Should U.S. and assembled coalition forces begin military action in the coming weeks against Iraq, the most important players won't necessarily be the fighter aircraft armed with a variety of smart weapons and precision-guided munitions. The most important single group of weapons systems will be the coalition special operations forces, the Israeli Arrow ballistic missile defense network, and the batteries of Patriot missile launchers that would back up the Arrow should it fail.
In my opinion, Saddam Hussein's likely first target for his arsenal of SCUD and evolved SCUD missiles will be Israel, perhaps within the first 18 hours or so of the first full-out coalition airstrikes. The importance of the Arrow missile system is on a paramount level, because it ensures that Tel Aviv can defend itself without having to literally enter the theater with its own combat aircraft. Hopefully our SOF professionals can destroy as many launchers before the Iraqis can juice up their weapons and fire them. Should the Arrows miss, and Iraq is lucky enough to get weapons off into the air, then the Patriots are the last line of defense.
In 1991, the SCUD hunt was considered a strategic liability vice kicking the Iraqis out of Kuwait. On the other hand, this time around, the SCUDs are part of the reason the coalition is going after Iraq in the first place.
Should conflict become a reality -- try to keep focus on western Iraq and the level of activity down there.
"Does Afghanistan = Hellmouth?" ZoMom Victoria Vergara
" We're dealing not with isolated terrorism...but with a broader movement to reject freedom, democracy and modernity itself." -- Robert Bartley, Wall Street Journal
"Being in the Marine Corps is like being in the Boy Scouts...except the Boy Scouts have adult supervision."--Overheard at a defense procurement conference in Virginia.