The Gulf: Taking The First Shot

If the embargo fails, could the U.S. launch a swift strike against Saddam that would demolish his ability to fight back?

It could come sooner, later or not at all. Predicting how the script will play out is almost impossible: war is an activity that almost always seems to be governed by Murphy's Law (if anything can go wrong, it will). Nonetheless, this is how a war with Iraq might start -- and how some Pentagon planners think the U.S. might win quickly and with minimum casualties:

Mid-November comes, and Iraqi troops still occupy Kuwait. The worldwide embargo shows no signs of squeezing Iraq hard enough to force a withdrawal; on the contrary, maintaining the embargo against defections gets more difficult every...

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