed putting up a fight, Carol.

COSTELLO: Can you tell us more about that Iraqi vehicle, that pink pickup truck with the NYPD bumper sticker on it that was captured earlier this morning?

RODGERS: That was a real hoot, Carol. It was about a mile down the road behind me. What happened was, as the 7th Cav was moving forward, it again encountered resistance. But that truck did not look too badly damaged. What it was, was your standard Japanese pickup truck with a -- except it was painted pink, and it -- but it had a 7.62-millimeter light machine gun mounted on the flatbed area.

And as the cavalry was moving forward, it encountered that. It's not clear how much fire was poured down on the truck. The truck's still look in good shape. The three or four individuals inside surrendered. At least three surrendered. We think the other was wounded. Matter of fact, we know one of the Iraqi soldiers was wounded.

But the best thing about that pink pickup truck with the machine gun was, right on the windscreen, right side, you had a great big blue and white NYPD bumper sticker, except the Iraqi army or the Iraqi soldiers put that on their windshield, Carol.

COSTELLO: You know, there's all sorts of speculation about why they might have done that. This just must have been a bizarre sight for the soldiers there.

RODGERS: I guess it is. But remember, Carol, sometimes these guys fight in -- you know, the Arabs in this part of the world will fight in Nike tennis shoes. And there are products -- it's a real dichotomy. In the Arab world, there are American products, American symbols, like New York PD, which are still hailed as something valuable and something they like to associate with. American commercial products, the very same thing.

This, while they're shouting "Allah Akhbar" and screaming, "Death to the Americans!" It's one of those bizarre contradictions which you get in every war. But this one is more pointed, because we're here and we saw it, Carol.

COSTELLO: Walter Rodgers reporting live from South Central Iraq this morning -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Well, we are going to go to Bill Hemmer, who is in Kuwait City at this hour. It's a -- it's 4:05 here on the East Coast of the United States. It is just after noon in Baghdad, 12:05 in Baghdad or so, as well as in Kuwait City, where -- that is where we find Bill Hemmer.

Bill, what's the latest where you are?

BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, hello. Welcome to another day. It is Sunday here, as you mentioned, just a few moments past the hour of noon here in Kuwait City.

A member of the 101st Airborne Division killed earlier today by one of his own. Going to show you an image here of the suspect, now being detained and held for questioning after what's being described to us as a small arms and grenade attack was launched inside of one command post, the 101st Airborne Division.

Now, this group had been camped about, about 2,000 strong, we're told, in Northern Kuwait when this attack was launched, again, by a member of the 101st Airborne Division. The identity of the suspect not revealed. But what we do know, one soldier is dead as a result, two others wounded, treated at the scene. They are said to be recovering at this time.

But in addition to those two, 10 others have been medevaced to a local Army hospital. They're now being treated. Some of those wounds, we are told, are said to be quite serious. We talked with a member of the 101st Airborne earlier today. This is how he described what he saw at the scene today.

All right, apparently we don't have that. But I can tell you, a lot of these guys in the middle of the night were asleep at the time, Anderson. They were awoke by the sounds of the grenade explosions and also the small arms fire.

There was a "TIME" magazine reporter inside with the 101st at the time. He describes a series of facts that we have not independently verified here at CNN. But he says it took about 45 minutes to locate the suspect. At the time, he was found hiding inside of a bunker. Again, all this happening about 2:00 in the morning.

But as a result, one person now being held for questioning as a result. It's possible, and again this is not verified either, it's possible there may be another member of the 101st involved...

COSTELLO: Bill, Bill...

HEMMER: ... and that's something we're trying to get...

COSTELLO: ... I'm sorry, we must interrupt...

HEMMER: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at this time.

COSTELLO: ... we've got to go back to Umm Qasr. We apologize. Because now we're seeing the aftermath of those air strikes that happened just a short time ago.

COOPER: That's right. Those strikes occurred five or 10 minutes ago. We were watching it live, didn't actually see the explosions. They happened off camera. We heard at least two impacts separated by a couple of minutes. What we're seeing is obviously smoke rising out of an area that we have been watching a lot over the last several hours.

In case you are just joining us at this hour, for the last two- plus, two and a half hours or so, at least a platoon-sized group of Marines, perhaps larger, has been laying watching. They apparently took some sort of incoming fire from, they believed from the direction of these buildings.

They did not go in on foot. Tanks came in, shot up at one area off to the side, to the right of the screen that you're seeing now, sort of a burn area. We saw machine gun fire, I believe one round of RPG fire, into that area. Then the air strikes were called in. Right before the air strikes were called in, the camera crew, the Marines, even the tanks pulled back so that they would not be affected by any munitions that were dropped.

And this, the live picture, smoke rising from the impact zone for at least two of those munitions.

