Ready For Action

Dick Cheney and Colin Powell are the savviest pair to lead the Pentagon in years. They will be put to the ultimate test if Desert Shield becomes a sword.

On the scorched sands of Saudi Arabia, 180,000 American ground troops wait impatiently, cleaning their weapons, exercising, thinking of D-day. Flashing overhead are the best attack planes of the U.S. Air Force: F-15s, F-16s, radar-evading F-117 Stealth fighters. At sea, U.S. Navy Aegis cruisers train their Tomahawk cruise missiles on Iraqi targets, while aircraft carriers launch and recover squadrons of bombers and interceptors.

Even more muscle is on the way. An additional 100,000 U.S. soldiers have been earmarked for the Persian Gulf. Military commanders in Saudi Arabia say no limit has been placed on the number of troops that might be...

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