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GIs Greet Saddam Hussein’s Announcement with Scorn With AM-Gulf-Iraq, Bjt

February 26, 1991

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (AP) _ The three Army MPs smirked when asked about Baghdad radio’s report early Tuesday that Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to withdraw from Kuwait.

″I really won’t believe it until we actually see it,″ said Sgt. Arnel Bona, 23. ″He’s a very sneaky man. He’s probably planning something to catch us with our defenses down.

″I just don’t trust anything he says.″

Bona was still shaken by the bloodshed and devastation he and fellow Sgts. Andre Prado and Daniel Carvajal witnessed only hours before the Iraqi president’s reported withdrawal order.

The three California National Guardsmen from Sacramento were just back from crowd control duty at a U.S. military barracks hit by an Iraqi Scud missile.

Military officials said the blast killed 12 Americans and wounded 25. Forty were reported missing. The barracks, a converted warehouse, had housed more than 100 soldiers.

In a television interview with front-line troops in Kuwait, Marine Sgt. Brian Dupree said of the Baghdad radio report: ″That makes me feel good. But I still don’t think the problem’s solved until we get rid of Saddam Hussein. That’s the bottom line.″

″If it’s true, that’s good news. Thank God,″Marine 1st Lt. Paul Decker told CNN with a big smile. ″Nobody else has to get hurt anymore. That’s what we want.″

Carvajal, 23, also said he believes Saddam’s withdrawal order comes too late.

″It’s useless because the guys (allied forces) are going to get to Kuwait (City). He can’t stop them.″

Prado, 28, didn’t believe the Iraqi president really planned to pull his forces out of the war-scarred city. Nor did he believe it meant the war was nearly over.

″I’ll believe it when I see it,″ he said, referring to the Iraqi withdrawal order. ″I still think he has something up his sleeve. He’ll do something for the hell of it.″

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