COSTELLO: Yes, and we can't tell exactly what it hit, but we believe there was a building back there, or a line of trees. And we believe about 100 Iraqi forces, 100 soldiers, Saddam Hussein's army, Republican Guard, we believe, because earlier Republican Guard commander surrendered, but the rest of his troops did not. They stayed behind, would not come out of a building or a group of trees.

So that's when the air strikes were called in. And as Anderson said, the tanks were pulled back in preparation for that. A short while ago we heard the roar of the planes overhead, and then we heard the explosions, at least two of them.

COOPER: Yes, we did hear two. It's simply impossible to know how many or how few troops were in this area. I mean, we have the statement, the British reporter on the scene was told the Republican Guard commander who surrendered had said some 100 or 120 or so troops were there. That is simply -- no way to know at this point.

Nor do the troops on the ground, the Marines on the ground who have been watching this, who have been taking care of this situation, they simply don't know, and this was...

COSTELLO: Yes, and you might imagine, they have to approach this area once again to see if it's secure. At least somebody does. So maybe the tanks will roll in again. Unfortunately, General Clark has left us. But we might imagine they would do that.

COOPER: Well, as General Clark mentioned, the difficulty with sending a tank into an area like this is that the speed of the tank is one of the greatest assets it has. And when you are suddenly in a confined area, you're not able to utilize the speed.

Also, if you start getting into city streets, there -- especially if they are narrow city streets, you have a very difficult problem with mobility. Also the turret, simply moving that turret around creates -- you simply can't do it in very confined areas, so...

COSTELLO: Right, and you can't exactly look inside the building to see what's in there from a tank. So that would be very difficult.

Umm Qasr has been -- oh, I don't know, a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the U.S. military side for the past couple of days. They do have it under control, but they've run into these firefights along the way. If you remember, 24 hours ago when Anderson and I were on the air, there were pockets of resistance then. They were going from building to building in this port city, looking for snipers, looking for people who are armed.

COOPER: Right. We have a -- Jason Bellini has been in this area for the last at least 24 hours that I know of, probably even longer. We'll probably talk with him a little bit later on in this broadcast. We'll try to get him up sometime in the next hour.

But there has been some question about exactly the situation in Umm Qasr. It is fair to say, according to U.S. officials, it is largely secure. There are, as Carol mentioned these pockets of resistance, as they said. There -- the new port was secured first, the old port is where some of the pockets of resistance were yesterday.

About 24 hours ago at this time we saw Cobra helicopters, Marine Cobra helicopters firing into some buildings. Apparently they had taken some small arms fire, as Carol mentioned, Marines going building to building.

COSTELLO: Yes. We're going to cut away for just a second, Anderson, and go to Tom Mintier, who's in Qatar at the command center. He has more information on an incident of friendly fire. Apparently a Patriot missile took out a British war plane.

Tom, what more can you tell us about that?

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you within the last 12 or so hours, the British have now confirmed that they indeed lost an aircraft. They won't tell us how many were on board this aircraft or exactly where it was lost or even what type of aircraft.

But just a few moments ago, the chief spokesman here in the coalition media center confirmed to CNN that they indeed did lose an aircraft, and it was, as they think, taken out by a Patriot antimissile missile.


CAPT. AL LOCKWOOD, BRITISH RAF, QATAR: Evidence is beginning to come to light that one of our aircraft returning from operations over Iraq last night may have been engaged by a U.S. Patriot missile battery.

MINTIER: So this is a friendly fire incident, as far as you know it right now.

LOCKWOOD: The evidence is beginning to appear that this may very well have been a friendly fire incident.

MINTIER: Can you tell us what type of British aircraft this was?

LOCKWOOD: We're not disclosing that at the moment.


MINTIER: So we don't know what type of aircraft, we don't know the number of losses. But the British do believe that it was a Patriot missile battery that took out their aircraft during night operations as it was returning from operations inside Iraq.

Now, in 24 or 48 hours, we have seen two incidents involving British aircraft, two Sea King helicopters collided somewhere in the Persian Gulf just yesterday, killing all on board. They were on force protection operation. Basically these helicopters took off from the aircraft carrier and were providing early warning detection for the possibility of any missiles coming in towards these aircraft carriers.

They apparently collided midair and everyone aboard was lost.

Also overnight, we had an incident involving the 101st Airborne. Apparently one of the soldiers allegedly threw hand grenades inside the command bunker, an exchange of small weapons fire. He was taken prisoner, being questioned. One of the U.S. soldiers was killed in that incident, another dozen were wounded.

So three incidents in the last 24 hours or so that probably give some grave concern to military planners.

COSTELLO: And I have questions for you about each one, Tom.

