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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Strike on Iraq: War Under Way

Aired March 20, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is not a war against a people. It is not a war against a country. It is most certainly not a war against a religion. It is a war against a regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: And the war is under way. Live from Baghdad, Washington, Kuwait, and our correspondents around the globe, the strike on Iraq, from the front lines.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Baghdad on a Friday morning. It is 3:00, a few seconds past. And oh, what the five million or so residents of the Iraqi capital must be thinking on this, their Friday morning.

It does appear calm. It certainly has not been calm in the Iraqi capital for much of the day. And around the country, a war is under way. A 50-mile path of the border, the southern border, has been the site of a fierce artillery exchange. The first American Marines have moved in. The war has not started in the way we suspected it might, but make no mistake, the war has started.

Good evening again, everyone. I'm glad to have you with us on what we suspect will be yet another eventful night.

We are joined for the next couple of hours by our colleagues Wolf Blitzer and Christiane Amanpour, who join us in Kuwait City. We'll hear from them in just a moment.

But first, we need to give you an overview of the developments of what has been an extraordinary day. Connie Chung joins us with that-- Connie.

CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Aaron. I am Connie Chung. It's just after 3:00 a.m. in Baghdad.

In the news at this hour, for the second straight night, bombs ripped through Baghdad. U.S. officials say more than 50 cruise missiles hit the Iraqi capital during two days of bombing. In the most recent attacks, Bush administration officials say, at least two dozen missiles were fired.

The expected massive bombardment, the so-called shock and awe strategy, was put on hold, the Pentagon says, so it can assess damage done to the Iraqi chain of command.

The invasion, however, is under way on the ground. The U.S. Marines Expeditionary Force is now fighting its way through southern Iraq after crossing the border from Kuwait. The Seventh Cavalry is also in Iraq, reporting the destruction of some Iraqi military vehicles. There are reports of firefights with Iraqi troops. British soldiers are involved, but no reports of casualties from today's fighting.

Iraqi artillery has been lobbying shells into Kuwait, striking civilian targets as well as some coalition military positions. Air raid sirens in Kuwait City blared tonight. It was the seventh time the sirens sounded since the war began.

Anti-war protesters shut down traffic in New York Times Square tonight. Police moved in and tried to free up traffic, hauling away at least 11 protesters.

Nations officially supporting the U.S. invasion of Iraq also saw anti-war protests today. In Seoul, South Korea, protesters and police clashed violently.

The FBI is hunting for a 27-year-old Saudi man in connection with possible terrorist threats against the United States. In an alert issued today, the agency says it wants to question Adnan El Shukrijumah. The FBI says he may be involved with al Qaeda activity.

Earlier today, CNN showed the wrong police sketch during a story about the suspect. We apologize for the error and any misunderstanding it might have caused.

Continuing coverage of the strike on Iraq live from the front lines starts right now.

BROWN: Connie, thank you.

I know many of you, particularly in the East, are just getting home, are getting home from work, and now just getting, as we say, read into the events of the day. Over the next couple of hours, we'll fill out the headlines that Connie just delivered.

Air raid sirens have gone on and off and on and off all day today in Kuwait and in Baghdad as well. But Kuwait especially important to this moment. It is the place where, in many ways, this all began, the invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqis back in 1990.

Today, of course, the scene is a very different scene in Kuwait. An entire third of the country of Kuwait is blocked off. It is a restricted zone, and the only people in it are fighting forces. Almost all Americans, but some British forces are there too.

They have crossed again into the border. It is a risky place now. War is under way. Wolf Blitzer will be covering that part of the story for us as you look at Kuwait City at a little bit past 3:00 in the morning, Friday morning in Kuwait. A very modern city, though once you leave the city, there's not much there but desert. But the city itself is a modern, vibrant, in many ways oddly Western city, a mix of Western stores and businesses, and old-time Islamic culture.

And that's where our friend and our colleague Wolf Blitzer is tonight. Wolf, good evening again.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening to you, Aaron.

As you well know, Kuwait City is a beautiful city. It's got a lot going for it. It's an affluent city, although today seven times, seven times the air raid siren went off, suggesting that there was a possibility of either Scud missiles or frog (ph) missiles or artillery shells, some sort of missiles, landing in Kuwait City. For seven times today, people scrambled, they went to air raid shelters, they went to their so-called sealed rooms seven times.

Really not much happened. The all-clear sounded very quickly. But it is a bit scary. Much scarier, though, in the northern part of Kuwait, where troops are massing to move into Iraq.

In Baghdad, the situation was considerably scarier today as U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles and other bombs once again launched strikes against various targets in Baghdad. We were looking at those pictures that were taken earlier in the day, selected targets, we don't have the bomb damage assessment yet, what precisely was achieved during the course of those strikes.

But there's one of those Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from a destroyer in the Persian Gulf heading towards Baghdad, those Tomahawk cruise missiles, satellite guided, they can be very, very effective.

CNN's Art Harris is now in southern Iraq. He's just moved into southern Iraq from northern Kuwait. He's one of those journalists embedded with U.S. troops.

Art, if you can hear us now, tell us what's going on. I know there's been a lot of military activity along the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border.

ART HARRIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. Correction, we are not quite-- this unit is not quite into Iraq yet, but I've been watching artillery bombardments for the last five hours. Fierce night skies have been lit up with multiple rocket launchers. In the last half hour, the earth has been shaking along the stretch of border where I'm with the Second Marines Light Armored Recon Unit.

And it appears that U.S. artillery continues to pound Iraqi positions across the border from Kuwait. I know the 110 Artillery is nearby. The wind is about 10 or 12 knots.

Of course, they would have to factor all that in, the atmosphere (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the shells, but it's been a fierce artillery bombardment all night, Wolf, and I have also heard probably very high- flying bombers and fighters, the sound of those jet engines and an almost full moon, very bright on the desert. I can see the silhouette of armored vehicles stretching as far as the eye can see, and just reporting from the Kuwaiti side of the Iraqi border, Wolf.

