Veteran expects war to resemble 1991 conflict

Published 1:59 am Wednesday, March 19, 2003

By By Paul Keane
The war against Iraq this time around should be similar to the one fought in 1991, according to one military veteran who was involved in Desert Storm.
Tammy Graham was a 1st Class Petty Officer with the United States Navy the first time America fought Iraq. At the time, she was attached to a Naval security group in Washington, D.C., working on special projects.
While unable to give specific details, Graham did say the speed at which the military moved during Desert Storm was incredible. As part of her security clearances during her service, Graham signed an oath saying she would not disclose specific information about the operations or she would face a $10,000 fine, 10 years in prison or both.
"Desert Storm was the first war fought from a distance," Graham, who was given a campaign award for her participation in the operation, said. "This was not a war where thousands of men fought each other. Instead, it was fought from aircraft carriers, ships in the Persian Gulf and from Washington, D.C.
"I expect the same thing to happen this time around, in that we will be fighting from a distance and hitting their key targets, supply lines and other facilities early, then making other moves as necessary."
Graham admitted that one advantage the military has this time around is the fact that reconfiguring operations will not be needed.
"In 1991, the Middle East was not our traditional enemy," she said. "Our traditional enemies were the Soviet Union, the Chinese and the North Koreans. That meant we had to learn the methods of warfare in the Middle East, get our troops in order, set up communications and information gathering tools and transportation quickly in order to be successful.
"We basically had to reconfigure everything in order to be prepared for war, and we did all of that in just 100 days. To accomplish that much in 100 days if phenomenal, especially considering the size of our military."
Now, with troops and military installations having been in place in the Middle East since Desert Storm, things should move at an even quicker pace, Graham said.
"One thing we didn't hit in 1991 was the buried communications lines," she said. "I would think that would be a target, but I don't know what the President's goals are this time. All of their military installations, communications and supply lines have been rebuilt, so those would be targets as well."
Graham said she supports the mission in Iraq, basically for reasons that might make it hard to capture or kill Iraqi leader Sadaam Hussein.
"It's going to be hard to capture him," she said. "He has many body doubles, and he moves a lot. And he'll have no problem standing in an orphanage surrounded by orphans just daring us to bomb him. He will have no problem doing that and putting us into a position where we can't get to him.
"I also believe that he has chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and I don't think he would hesitate to use them. If he didn't have them or wasn't willing to use them, then why have we had all the delays and stall tactics over the years from him?"

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