First of all, let's go back to the British aircraft that was shot down by that Patriot missile. Do we know if it was engaged in combat?

MINTIER: Well, if it was returning from a mission in Southern Iraq, it's pretty fair to assume that it was involved in hostile operations. The group captain did tell us that it was returning from an operation inside Iraq. So it's fair to assume that they were involved in some type of offensive operations inside Iraq, and returning to base when it was apparently fired on, as they say, by a Patriot missile battery.



MINTIER: ... outside of that, returning from an operation, that's about all we know.

COSTELLO: And Tom, these Patriot missiles lock onto a target, correct? Can you explain to us sort of what that means?

MINTIER: Well, I'm not an expert in Patriot missiles, but I do have some experience around them. They're used traditionally, and they have been used in this campaign, to shoot down Scuds, Scud missiles, Iraqi missiles that were fired from inside Iraq towards Kuwait. They have engaged those missiles and shot them down on more than one occasion.

So this is a device that is used against incoming missiles. It's quite strange that apparently, if it proves to be true, that this British aircraft was targeted by the missile battery.

COSTELLO: Tom Mintier, we're going to let you go. Thanks for your information.

We're going to go back to Umm Qasr, because we're seeing new live pictures.


COOPER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reporter on scene.

DAVID BOWDEN, BRITISH POOL REPORTER: Well, there you have it, Martin. We started some four hours ago at the beginning of this with a fairly substantial firefight. We've gone through tank fire, air strikes, and now we're collecting prisoners of war. The U.S. Marines are out there now mopping up, as you heard the staff sergeant say. It looks as though this particular operation in terms of aggressive opportunities is now over.

COOPER: And in case you have not been following along with us over the last two or so hours, this has been an operation which has captivated much of our coverage and much coverage throughout the world, both in the United States television, Arab television, European television, these images carried live, really, across the world.

What we saw, a platoon, at least, of Marines took some sort of fire, they believe from an area that there were some buildings in. They took up defensive positions. Tanks came in, tanks shot up the area using some heavy machine guns. Then an air strike was called in. Then, as and as we've just heard the British reporter on the scene, saying they are now taking some prisoners, and that the operation is essentially over.

It has been -- and what you're looking at on the screen, you're seeing one individual walking toward what were those buildings, we don't know who that individual is, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) moving quite fast, doesn't necessarily look like a soldier, simply not sure.

But what is significant about this is that this was just one small operation in a much larger area where operations are going on. It is not an operation that has brought to a halt all military activity in that area. General Wesley Clark, who was with us earlier, pointing out that simply other units would just go around this area where this operation was taking place, let the Marines on the ground deal with this, and further operations in the area of Umm Qasr would continue along.

And there have been over the last 48 hours or so in Umm Qasr sporadic pockets of resistance, and small arms fire and the like being taken by various forces, British, U.S. Marines. And they have been essentially mop...

BOWDEN: ... walking across with a white flag.

COSTELLO: Yes, we're listening to the British pool reporter right now. And that figure in the distance is apparently walking towards troops holding a white flag.

BOWDEN: OK. All right. I think we're going to get more air strikes.

COSTELLO: And you're watching the situation live along with us at Umm Qasr. And of course we're not exactly sure what's going on. But we heard the British reporter say there may be more air strikes on the way. Just a short time ago...

BOWDEN: That's all right...

COSTELLO: Let's listen.

BOWDEN: ... we apparently have one Iraqi with a white flag. You can probably see him. I can't. But the other thing is that there's some talk here we might get a Harrier back and there might be another air strike. Just let me check on that.

COOPER: Possibility of a Harrier jet coming in...

BOWDEN: You getting the Harrier back?

COOPER: If you want to get a sense of how long this has been going on, notice...

BOWDEN: Do we know which one it's going to hit this time?

COOPER: ... notice the water bottles by the Marines who are laying down. This has been going on very long. It is very hot. And they have been in those positions on the ground for many hours now. Again, we had heard from the British reporter on the scene that the operation seemed to be over. Now he seems to be saying that they are perhaps waiting for another air strike.

Obviously another air strike, perhaps, being called in because they feel there is still some -- there are still some forces there who have not given up. We saw about a minute or two ago one figure walking, to the left of the screen, apparently with a white flag, couldn't see it from our vantage point, but according to the British reporter on the scene.

BOWDEN: Apart from the two vehicles we saw earlier, a few minutes ago, Francis (ph), no, there were some reports here that in fact British troops may well be on the ground here in the area. But the latest speculation is that there may, in fact, be another air strike, the Harrier that peeled off may in fact come back here and deliver another bomb. That is unconfirmed.

But whilst the situation certainly, for the most part, appears calm here at the moment, it's fairly obvious that despite what the staff sergeant said, there are still precautions to be taken, and this situation is still very much live and is evolving as we speak.