BLITZER: Art, the troops that you're with, they've moved in. A lot of them have already started moving into southern Iraq. You're still in northern Kuwait, but others have actually gone in?

HARRIS: That's what I understand, Wolf. And we're not supposed to talk about specific troop movements lest we give anything away and pinpoint our position. So I'm being a little vague, if that's all right, for security's sake. But from what we hear, the march has begun.

I know that the berm between Iraq and Kuwait, I'm told, has been quite pulverized, and holes have been cut in the berm separating the two countries so that troops can move in. And that breach was made earlier in the evening, and movement through the border has begun.

BLITZER: CNN's Art Harris. He's embedded with the Third Battalion, Second Marines Task Force. He's up in northern Kuwait, but several of the Marines, a lot of the Marines that he's covering, obviously, have started to move into southern Iraq.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour is also here in Kuwait. She's standing by, and she has more.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And we've been talking to a lot of our embedded reporters throughout this day as this action has slowly progressed, and people have started to move from their bases in northern Kuwait on to the demilitarized zone, and in some cases into southern Iraq.

One of our journalists embedded with, this time the Cavalry Division, is Walter Rodgers. Walter, do you hear us?

WALTER RODGERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christiane, I hear you.

We are trying to feed you pictures live from our videophone of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry, that's the Army's Seventh Cavalry, moving forward. So what you're seeing is what every soldier in the Seventh Cavalry, at least the Apache Troop, is seeing at this hour.

You're seeing the back of a truck, and ahead of that two or three more armored vehicles, then the-- then ahead of them are the tanks, the M1A1 Abrams tanks, and ahead of them, the Bradley fighting vehicles.

This is a scouting unit, as far out in front of the main body of the Third Mechanized Infantry Division well behind us. The Seventh Cavalry is rolling unopposed across the southern Iraqi desert at this time, and we believe the ultimate destination over the course of the next days and weeks will be the outskirts of Baghdad.

There was some hostile contact with Iraqi army forces at the initial border crossing in northwestern Kuwait, but this unit, the Seventh Cavalry, has such overwhelming firepower and such a capability of seeing and fighting at night, an advantage that the Iraqis don't have, that that Iraqi opposition was pretty minimal. It was put down quickly.

We understand that some seven or so, six or seven trucks and an undisclosed number of Iraqi tanks were put out of action. The Seventh Cavalry has all kinds of firepower capable of dealing with that sort of obstacle.

The initial contact would have been made by the Kiowa helicopters, which are a small reconnaissance helicopter. They fly about 30 to 50 feet across the ground, and, of course, at night, they have thermal imagery onboard, so they can see any armored vehicles or even soldiers on the ground that the Iraqis might have out in front of this armored column.

Then behind the helicopters, several kilometers back, the land forces, the Bradley armored vehicles, are coming up. They are moving now in single columns. Sometimes they're moving abreast. And then they're followed by the big, big guns of this cavalry unit, which is, of course, the M1A1 Abrams tank, 120-millimeter gun, many believe the most powerful and lethal land weapon around, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Walter, you've been talking about, as your unit progresses, tell us about the explosions you saw earlier this evening.

RODGERS: Well, when this unit, the Seventh Cavalry, drew close to the border, we were still in Kuwait. But when we drew close to the border with Iraq, we were-- we halted. We halted for over three, almost four hours. And we got outside of our vehicle. And what-- we tried to inquire as to what the delay was. The delay was this brief encounter with a rather token and hostile Iraqi forces.

And as we got out of our vehicle, there was an incoming shell off to, I believe, what would have been the south, and it was-- we heard it fall, and it gave us a mild concussion-- that is to say, as all artillery shells do.

It was a single shell. My first reaction, of course, was, is this a high-explosive shell, or is it possibly a chemical warhead? It had the sound of a high-explosive shell-- that is to say, a big blast. Chemical warheads don't have that heavy blast so much. They have a more tingling thing.

We checked all the Army vehicles. No one yelled, Gas, gas, gas! No horns were blown, meaning we had to get into full chemical- biological weapons suits with gas masks and everything.

So we were-- it was just a stray incoming shell. It affected not the movement of our convoy. Indeed, it actually helped our convoy, because as soon as that shell came in off to our left of the south, when we were sitting there, the Army started moving again very quickly, just in case someone was trying to draw a bead on us, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Walter, thank you very much indeed. We are going to go back to Aaron right now.

BROWN: Christiane, thank you.

Just watching that, and despite the graininess of the pictures and the greenness of the night. as it looks through the nightscope, that is a remarkable scene.

We've talked a lot leading up to these days about what the embedding process is, that there are literally hundreds of correspondents and many of them ours, who are living with, sleeping with, and traveling with troops. And they will be reporting on this as it happens in many cases. And that is a wonderful and quite dramatic example of the system. None of us knew how it would work. We have a better feel for it today, and so far it's working very well.

One of the things the president and the government is trying to do very hard right now, and with considerable success, we would say, is to suggest that everything is going on as normal. It is normal. Things are under control. The president himself will underscore that this weekend.

Our senior White House correspondent, John King, joins us now. John, there is a message in all of this, isn't there?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, this president loves to go to Camp David on the weekend, so in going to Camp David, there is certainly a message that it is business as usual. But I should also note that it is not at all extraordinary, not at all a signal that the president is losing focus. He has the full command of the United States government at his disposal up at the Camp David presidential retreat.

There is a miniversion of the Situation Room. He has direct secure communication. Whenever he is at Camp David, his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, or her deputy, Steve Hadley, goes with him. And we are told the national security meetings that would happen here at the White House will happen up at Camp David.

So certainly a message in that the president will leave the White House on the weekend, as he traditionally does, but it should in no way be interpreted that he cannot keep his hand on every moving part of this military operation.

BROWN: Just put that picture up again, if you guys can. I believe that was the picture at about 7:00 last night. The president, Andrew Card, his chief of staff, George Tenet, and I'm assuming that's the vice president behind him. And I gather that's the moment the order was signed and given right around 8:00 last night.

KING: No, Aaron. This is actually a photograph from this morning. The president being briefed on the overnight developments. The president and the vice president and Andy Card being briefed by the CIA director on the overnight developments.

