Attack could come this weekend : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Attack 'could come this weekend' By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent, News Telegraph (UK) Filed: 15/09/2001)

AMERICA geared up for war yesterday with Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, warning the country's servicemen that they would be called on to vanquish "powerful and terrible enemies" in the months ahead.

The rallying call came as defence officials said an attack on Afghanistan, which has given safe haven to Osama bin Laden, could come as early as this weekend.

As President Bush authorised the call-up of 50,000 reservists, the Senate gave him unanimous backing to use "all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organisations or persons" who carried out the attacks.

Mr Rumsfeld told US servicemen around the world in a videotaped address that much had already been asked of them, but "more, much more will be asked of you in the weeks and months ahead".

"The task of vanquishing these terrible enemies and in protecting the American people and the cause of human freedom will fall to you. I know you are ready. I know America can continue to count on your selflessness and courage," he said. The Pentagon is believed to be considering a range of military options against Afghanistan, from heavy bombing to the insertion of special forces.

Amid continued speculation over an attack on Afghanistan, the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, urged Afghans to "face any American attack with courage and self-respect".

Meanwhile, America's preparations for war continued to build. Two tankers were ordered to take 235,000 barrels of marine diesel fuel to Diego Garcia, the US Air Force base in the Indian Ocean. A number of B52 bombers capable of launching cruise missiles are believed to have been deployed there.

Another oil tanker was booked to deliver 28,000 tonnes of aviation fuel from Greece to southern Spain. It is believed to be bound for the Moron air base, used by US Air Force KC10 tanker aircraft to refuel bombers crossing the Atlantic during the Kosovo conflict.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, told the Commons that with hundreds of Britons killed in Tuesday's attacks, "the United Kingdom has both an interest and an obligation to provide assistance to the US to help bring those responsible to account and remove the threat that terrorists pose to the international community".

Work was continuing to determine what military contribution Britain could make "to assist in bringing to account those who organised, abetted and incited these acts".

The British Chiefs of Staff have been meeting regularly since the attacks to look at the various military options they could offer the Americans and a number of extra liaison officers have been sent to the Pentagon.

"But the truth is they don't really need us," a source said. "We are always happy to work alongside them, but it is much more about political support than military assistance."

The US Armed Forces dwarf those of every other nation. There are 470,000 regular soldiers, with 7,600 main battle tanks, plus 170,000 Marines. The US Air Force has 2,300 combat aircraft and the US Navy more than 200 ships, including 12 aircraft carriers.

The 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 101st Airborne Division, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, have been ready to fly out to the Middle East since shortly after the terrorist attacks. Two carrier task forces of the US Fifth Fleet are already in the Middle East, where there are more than 30,000 servicemen, including the 1st Infantry Division, which is on exercise in Kuwait, where 500 Abrams tanks are also based.

There are more than 300 American combat aircraft in the region, including about 40 F15s and F16s at Prince Sultan Air Base, south of Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, 36 F15s and F16s at Incirlik, Turkey, and 24 Warthog "Tankbusters" at Ahmed al Jabr in Kuwait.

-- robert waldrop (, September 15, 2001


Where does all this silly talk of bombings this weekend come from? Iraq invaded Kuwait in August, 1990, and it took us over 5 months, until Jan. 15, 1991, to retailiate with our first air raid. With tankers just now starting to move fuel to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, it will be many weeks, probably months, at the very earliest, before any kind of worthwhile, sustained attack can be mounted.

-- Wayward (, September 15, 2001.

I hope we don't get into any powder puff, Clinton-style slap on the wrist attacks. Such feeble attempts are more of a public relation ploy....rather than a serious effort at achieving results.

Let's wait till we're ready....then hit them with all we've got.

-- R2D2 (, September 15, 2001.

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