COOPER: You are listening to the voice of David Bowden, a British pool reporter, pool reporter meaning that all news outlets have access to the images and the sound that he is collecting at the scene. So you hear...

BOWDEN: I think what he was doing was checking the lie of the land, because, of course, he has 42 Commando waiting. They've just cleared the other side of the river. They need to be in here so that they can help set up for the humanitarian aid, but they're not going to do that while this place is still under the control of the 15 MEU, the U.S. Marines, until they move on to their next task.

Then obviously there's not a whole flow of other people to come in and fill at the moment. The status quo pertains. They are still here. Four-two Commando are doing what they initially set out to do, which is sweep from where they were put ashore on the Al Faa peninsula all the way across to here. They're now pretty much here, according to the deputy commander, Steve Cox, who told us this morning.

And we're just being told that we have to go back on the other side of the berm. Looks like a rerun of what we have just had again. Looks as though the idea of another air strike is, in fact, now up and running once again. I am going to leave the microphone. I will come back up on the telephone as soon as I'm able to.

COSTELLO: All right. You can see that they're taking cover again as the Marines gather their guns and their bottles of water to go behind a protective wall at Umm Qasr.

We're going to stay with this picture, don't worry, as we await a second round of air strikes at Umm Qasr.

We want to go to South Central Iraq now to check in with Walter Rodgers, who again has more information. And I see fire burning behind you, Walter.

RODGERS: Yes, Carol, the fire which you see behind me is the remnant of an Iraqi army ammunition dump which was positioned fairly close to the road, along which the 3rd Squadron, U.S. Army 7th Cavalry, has been traveling. There is still a remnant of that Iraqi battalion up there. They've been shooting small arms fire and shoulder-fired missiles at the U.S. Army's helicopters.

So we now are given to believe that this unit will be calling in Air Force close air support. An air strike should be called in perhaps in the next few seconds. We're not sure. But we do believe that whatever's left of that Iraqi unit up there, which was once battalion size, is about to face a terrible pounding from the air.

The Air Force can operate today because there's an almost unlimited ceiling that was not possible yesterday. So it was not possible to call in the jets yesterday.

Nonetheless, there are some Iraqi soldiers up the road. A short while ago behind me, a U.S. Army Humvee was traveling up that road. A rocket-propelled grenade was fired at that Humvee.

We're told there were no U.S. casualties, which is a rather fantastic event, because the Humvees are soft-skinned, and an RPG is a relatively formidable weapon. One of the officers here told me that those who fired that RPG at the U.S. Army Humvee are no longer existent on this planet.

Back to you, Carol.

COSTELLO: So I couldn't hear you for just a time, so you're awaiting air strikes as well, Walter.

RODGERS: That's correct. We've been told that the position which you see behind me, where the plumes of smoke from that ammunition dump, which was hit, oh, several hours ago, still coming up. There are pockets of Iraqi resistance there. There's the remnant of a battalion. It is not clear how many Iraqi soldiers are up there. They're hidden in a grove of trees and some small buildings in the area.

So we're given to believe that close air support is being called in, which is to say, the place is about to be bombed and strafed, and any of those Iraqis left in there are going to face some very serious firepower from the air, Carol.

COSTELLO: Oddly enough, Walter, this is almost the same scenaria is going on right now at Umm Qasr. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a grove of trees and a group of buildings, don't know how many Iraqis are hiding there, air strikes on the way, you know, it's just strange that it's almost the same situation where you are.

RODGERS: Well, of course, in a situation like that, any army, and in this case, the Iraqis, who are left in that battalion, we've -- even this army unit has never been able to identify what battalion it was. But they take advantage of whatever cover, whatever topography they have, which works to their advantage.

What they have to their advantage is a small grove of trees, actually. And remember, this is our spring here. Those trees are in full leaf. So they have some camouflage, the Iraqis, to hide in from the visual sightings from tanks and Bradleys here on the ground.

And then you have the ubiquitous low, flat mud huts that are used in this part of the world as housing, and that's where the Iraqis are. As I say, close air support has been called in where artillery had been used in the past. U.S. Army helicopters, the Kiowas, have been firing on those Iraqis intermittently this morning...


COSTELLO: ... Walter...

RODGERS: ... because they fly low to the ground. Yes?

COSTELLO: Walter, we're going to pause and listen. We hear the aircraft coming to Umm Qasr now.

COOPER: If you have ever been on he ground and you hear this overhead, it is an extraordinarily ominous sound. And one can only imagine what must be going through the minds of anyone in those positions in the Iraqi forces as they hear this.

General Wesley Clark telling us a few moments ago that often when they are in the -- not the expectation of receiving ground fire, often a plane will circle overhead for quite some time, looking at the target, trying to decide...