We are this evening getting some riveting details, first details of the tick-tock, if you will, of those meetings. We are told with these two words, "Let's go," spoken by the president of the United States in the Oval Office at 7:12 p.m. last night. "Let's go," the president said to the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

That authorized essentially ripping up the initial battle plan and going ahead with the cruise missile strikes and the F-117 Stealth fighter strike last night. And we are told that was after a very tense meeting in the Oval Office. CIA director Tenet, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld rushed over to the White House around 3:30 yesterday afternoon after this intelligence came into their hands that perhaps Saddam Hussein and certainly key members of the Iraqi leadership were at that location in Baghdad.

In conversations that stretched for three hours, we were told Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers rushing out of the room, the Oval Office, to get secure communication to General Tommy Franks in the region. General Franks at one point told the president he needed to know by 7:15 p.m. if he was to pull off the operation we saw last night.

The president then asked for more intelligence information from George Tenet. They read the president's speech of Monday night to General Franks in the field, Secretary Rumsfeld asking him, was there anything in this operation to be carried out last night that was inconsistent with the mission the president had described to the American people?

When General Franks said no, the president got the latest information on the intelligence, we are told, at 7:12 p.m. He looked at Secretary Rumsfeld, he said, "Let's go." That broke up the meeting. The war plan essentially rewritten on the fly, and those dramatic strikes we saw last night in Baghdad, Aaron.

BROWN: John, thank you. I suppose if the speechwriter had done it, it would have been, "Let's roll," but "Let's go" gets the message across just as well. Thank you, our senior White House correspondent, John King.

That message went to the secretary of defense, who took it back to the Pentagon. That's where our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre is. Jamie, there is-- we are in the fog of war in many ways as analysts try and figure out what has been accomplished to date. Fair enough?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. And the big question we don't know is, what's going on with the ground war? Which apparently now is well under way, and we're not getting a clear picture, even though we have reporters with some of those units. They're not in a position at this point where they can file their stories.

It appears for now the so-called shock and awe campaign has been put on hold, at least temporarily, while the Pentagon tries to figure out what's going on with the Iraqi leadership. Is Saddam Hussein alive? Is he-- is-- was that a double on TV? Is he in control of his military? The Iraqi military doesn't seem to be putting up much resistance, and at this point it's a big question mark whether or not the regime is collapsing from within. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, at his briefing today, indicated that the U.S. is in communication with Iraqi military officials, trying to get them to surrender.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUMSFELD: We have-- we are in communication with still more people who are officials of the military at various levels-- the regular army, the special Republican-- the Republican Guard, the special Republican Guard who are increasingly aware that it's going to happen. He's going to be gone.

When I said we have good evidence, we have not only good evidence, but we have broad and deep evidence that suggests that there are people going through that decision-making process throughout that country today, and that is a good thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld said once the Iraqi military and other government officials are persuaded that Saddam Hussein is history, it says-- he says there will come a point where they'll want to give in. So what they're doing now is adjusting the war plan dramatically to fit the reality on the ground, where they may not have to use this level of force.

But again, Pentagon officials say they have that shock and awe plan all ready to go, with thousands of precision-guided munitions aimed at targets in Baghdad. If they conclude that Saddam Hussein is in control and the military is resisting, it could happen as soon as-- really any time, even as soon as tonight, Aaron.

BROWN: In my nonmilitary mind, Jamie, why is it so hard, given the nature of communications even in the Persian Gulf, the ability of Tommy Franks, General Franks and his people, to stay in touch with what's going on on the ground, almost literally to see every unit? Why is it so hard to know the answers to these questions?

MCINTYRE: Well, Tommy Franks has a good idea what's going on. I just think the rest of us, looking from the outside--

BROWN: OK.

MCINTYRE: ... don't have a good idea.

And as for what's going on in the Iraqi military, clearly the Iraqi military appears to be in disarray. It is not putting up much resistance. But is it a matter of them lying low, or are they really cut off of the communications? Is there a power vacuum in Baghdad? Or are they simply are trying to regroup? And that takes some time to figure out.

BROWN: Tell me, one of the things-- Thank you, Jamie. Jamie McIntyre. One of the things that we recall from the war that General Wesley Clark was involved in, in what was Yugoslavia and Bosnia, was a kind of rope-a-dope strategy, and that's always been one of the possibilities here, that the Iraqi forces might essentially take a hit, pull back, surround Baghdad, and make their stand there.

It is coming up towards dawn, not quite, couple hours away, in Baghdad, in the picture you see and in Kuwait as well, about 350 miles, 400 miles, I guess, from Kuwait City-- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's right, Aaron. Here in Kuwait City, there's a nervousness. There's an eerie quiet right now. People are bracing for yet another siren to go off. They've been going off all today, seven times today.

But right now, it's very, very quiet here in the middle of the night. The initial U.S. attack 24 hours or so ago targeted Saddam Hussein, by all accounts directly trying to surgically remove him. But did the Iraqi leader dodge yet another attempt to kill him? Or is the man who appeared on Iraqi television after the assault a double?

CNN's national security correspondent David Ensor is tracking these developments, and he's joining us now live-- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, nobody has a definitive answer to that question, and that is a question very much of interest to the U.S. intelligence community, and obviously the White House as well.

However, some of the officials who are looking at that tape, analyzing it, are beginning to grow convinced Saddam Hussein did indeed survive that attack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN, IRAQ: Allah akbhar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENSOR (voice-over): Officials say technical analysis suggests the voice and inflection and movements of the mouth may be the same as Saddam Hussein from past tapes, though there is not a definitive U.S. judgment.

RUMSFELD: There's debate about that.

