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U.S. War Chief Promises Historic Campaign

March 22, 2003

DOHA, Qatar (AP) _ Gen. Tommy Franks, in his first briefing since the start if the U.S.-led Iraq war, promised the campaign would be ``unlike any other in history.″

Franks spoke in Qatar, where he is running the war from a command post in the Persian Gulf nation. He said the assault on Iraq would be one of ``shock, surprise, flexibility,″ using munitions on a ``scale never before seen.″

The campaign, the general said, was taking the fight ``across the breadth and depth of Iraq″ _ aiming to secure bridges, airports and oil platforms.

The allied war plan, Franks said, allows commanders to ``attack the enemy on our terms.″

He said the U.S. military had opened a dialogue with a number of senior Iraqi military leaders both ``in and out of uniform.″

``We are on our timeline,″ he said. When asked to assess the progress of the war, however, Franks said: ``The time for us to celebrate is when the mission is accomplished.″

With his comments, the general became the first to use the U.S. military’s high-tech, $1.5 million briefing center.

He said Saddam Hussein’s regime continued to move air defenses and was engaging advancing U.S. and British troops throughout the country.

``Over time, we will take down all the air defense capability that exists today,″ he said.

Franks said the launch of the fearsome coalition air strike on Baghdad Friday night was ``exceptionally well done.″

``The targeting was precise and the munitions used were, in fact, all precision munitions. There were no targets selected that were not precisely appropriate to what the plan calls for.″

Asked about the Iraqi government, Franks said, ``There is a certain confusion within the regime,″ adding that all is not as portrayed on Iraqi media.

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