Well, it looks...

COSTELLO: Well, the Marines are coming back, Anderson.

COOPER: Looks like they've decided not to drop more munitions, because we know that, because before the Marines had pulled back to behind a -- some sort of retaining wall, a protective barrier. Looks like whatever air strike was going to happen is not happening now. And they are resuming their positions.

COSTELLO: Yes. Shall we go back to South Central Iraq and continue our talk with Walter Rodgers and pending air strikes there? Walter?

Is that you getting out of the car, Walter? Walter, can you hear us?

COOPER: As we wait for Walter, what you're watching is some fire burning in the distance, smoke rising.

OK, let's go back to Umm Qasr, listen to David Bowden.

Sounds like David...

BOWDEN: All right, no, no, no, stop, stop, stop. I'm back on the microphone now. I don't need to be put through on the phone. Yes.

COOPER: You're listening to...

BOWDEN: All rightie.

COOPER: ... David Bowden, British pool reporter.

BOWDEN: Yes, fine, right.

COOPER: Just to -- if you are just joining us, it's kind of confusing. What you're seeing on the lefthand side of your screen is a video image of the 7th Cavalry where Walter Rodgers has been reporting about some conflict that they have been encountering there.

On the righthand side of your screen, you are seeing a live picture from Umm Qasr, where for three hours or plus, plus or minus a few minutes, Marines have been trying to deal with a situation of what they are often terming sporadic resistance.

We have seen at least one air strike called in. We have seen one tank peppering an area with machine gun fire. We are not sure what is going on at this point in Umm Qasr. There is a British pool reporter, David Bowden, on the scene. We do not have direct contact with him, so we just sort of listen to him as he gets on the mike and talks.

And we are trying to bring both of these images to you at the same time. They are happening in very different places with completely different troops.

But they offer two pictures of what is going on in Iraq.

Let's listen in to David Bowden.

BOWDEN: ... there was a convoy of friendly vehicles on the road in the area, and obviously nobody wanted the potential for a disaster, a friendly fire disaster. So that has now been aborted.

The U.S. Marines have now come back up to the top of the berm, which is where we are now. Many of them have been stood down. I can see, what, one, two, three -- a fraction of those who were up there at the beginning of the day when the firefight was at its most intense.

It appears to have calmed down a little bit now. Soldiers eating their MREs, meals ready to eat, for the uninitiated, getting it all out of their little boxes and having lunch. Everything a little bit more relaxed now.

But we've had a very, very tense morning. Some four hours or so of fairly intense battle, a lot of ammunition expended, and the whole gamut of weaponry from personal weapons, M-16s, all the way through tanks, mortars, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) missiles, right up to F-18 and Harrier jets delivering bombs on this battlefield.

COSTELLO: Fascinating pictures. Do we have Walter Rodgers on the phone right now from South Central Iraq? Because he is awaiting air strikes right now. Walter, are you with us? RODGERS: Yes, Carol, I'm here. And if our picture is holding, what you're looking at is a fire from an air strike, actually artillery strike, a number of hours ago. That's an Iraqi position, which is still on fire up there. The Iraqis were ensconced in a grove of trees, substantial grove of trees plus some small buildings. That unit is about to be bombed and strafed again. The 7th Cavalry has called for close air support. And, again, you can see an M1 Abrams tank rolling through your frame at this point.

And, as I say, there are -- there is the remnant of an Iraqi battalion up there in the distance by that smoke. The army is preparing to push on through, perhaps have to fight its way through, but before that call is made, it's expected that close air support will be coming in, that is the Air Force, and they will be bombing or strafing what's left of that Iraqi position up there.


COSTELLO: Is that aircraft over you, Walter?

RODGERS: We can't see the aircraft. It's going to be very high. It's going to come visually out of the sun.

We just received word, Carol, that after initiating the air strike, it has now been canceled. But even if it were not, we couldn't see it, because the planes come in very high, straight down. We saw that in the war in Afghanistan.


RODGERS: The latest word is the air strike which we were told not 10 minutes ago is coming has now been canceled, according to the same Army source.

COSTELLO: All right, Walter. Thanks so much for your reporting. It's strange that we're seeing smoke from different locations. Umm Qasr is in the southeastern part of Iraq. Walter is in the south central part of Iraq. The smoke you're seeing in Walter's picture, which would be on the left-hand side of your screen is coming from an Iraqi munitions dump that was exploded by U.S.> forces. The smoke you see on the right-hand side of your screen, from Umm Qasr, came from air strikes, and we don't know exactly what the target was there, but there was word that Iraqi soldiers were holed up in a building or behind some trees in that area.