ENSOR: One skeptic about whether it is Saddam is former CIA photo analyst Dino Grugione (ph), though in the past, he told CNN, Saddam's doubles almost never speak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, FORMER CIA PHOTO ANALYST: Saddam has probably got one, possibly two doubles, and when his double appears, you watch it. He'll never talk. ENSOR: CIA director George Tenet was able to report to the president that intelligence officials believe the cruise missile and bomb attacks that started the war did kill some top Iraqi leaders, who U.S. officials say were sleeping in the compound that was attacked, but not, apparently, Saddam Hussein.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ENSOR: And it is not always easy to find one person. U.S. intelligence, the U.S. in general, has been being looking, of course, for Osama bin Laden, for Mullah Omar, for over a year now.

At the same time, officials do say that if Saddam Hussein is not any more able to give orders to his troops, his importance is already diminishing fast, Wolf.

BLITZER: David, have you had a chance to assess this second videotape that came out today with Saddam Hussein meeting with all of his top military officers? Has the CIA, has the U.S. intelligence community definitely confirmed that, yes, this is new videotape, Saddam Hussein meeting with his generals?

ENSOR: No. They don't say they definitely have. They're looking at both of those tapes. You'll notice he's wearing the same clothes in both, and they were allegedly filmed on the same day.

There are some officials who say that Saddam might have been devious enough to record tapes prior to this, putting in dates and various different scenarios, so they'd have a tape they could run in the event he was killed and make it look like he was still alive.

But as I said, there are also intelligence officials now who are saying that as they analyze the tapes, they do think that's him. And on balance, probably he's still alive, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Very familiar. Sounds eerily familiar to all of the videotapes with Osama bin Laden, trying to check if he's alive. Now Saddam Hussein to see if he's alive. I'm sure the intelligence community's going to have their work cut out for them in the coming days and weeks. David Ensor, thanks very much.

CNN's Miles O'Brien is joining us now from the CNN Center in Atlanta. He's got some analysis with a special guest, General Wesley Clark. Miles?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you very much, Wolf.

Of course, as you know, Wesley Clark, former supreme NATO commander and a man with a lot of experience moving armor through the field of battle.

You know, it's interesting, I-- just to start off, I was interested at that point where you were talking about how, you know, almost sterile and antiseptic it looks when we put all these little pieces on a board, when you get down there in the dirt, it's a whole different ball game, isn't it? GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: It's real messy, because everything is moving at once. And whereas with the Air Force you may have 100 aircraft, in an Army division, you may have 6,000 to 7,000, 8,000 vehicles part of that division, all moving.

O'BRIEN: It's kind of hard to imagine how that is all synchronized, and it's obviously why guys are doing what you do and get stars on their shoulders.

Let's talk about the absolute core of the armored push toward Baghdad, in this case, and any armored column in the U.S. Army, that's the M1A1 Abrams tank. And as we take a look at it, we'll give you a sense of what it's all about.

The Abrams tank dates back-- actually its lineage goes back to the '70s.

CLARK: Right.

O'BRIEN: But tell us about this piece of weaponry.

CLARK: Came on the scene, actually we began to use it in the early 1980s. It's got a gas turbine engine in it, 1,500 horsepower, 120-millimeter gun on this version. It's got depleted uranium armor. It's a very powerful, fast, and well-protected vehicle. Crew of four.

O'BRIEN: There's the commander there...

CLARK: A commander...

O'BRIEN: ... there would be the gunner there. That's the loader, and that would be the driver, right.

CLARK: That's exactly right. It's very fast, it's very agile, and it's very, very accurate. Hits targets up to 3,000 meters away on the move.

O'BRIEN: And previous-- prior to the first Gulf War, it had not been tested in battle. How did it do there?

CLARK: It-- well, it did an exceptional job. It had a thermal sight on it which looked through rain and sandstorms and so forth and far outclassed the Soviet-style tanks that the Iraqis were using.

O'BRIEN: All right. Now, any time you're marching with a column of armor, you have air cover. That's an important part of any Army doctrine involving armor. The Apache helicopter, the attack helicopter, is key to that. Tell us about that.

CLARK: Well, these Apache helicopters are part of the-- what you've got right here, we've been talking about the Seventh Cav. They've got these Apache helicopters. They're out in front. They're scouting with their scout helicopters. Got a 30-millimeter chain gun you see swiveling on the front. You see the sight up there in the chin turret, got Hellfire missiles there under the winglets, and rockets also, unguided rockets there. O'BRIEN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And these rockets are a little less oomph than the Hellfire, might be used on things that are not armored, right?

CLARK: Right.

O'BRIEN: The Hellfire is designed to go through things that are armored, correct?

CLARK: Hits tanks, knocks out tanks.

O'BRIEN: All right.

Now, in addition to that, in addition to that air cover, another thing that you might find and would find is the F-16. What is the F- 16's role? Does that go way out in advance of armor to suppress any potential enemy fire?

CLARK: It's a multifunction aircraft. It can do a lot of things. It can take out enemy aircraft. It can take out enemy air defenses. It can jam enemy air defenses in some cases. And it can deliver ordinance on the ground in support of ground troops.

O'BRIEN: All right. F-16s, and we typically think of that as a fighter, air-to-air type stuff--

CLARK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) fighter, right.

O'BRIEN: ... but it actually has an attack mode.

CLARK: That's exactly right. It's a multimission aircraft, multirole.

O'BRIEN: All right. And then this one right here, the Warthog, the A-10, which is a-- you know, I think it's well named, it's aptly named. It is heavily armored aircraft design for close air support with armor. Tell me what-- how this works in the field.

CLARK: Well, this is the one we like, because when they come on the scene, they got a 30-millimeter gun. It'll take out anything with t. It can also fire missiles that are heat-seeking, and it can take out tanks. But it can loiter on station, it can go low, it can go high. It's there with us, and the guys that fly those aircraft are people who understand what we do on the ground. And they're risking their lives to help us with it.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question about the general strategy as we see it unfold, this idea of simultaneously beginning air and ground attacks. Very different than the Persian Gulf War, number one, in 1991. What are the pros and cons?

CLARK: Well, I think that the idea is the more simultaneity that you can get into a battle like this, the more you can overwhelm the enemy's command and control system. Get him disorganized, reacting to you, take away any of his advantages, and you finish the war more rapidly and more decisively. More losses for him, fewer for us. O'BRIEN: That's the pro. Quickly, what's the con of doing it simultaneously? Is it more risky?