COOPER: And that smoke on the left-hand side of the screen, Walter saying that somewhere around that smoke the remnants of an entire Iraqi battalion who were laying in wait in what he described as a grove, discovered by the Kiowa scout helicopters that was moving in advance of the troops in the 7th Cavalry.

Again, we are going to continue to follow both these situations on the screen. And let's go to David Bowden in Umm Qasr right now.

This is David Bowden, the British pool reporter, about the interview, we believe, a Marine sergeant, staff sergeant, on the scene in Umm Qasr, the firefight we've been following for the last four hours.

Again, this is not a reporter we are speaking directly to; this is a British pool reporter whose video is available to various news networks. And so we do not have the ability to actually talk to him. We just have to wait for him to initiate the interview.

But you can see behind the staff sergeant a number of marines still laid out in position, as they have been for four hours now, baking in the hot sun. They're now drinking water. We saw some MREs being passed out. It certainly seems the situation has calmed down from the firefight that we saw shortly ago.

COSTELLO: I know, it's strange just to see them sitting and eating their MREs right now.

COOPER: And, again, this is just one small group of marines in one small spot in Umm Qasr. There has been sporadic resistance, we have been told, on and off.

BOWDEN: Hello, John. Lerma -- l-e-r-m-a. He's part of the 15th Mu (ph).

What company are you with?


BOWDEN: And you are what, platoon commander there?

LERMA: Platoon sergeant, Fox Company.

COOPER: So it seems like we are going to hear from Platoon Sergeant Lerma from Fox Company, U.S. Marines.

If you've ever wondered what it would look like before an interview starts, this is it.

Not very interesting.


COOPER: OK. You're looking at the left-hand side of the screen. The left-hand side of the screen, you are seeing three Iraqis, one of them carrying a white flag, this is from south central Iraq, where Walter Rodgers is.

Walter, what can you tell us?

RODGERS: Anderson, there have been bizarre things here all morning that the 7th Cavalry has witnessed. What you're watching now are three Iraqis trying to get back to their village, which is up the road. And they're carrying a white flag not so much to say to surrender, but please don't shoot us. And of course, the army has gone out of its way to not inflict any civilian casualties. And as you can see, the three Iraqis are about to walk past an M1 A1 Abrams tank. Those guys are just going home.


COOPER: All right, Walter, let's listen in to David Bowden, who's talking to a platoon sergeant.

LERMA: We had been receiving sporadic fire from that location for the last two days. Yesterday, we led a convoy out of this area down to the old port area. We were engaged at that point. And we had numerous sightings of individuals. We had been passing intel reports back, getting debriefed at that point. This morning when the sunrise came up, we noticed a couple of silhouettes of bodies that were up in the window. It was the first time we got a good actual visual on bodies instead of shadows and figures, you know, not being able to actually ascertain who they were.

Once we got eyes on those individuals, they began signaling down to a four-man group that was on the ground, located close to the building. At that point, those four individuals started opening fire. We had everybody man the line and we started immediately providing suppression down on that, getting our weapons systems into place.

Once we got our weapons systems into place, we attempted an AT4 shot, but that was way out of the range, so we fell short. So we brought the Javelin weapons system up to bear. The first shot went a little bit long, the second shot, direct impact to that building. Once that building was hit, then it became very apparent that there was a lot of movement in that area. We had troops start moving back and forth. And we began engaging them with machine guns. And people just started popping out of everywhere.

Had Iraqi soldiers that were located in the vicinity over there to the left of our -- our left lateral limit. We started engaging them, second post over there, began engaging fire at that point. Then once we realized that we were dealing with a lot larger force than we expected, we started putting up our observation post; they started relaying information and really started bringing the combined arms into effect in order to take control of the situation.

BOWDEN: Let me just interrupt you there, just to confirm, who fired first? Did you see these people in this building and decide you were going to take them out or did they start firing at you?

LERMA: Once we saw the individuals in the building, we saw them start calling down to the four individuals, automatically they came with a posture. We let off the first burst and automatically they started returning fire towards us.

BOWDEN: And then of course, it escalated rapidly. We had tanks here. We had ultimately air strikes. This went from being what was a smaller skirmish I guess at the beginning to a full-scale, four-hour long battle.

LERMA: Yes, it did. I mean, we have unconfirmed reports of different Iraqi officers stating that troop strength. I mean, all of that is unconfirmed. I'm sure as this unfolds, the picture will become a lot clearer of what exactly was in there, and who was operating in there. But it did, it rapidly escalated into -- from, like you said, from a skirmish into a full-scale battle.

BOWDEN: You will know better than most that when the plans were drawn up for this conflict against Iraq, the idea was that you guys from the 15th Mu (ph) to get into Umm Qasr and get out in a matter of hours. We're now moving into Day Three. These guys are slowing you up, aren't they?

LERMA: Well, no, actually the original plan was us to roll into Umm Qasr and we were to be here anywhere from a four- to eight-hour period, or for a four- to eight-hour span of days. It's always uncertain as to how long we're going to be here. In the situation that's unfolding and as the battlefield unfolds, we make adjustments. We could be here anywhere from a couple hours to many days.

I mean, we're not going to move through until we thoroughly have provided and secured this area for the non-government organizations to roll in. We want to make sure that they have the ability to roll in here unimpeded by any type of threat so that we can get that humanitarian aid in here and start getting that humanitarian aid out to the people that need it.

BOWDEN: What's your best guess then, given what's happened here this morning, about how close you are to that objective? Is it still dangerous out there?

LERMA: I really can't speak above my level what's going on as far as the whole area down here. As far as me at ground level with my squad, there's always a threat. I mean, we don't adhere to reports from anybody that the threat has gone away, this area is secured. We're always maintaining our posture here on the platoon level to ensure that we here are always constantly ready for a fight, because it could pop up from anywhere.

BOWDEN: Did it surprise you that Iraqi soldiers that it had been predicted would just hold their hands up and surrender have put up such a fight and have caused you so much problem this morning?

LERMA: Nothing out here surprises me. I mean, we prepare and we anticipate the worst, and we always focus our training and focus everything that we do out here to anticipate that.

What actually happened here, who knows? I mean, you might have had a rogue bunch that just decided to separate from the individuals, I mean, because we've got reports, unconfirmed reports at our level, of divisions giving up. There's always going to be a few that are going to remain to the cause. And I mean that's why we maintain a posture on the platoon level that we do.

BOWDEN: To clear something up for me, where we were speaking earlier, in the middle of the battle, you mentioned 15-20 people you saw in the distance. What happened to them? Where did they go?

LERMA: Right now, we have reports that we have individuals that are starting to move towards Objective 5, where... BOWDEN: Objective 5 is what?

LERMA: Objective 5 basically a staging area for POWs and any detainees that we have.

BOWDEN: And is that out on what became the battlefield this morning somewhere?

LERMA: Somewhere located in that area.

BOWDEN: So if we swing the camera around, Mike, perhaps we could have a quick look at the area we're talking about, just behind us, what was pretty much the battlefield this morning. It now appears to be all quiet.

But, Staff Sergeant, for awhile this morning, you were concerned that there were people popping up all over the place and you had no idea who they were?

LERMA: Yes, I mean, like I said, as the battlefield unfolds, anything could happen. Anything that's out there is always going to be a -- always be taken in with the greatest amount of concern. We're never going to approach a situation as marines where we assume anything. Anybody out there could be giving up; they could be fighting. Until we definitely get confirmation and we get visual on on what exactly they're doing, we're always going to go into the posture and expect the worst.

BOWDEN: Staff Sergeant, we've all had a very busy morning. I'll let you go and get some food and water and prepare for whatever might be coming your way.

Back to you.

COOPER: All right, you have been listening to David Bowden, a British pool reporter, who has been following this skirmish in Umm Qasr for the last four hours or so. You've just been listening to a staff sergeant, Nick (ph) Lerma with Fox Company of the U.S. Marines.

And when you consider that that man has been engaged in a fire fight and has been in active combat for the last four hours, he seemed remarkably composed, at least to me.

He basically was describing what we have been seeing live on television for the last four hours or so, this unit of the marines was in this area; they saw figures moving in this building that was flying an Iraqi flag. They seemed to be taking an offensive posture. In fact, in Sergeant's Lerma's words, he says, "They came with a position." The marines opened fire, the Iraqis returned fire. Suddenly, according to Sergeant Lerma, figures, people began popping up out of -- all over the place, he said, out of the building. They called in a Javelin weapons system, hit the building, and engaged with machine guns. Also then called in an air strike later on.

So that is what -- a brief explanation, as best I can, of some of what Sergeant Lerma has been saying has been going on over the last four hours or so in this one position in this one part of Umm Qasr where we know there has been sporadic resistance for some odd 48 hours or so, since the area was first taken.

Umm Qasr is on the Kuwaiti border, of course, about 300 miles southeast of Baghdad.

We are going to be joined now -- we're going to stay with this picture on the right hand side of your screen, but we're going to be joined by Chris Plante who is at the Pentagon. There is a lot of other activity going on in this region. There has been an incident of friendly fire as well as an incident of a member of the 101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagles, killed it appears at this point by another soldier serving with the 101st Airborne. So we're going to get an update right now on both of those things from Chris Plante.

Chris, let's start with this friendly fire and what can you tell us?