CLARK: It's more risky if you don't know the enemy. And you know the comparison between now and 1991 is we weren't as confident then. We weren't as good relative to the enemy as we are now. We are much better now in relation to Saddam Hussein, and we're much more confident.

O'BRIEN: Hopefully not overconfident.

CLARK: I hope not overconfident. As I watch the troops and I listen to the commanders, I know they respect the enemy's capabilities. You have to respect your adversary, but still you impose your will on the adversary.

O'BRIEN: All right. General Wesley Clark, thanks, as always. We appreciate the insight. We're going to send it back to Christiane.

AMANPOUR: Miles, I actually just had a question for General Clark. General, I wanted to ask you about the psychology of the opening stages of this offensive. I know that they are trying to assess the survivability of the leadership, but can you explain the psychology of going softer than you'd anticipated and not giving the leadership a really hard punch at this particular point?

CLARK: Well, we may have given the leadership a very, very hard punch, if that decapitating strike last night was effective. And there's always been the view here that what we'd like is to convince the Iraqis, as many as possible, to surrender as soon as possible. And so, in this case, if you do believe you've been successful in taking out the hard core, top-level leaders, the guys who would never surrender, and what you're dealing with is a more pliable, lower-level leadership, then maybe a pause like this, where you do some bombing, but don't do a whole lot of damage, will convince someone to step up and say, OK, I'm in charge and we're surrendering to the Americans, and let's do it now. And I think that's what's behind this.

BLITZER: OK. General Clark, thanks very much. Thanks to Miles O'Brien, as well. We're going to have a lot more coverage coming up. But I want to go to CNN's Connie Chung right now for a look at the latest developments at this hour.

CHUNG: Thank you, Wolf. Good evening, I'm Connie Chung at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Here's a quick update of the very latest on the strike in Iraq.

It's 3:30 in the morning in Baghdad and all is quiet. That's a change from earlier, when some 20 cruise missiles hit the targets. The Pentagon has put off heavier attacks, its shock and awe campaign to assess the state of Iraq's leadership. Meanwhile, U.S. Marines are crossing the border from Kuwait into southern Iraq.

After an all-day debate, the U.S. intelligence sources still aren't sure whether it was Saddam Hussein himself who appeared on Iraqi TV after last night's air strikes. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld confirms there is debate about whether that figure on Iraqi television tape was Saddam Hussein.

There's no doubt it was the real Tony Blair who addressed the British people this evening. The prime minister said British forces are taking part in the U.S.-led military operation to protect the world from disorder and chaos.

From coast to coast, across the U.S., the attacks on Iraq have brought war protesters into the streets. Riot police clashed with demonstrators and had to protect the U.S. embassy in Egypt. It was the same story in South Korea, where many of the anti-war demonstrators were college students.

Do you want to be a war correspondent? Well this might make you think twice. CNN's Walter Rodgers had to duck when an Iraqi shell zoomed overhead while he was recording a report. It missed, thank goodness. Walter Rodgers is OK.

U.S. satellites are detecting smoke from what appear to be oil well fires in Iraq. Earlier today, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the Iraqi regime may have set fire to as many as three or four of the oil wells in southern Iraq.

I'll have another update at the top of the hour. Now back to Strike on Iraq, live from the front lines.

BROWN: Connie, thanks. The secretary of defense you just mentioned is speaking now. And let's take his comments.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: What number they'll end uplanding on is a mix of Defense, State and other agencies, Homeland Security. And I just don't have that in my hand.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you have information about Saddam Hussein? If he was injured in killed in yesterday's attack?

RUMSFELD: No. I have no information that I can provide on that subject. Ask me a question I can answer.

QUESTION: Are things going well? Did things go well today?

RUMSFELD: Things are going very swell well. General Franks and his team are first rate. They're enormously capable. They've got a plan that, in my judgment, is excellent. And they are proceeding with it.

There is no question but that that regime is not going to be there in the future. And at some point, the people of Iraq and the military of Iraq will register that fact. The people will be enormously relieved and liberated. And the military, if they're wise, they'll refuse to obey orders and particularly will refuse to obey any orders involving the use of weapons of mass destruction. Thank you very much.

BROWN: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talking briefly to reporters this evening. "Things are going very well, we have a good plan," he said. "Things are going very well." We have -- to this point, the view that we have and the view that we're able to give you is somewhat narrow. We see Baghdad, of course. We have a pretty good feel for what's going on there. And our embedded reporters are able to help us give a slightly broader view, depending on what unit they're in and where that unit is.

Ryan Chilcote is with the 101st, one of the great legendary fighting forces in the history of the American military. What can you tell us?

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, elements of the 101st Airborne have moved out of a camp in Kuwait here into this assembly area. Here they are now postured if and when the word should come to move into Iraq. Now, little information about the situation here.

First of all, it's worth mentioning that it is 3:40 in the morning. So the soldiers are sleeping pretty much anywhere they can. On top of their vehicles, inside their vehicles, on the ground. A lot of the soldiers even sleeping underneath their vehicles for a little warmth, because I'm here to tell you it is cold here.

We hear so much about how it's always hot in Iraq and Kuwait in this area. Well it's cold tonight and obviously not the best conditions to be on a camping trip like this, if you will, particularly with the prospect of going to war in Iraq.

Now, it's been a long day. The day, basically, got jump-started, if you will, with a series of three scud alarms. I was standing next to a group of soldiers earlier in the day at Camp New Jersey when the scud alarm sounded. We quickly donned our masks, ran for the shelter, five minutes later we were given the all clear.

We were told that that was a surface-to-surface missile. The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 100, I was told by my unit. It's like a scud, but it doesn't have quite the same range. A bit shorter range and not the same size warhead.

That experience repeated three times, if you can imagine. Three times that alarm went off. Three times we donned our masks, ran for the shelter, and three times we were told that it had been a missile attack.

We headed out on a long trip here to the assembly area. On the way I did hear some artillery off in the distance, pretty far away. It sounded like thumping, if you will. I couldn't see it myself. I was pretty far back in the convoy. A lot of sand kicked up by the other vehicles in the convoy, but some soldiers in the front of the convoy, they told me that it looked like thunder and lightning coming from the direction of Basra.

That's another way the soldier said of saying that they saw artillery. Still no word whether that was U.S. or Iraqi artillery. Aaron, back to you.

BROWN: Ryan, without getting into the specifics here, do the men in that unit know now what their mission is? Do they know specifically what they're going to be asked to do?

CHILCOTE: Yes. Obviously, I can't get into the specifics, as you know. As an embedded reporter, one of the things that we do is we agree not to compromise operational security, not to compromise future plans or current plans. That's part of the deal to be able to report on what's going on here and really not to compromise the lives of U.S. servicemen and servicewomen.

Having said that, the soldiers are aware, in general terms, of what they will be asked to do. And their commanders are particularly well aware of what they might be asked to do. Having said that, the 101st Airborne is one of the most flexible as a light infantry air assault division. One of the most flexible units that's been deployed here.

So their mission could change, depending on what Saddam Hussein -- President Saddam Hussein, does. So, yes, they do have a mission, but obviously, things could change -- Aaron.

BROWN: Thank you. And we are all sensitive, even absentees, embedding rules. Sensitive about giving away anything that could endanger anyone. The embedding process works because we all understand the rules and we all understand the consequences. And no one wants to have that responsibility, believe me.

Ryan, take care of yourself. Thanks very much.

Ryan mentioned Basra. Basra is an important destination point for the American military. It is believed the population there will be very receptive, if you will, to the Americans coming in. It also is a route to the oil fields in southern Iraq.

Iraq -- many are ready and may be experiencing some problems in the oil fields. There is some indication from NOAA satellites, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Those satellites are picking up heavy smoke from what appears to be oil well fires. The pictures were taken early in the morning.

This is something that's been circulated all day long. But you can see that, and obviously a trained eye sees it differently than the rest of us. But as analysts have looked at it in this portion of southern Iraq, they believe perhaps a couple of three or four oil wells may have been set afire. Anyone who's paid any attention to this story and the planning for this knows full well the great concern that one of the things that Saddam Hussein may do is torch his own oil wells, his own bank account.

This extraordinary resource the people of Iraq have, it creates not just an ecological problem. It's very expensive to try and put these things out. It's very complicated work to try and put these things out. And it is also very dangerous work to try and put these things out.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has been working today with one of the contracted companies who may end up, should the worst come, with having to put them out, cut pressure control. It's one of the companies notified by the government. The company put out hundreds of fires in the Kuwaiti desert in the aftermath of the 1991 war. That's what Ed's been working on -- Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN DALLAS BUREAU CHIEF: Aaron, well this is where we are in Houston, Texas. This is the storage yard of Cudd Well control. And we're about a mile away from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. And the reason they're here is that so they can be quickly deployed from this storage yard.

All of the equipment that you see here at some point if they are called into action, if you will, all of this equipment will need to be shipped off. About 150,000 pounds of equipment that is used in this very specialized training, and all of this can be deployed in 48 hours. The officials here say that they can be on the ground ready to continue working.

And, as you mentioned, Aaron, this group was involved in the Kuwaiti fires 12 years ago. There were some 700 fires that needed to be put out back then. They were involved in putting out 200 of those. It took them nine months to do the work. And one of the gentlemen that was on the ground there 12 years ago, Les Skinner, joins us now.

Les, we're going to show some flames. You can see the flames of what it was like working in those conditions. Describe it for us.

LES SKINNER, CUDD WELL CONTROL: Well it's like a scene from hell. You have a boiling cauldron of oil and gas coming out of well boards, catching on fire. And there's a lot of smoke and a tremendous amount of noise. It simply overwhelms the senses.

LAVANDERA: And how specialized is this? I mean what kind of training goes into what you guys need to be able to do?

SKINNER: Most of the training is experience-based. It's really on-the-job training. There's not very many people that do this, simply because there are not very many people who have been through this experience.

LAVANDERA: Logistically, how difficult is it to get everything over there? You can get over there rather quick, it seems like -- 48 hours.

SKINNER: Yes. We can be on an airplane, we can be on the ground in a staging area near Iraq probably within 48, 72 two hours at the most. The equipment can be brought in by airfreight. And of course, people fly over on chartered planes. So we can get there rather quickly.

LAVANDERA: You know we're going to see some video images that you guys took when you were working there 12 years ago, getting up close. And a lot of the equipment that was used is in this storage yard. But describe what it is that has to be done step by step.

SKINNER: Well, the first thing we have to do is pour water on the entire arena. That's logically to cool the thing down. It takes care of ground fires, and the ground is very hot around these fires. These fires burn at around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's enough to melt steel and sand. So the first thing we do is pour water on it, then we have to extinguish the fire. And we have a number of different ways to extinguish fires. Anything from chemical powder, fire extinguishers to explosives. And then after that, we simply take the old well head equipment off and replace it with new gear and shut the flow off at a valve.

LAVANDERA: You guys didn't suffer any injuries -- people who worked on this 12 years ago. If you're called in, how long will it take to complete the job this time, if indeed it's what has to happen?

SKINNER: It depends on the fires themselves, the number of wells, and how strong they are. We understand that some of the wells in Iraq have flow rates that are orders of magnitude larger than the wells we had to deal with in Kuwait. And those wells are going to take a lot longer to put out and to cap.

LAVANDERA: All right. Thank you very much, Les. I appreciate the time.

Some final shots here from the storage yard. The shot that you see over there of that long pipe is used to kind of put over the flame and let it go straight upward and get it away from the firefighters. And this shingle here that you see here, the firefighters can stand behind it, shoot water through that hole there -- you see the window -- and fire directly at the oil well, and that protects them from the intense heat there.

So, Aaron, these guys are ready to go, 48-hours notice. All of the teams that are here have their bags packed and ready to go as soon as that call comes from the Department of Defense that their expertise is needed.

BROWN: Ed, thank you. Ed Lavandera in Houston, Texas tonight.