CHRIS PLANTE, PENTAGON: Hi, Anderson, it looks like there are yet more fatalities in a non-combat situation from last night. So far in this conflict, there have been two marines killed in actual combat, and a number killed in accidents. It appears that last night we had what are probably our first friendly fire fatalities, two British aviation officers apparently killed when a U.S. Army Patriot missile was fired, destroying the airplane near the Kuwaiti border. The airplane was on its way back in from a combat mission at the time of the incident. And it's under investigation now. It's clearly a problem with air space management or identification of friend or foe.

We've been getting reports throughout the day, and throughout the last several days, that Iraqi missiles have been coming across the border, Patriot missiles have been fired to intercept them. Patriot missiles originally designed to shoot down airplanes. They're an antiaircraft missile originally. The Patriot PAC-3 which is currently fielded in the region is designed to intercept incoming missiles. It's very effective certainly at taking down airplanes. And it appears that that's the case in this situation.

Friendly fire, an unpleasant fact of war. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, of 146 Americans killed, 35 of those were killed as a result of friendly fire. And of 16 Brits that died in the 1991 conflict, nine of those were from friendly fire. It's one of the most unpleasant parts of conflict, certainly. The U.S. military refers to it as fratricide, which is the killing of a brother.


COOPER: Which certainly goes to show the bonds that exist in combat, it is, of course, as you said, one of those things that happens and yet is sort of a mystery every time it does.

Let me just ask you -- and I'm not sure how much we know about this particular Patriot battery. Is it a -- is it manned by people? I mean, is it a visual sighting? Do we know how the orders happened that something's incoming and the Patriot is fired? Do we know anything about the procedure, at least in this case, that took place? PLANTE: Well, my understanding of the Patriot system is that it is -- it is a -- they have a radar detection system. Radar systems are set up along with the missile batteries themselves. The radar is to detect incoming aircraft or missiles. And it is capable of responding automatically. And in my understanding also that there is an option where there is human intervention or oversight as to whether the missile fires or not.


PLANTE: This battery -- it's a U.S. Army system. It has been upgraded significantly since the 1991 Gulf War when the system was promoted by the Pentagon as having been very effective at knocking down missiles, both headed toward Israel and toward Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In the end, it turned out that it was not at all effective in intercepting missiles in flight. Certainly with an aircraft, however, it's a much easier game for a highly advanced missile like this one, Anderson.

COOPER: And, Chris, just as you were speaking, we were showing this graphic of a Patriot intercepting a missile, an animation, and obviously as you said, it can do -- it can intercept both missiles and aircraft.

Let's talk about this other incident, which until this incident we've been following, Umm Qasr, was really sort of the story of the morning, this incident in Kuwait that took place with the 101st Airborne. Bring us up to speed on what you know about it.

PLANTE: Well, another very unpleasant situation at Camp Pennsylvania, home to members of the 101st Airborne. An enlisted man, for unknown reasons at this point, attacked the command tent where the colonel in charge of the brigade and his staff were operating. Apparently two hand grenades -- some of the details still being fleshed out -- but apparently two hand grenades tossed by this man into the command tent, killing one of his fellow soldiers, injuring 12 more, a number of those very seriously. They were -- a number of them, I believe six, were medevaced by helicopter to area field hospitals where they underwent surgery and extensive medical care in an effort to keep them alive. One of them died after being medevaced. The colonel in charge was also wounded in the attack, in the arm.

It appears, although, again details are a little bit hard to come by even a number of hours after the fact, it appears that the culprit, the assailant was also wounded when he was taken into custody by his fellow soldiers. Some video tape that we've seen of him indicates that he may have been shot in the leg when they were apprehending him.

His motivations, again, utterly unknown. There are a lot of rumors flying around about what might have happened, but it's -- the fact is that it's not clear, at least to us here, what his actual motivation was for this.

You can see him sitting here, having been covered with a poncho after having been apprehended by his fellow soldiers here. When he was being carried back to this area where he was being held, it was clear that he had been wounded, probably in the leg, apparently by a gunshot wound. The Army is investigating. It's being handled as a criminal matter, not as a terrorist attack or anything other than a, you know, simple criminal act. There's no explanation for what might have motivated him to do this at this point in time.

COOPER: And as you said, it is an ongoing investigation, a criminal investigation by the military. I guess the bottom line, he is in custody and is no doubt being questioned at this hour.

We should point out also, Chris, that Ryan Chilcote, CNN's Ryan Chilcote, who's been traveling with the 101st, he got some reaction from some of the troops he is with, understandably and obviously they were shocked.

One commander told Chilcote, and I'm just reading this from -- it says -- the commander said, "You come here to face the enemy, not to face other soldiers. But the unit is larger than the individual; they will be all right. They will move on."

And they are certainly seeming to do that at this hour.

Chris Plante at the Pentagon, thanks very much.


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