The object -- where you can in these situations -- is to save the well. You want to be able to save the oil well. They're expensive to drill. They go down hundreds of feet.

Sometimes you can't and you just have to plug them up. Hopefully that won't happen. Hopefully nobody gets hurt. And I guess, hopefully, none of these wells are set on fire. It would be a great tragedy in many, many ways.

Wolf, I don't know -- I know you've been in country for a while. I don't know if you've had a chance to go up to -- because it's been cornered off for a while -- up to northern Iraq -- rather to northern Kuwait. But I was up there about a month ago, and you can still see 12 years later the damage done by the fires that Saddam Hussein's troops set after ransacking Kuwait City and then making their exit, their retreat out of Kuwait. You can still see the damaged oil fields a dozen years later.

BLITZER: I remember that report you did when you were here, Aaron. What did you report, that 700 of Kuwait's 1,000 oil fields went up in smoke as a result of torching? Some number like that. Maybe you remember it off the top of your head.

BROWN: Well, it was something like that. And thanks to the people that Ed just reported on and others, most of them are back on line. And, in fact, the Kuwaitis today produced slightly more oil than they produced a dozen years ago. But it was enormously expensive.

Well over $1 billion was spent trying to restore the fields to conditions that allowed them to go back in and start pumping oil. And, as you know, in a country like Kuwait, there is one industry. There is no other business but the oil business, basically.

That is the lifeblood. And of course the Iraqis knew that, and that's why they did what they did back in 1991.

BLITZER: And the question now is: Will they do it to their own oil fields in Iraq, which would cause incredible environmental damage? People here in Kuwait keep telling me they're still suffering, a lot of them, from breathing in the bad fumes, breathing in that air. Suffering as a result of that probably explains why this Arab nation, Kuwait, why this Arab country is so supportive of the U.S. in trying to go forward with regime change in Baghdad. A lot of hard feelings.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials say the current strikes across Iraq are part of a broader psychological warfare campaign to try to ratchet up tension, dissent among Iraqi troops themselves. U.S. officials have made it clear they hope Iraqi forces may refuse to fight for Saddam Hussein.

Let's get the latest on what the Pentagon is thinking about all of this. Our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, is joining us now live -- Jamie.

MCINTYRE: Well, the Pentagon is trying to be very flexible with its war plan. In fact, it seems to have changed a lot of aspects of it around as it is holding off essentially now on that big shock and awe aerial bombardment of Baghdad that was pretty much widely advertised and telegraphed by the Pentagon as the way they expected this to start.

Instead, they are moving ahead with the ground portion of the war, methodically moving up from the south with ground units. And they're looking for signs of cracks in the Iraqi leadership. This shows, by the way, the route that the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, one of the first units across the border, is taking as it's moving north.

Apparently it's taken a border town there. And there are other troops taking other locations in the south there. And the idea is to create a situation in which there is a feeling of inevitability, that it's just a matter of time before the United States is able to succeed in its military objectives. All of the while remaining in contact with key military officials in Iraq, including some Republican Guard and special Republican Guard leaders to try to convince them not to fight. Big question mark right now is: Is there a power vacuum in Baghdad? Is Saddam Hussein alive, well, in control? Is he able to -- is he getting the support from his commanders? Based on the resistance that Iraq has put up so far, the Pentagon is beginning to conclude there is a little disarray in Iraqi forces. So they're holding off on the big aerial assault, trying to determine whether or not Iraq's regime might be crumbling without the necessity for that massive display of military might.

BLITZER: All right. Well, we'll see, Jamie McIntyre. See if the strategy is beginning to hold out. Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

President Bush says his coalition of the willing is getting larger by the day. He says at least 40 nations have now joined in. Let's go to the White House. Our White House correspondent Dana Bash is standing by with more -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that's right. The president talked about the fact that he believes that they have now 40 members of that coalition of the willing, and there has certainly been a lot of focus on all of the military action here at the White House today. But the one thing -- another thing, I should say -- that the president did do today is, while he's focusing on toppling Saddam Hussein militarily, is focused on toppling him financially.

The president signed an executive order today that seizes, that confiscates all of the frozen assets that his father froze, about $1.4 billion. His father froze them in 1990, and the president decided in his executive order to confiscate that money.

Now we are told that he has the ability to do that under the Patriot Act. This is legislation that passed right after September 11, and this allows the president to confiscate any frozen assets for any nation that the U.S. is involved with hostility -- hostilities with, and that, of course, is Iraq as of last night. So the White House is intending to use that money, that $1.4 billion to help rebuild Iraq.

And the other thing that they're saying here at the White House, Wolf, is that they might have to go back to the United Nations in terms of dealing globally with Saddam Hussein's assets, because they want the whole world to come together and agree that any assets that Saddam Hussein has around the world will be seized -- will be frozen and seized and returned to the Iraqi people. There is concern here, according to administration officials, that countries like France and Russia and Germany, which have outstanding loans -- Iraq has outstanding loans to those countries -- that they will take some of the money as kind of loan repayments. The U.S. wants all of that money, they say, to go back to Iraq to help rebuild it for humanitarian assistance and things like that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dana, what do officials at the White House say when they point out accurately that some 40 governments, 40 countries, many of them former Warsaw Pact nations are actively supporting the United States as far as Iraq is concerned? But when you point out to them that only three, the United States, Britain and Australia, are actually sending military forces to fight, what do they say about this limited military coalition which is, of course, in marked contrast to what was the case a dozen years ago when the first President Bush had an enormous military alliance put together?

BASH: Well, it's interesting that you ask that. They are making a really big effort today here at the White House to explain the fact that, yes, that the United States, as you said, and Great Britain and Australia, at this point, are the only countries acting militarily against Saddam Hussein. But they made a great effort, starting with Ari Fleischer at the White House briefing, to say that there are almost two billion people who are living in countries around the world who are supporting this effort.

He even talked about the $2.17 trillion in GDP that these countries have. They're making a concerted effort to talk about it, but you're right. A lot of these countries, most of these countries are giving political support, logistical support, support with intelligence gathering, allowing the United States to fly over their nations, air space rights. Very, very different from the past, and it is part of the reason why we are hearing publicly a lot of the talk about this coalition, especially after the second resolution did not go through the U.N. and things definitely broke down at the United Nations -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dana Bash at the White House.

Let's bring in Christiane Amanpour. She's here in Kuwait with me.

AMANPOUR: And, of courses, Britain is one of the main countries that is supporting the United States. There are about 40,000, according to a British spokesmen here that we talked to. And tonight we are told by British spokespeople that the British have crossed the border and that they are in action. In fact, they have launched an operation against Al Fal (ph), which is just inside the Iraqi border on the other side of the border with Kuwait.

Now, Britain, also -- although the prime minister supports this mission, the British people are entirely divided about this and a very -- have quite high levels of opposition to this. And indeed the prime minister talked about that when he addressed Britain today. The war is certainly controversial and feelings either for or against it don't necessarily fall along religious or ethnic lines. Nonetheless, in the United States we want to see how it's been greeted by some Arab- Americans. And CNN's Jeff Flock joins us now from Dearborn, Michigan.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Christiane. Specifically, Iraqi-Americans we have been talking to, and it's interesting to get their perspective on this. Their homeland now in some sense under attack, but they don't look at it that way.

We are at the Islamic Education Center. Even prayers have just concluded, so we are able to come on inside. And I want to get to the leader of the organization. You are absolutely joyful about what is happening in Iraq tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, our happiness is mixed with some sorrow, because we don't like to see our country to be destroyed. And it is a pity to see what's going on Iraq. We would love to see the Iraqi people liberate their land by themselves so we will have the whole dignity and the pride.

But anyway, Saddam doesn't represent the Iraqis. We never voted for Saddam. He doesn't represent us. So it's about time for the people who brought him in power to take him out.

FLOCK: So you are supportive of what's going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are supportive of the removal of Saddam. Yes, we support all the United Nations, everybody helping us to liberate Iraq from this dictator.

FLOCK: This man I spoke with earlier, who is an Iraqi-American and has been in this country for a number of years, you introduced me to a man earlier whose house was destroyed by a U.S. missile in 1991. He loves America. He does not blame the Americans for that. He blames Saddam for it. Explain to me how that is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam was the reason to bring the war in the Middle East. He was the reason for it. He is the beast of the Middle East and we need to get rid of him so we'll live in peace.

FLOCK: I see people who have not slept because they've been watching the coverage. And I don't know if we're able to see over the shoulder. What are you watching there? You're not watching CNN, I know, but you're watching in your native...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well we always watch CNN and we thank you for the coverage. Actually, they are hopeful to see a new hope so they can go back to Iraq. All these people suffer because of Saddam.

All these people -- let me ask them one question. Raise your hand. Anybody suffer by Saddam raise your hand. Anybody lost a member because of Saddam, raise your hand.

Anybody would be happy to see Saddam removed (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Anybody happy to see Saddam...

FLOCK: What did you ask?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked them...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, anybody is going to be happy...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam must go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam must go! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam must go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked them if anybody of you lost a member because of Saddam, they all raised their hand. I said anybody of you going to be happy to see Saddam be removed? They all raise their hands.

FLOCK: So even with the tremendous danger of the U.S. invasion and the shock and awe that is expected, it may well kill innocent people, you are willing to take that chance?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam is not our president. Saddam is an agent of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So the people who brought him in power, it's about time to clean up their mess and get him out.

FLOCK: I thank you very much for your time. Gentlemen, thank you so much. I hear that.

Perhaps you get some sense of the feeling in the Iraqi-American community here tonight. Everyone here has a story. I'm going to get to more of them after we're finished. That's the latest from Dearborn, Michigan. Back to you folks.

AMANPOUR: You certainly do get some sense. Quite a spirited group there. And we go back to Aaron in Atlanta.

BROWN: Thanks, Christiane. Dearborn is a considerable Arab- American community. They came to Michigan, the Detroit area, like so many others did to work in the auto business. And they made a rich and vibrant community there.

That is one side, I suppose, of the reaction to all that is going on. Today, there is, of course, another side. The buildup to the war was filled with anger and protest, and the beginning of the war has not quelled it, necessarily. In New York today, there was an anti-war protest that caused some problems. Maria Hinojosa has been covering that strain of the story, and Maria joins us now. It is always nice to see you.

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Aaron. Well, you know, for weeks now, anti-war activists around the country have been putting in motion their own plans for what to do if war broke out. That plan was, they said, to disrupt business as usual if war broke out. And it looks like in several places around the country they were able to do so.

Now here in Times Square, thousands of protesters flooded into the streets in really an emergency rally without a permit. So we did see that there were several arrests that occurred. People who were trying to get to the demonstration who broke away from the other parts of the demonstration and were running, those people were arrested. We have heard at least 11, if not more than that.

Now in Boston, scores of college students and professors and their supporters took to the streets as well, trying to block traffic on the bridge, crossing the Charles River. And in San Francisco, thousands of protesters came out to, again, in their words, to disrupt business as usual. Many, many arrests and many of them chained themselves together with different kinds of pieces of metal that then had to be sawed off.

But there is a part of this story, of course, the silent majority, they call themselves. And in the latest poll before the war that was taken four days before the war, when Americans were asked if they would support the removal of Saddam Hussein with the use of U.S. ground troops, that number was 64 percent in favor, 33 percent against that.

So the silent majority, those supporters of this war came out as well taking to the streets. They were there in West Virginia rallying for the troops, rallying for President Bush and against Saddam Hussein.

But Aaron, here on the streets of New York City, I'll have to tell you that I saw many protesters carrying signs that you would not normally have expected to see in anti-war demonstrations, big signs with yellow ribbons, saying, we too support our troops, we too are patriotic, we just want our troops back home -- Aaron.

BROWN: Thank you. I think one of the legacies of the Vietnam era protests is people who are against the war for whatever reasons are against the war want to make clear that they are not against soldiers. There is a difference between soldiers and policy and as there should be. Thank you.

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