Baghdad Prepares to Fight

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The battle for Baghdad may be near. As U.S. forces advance to just 60 miles south of Iraq's capital, Saddam's army is preparing for the city's defense. An eyewitness in Baghdad files this report to

Tens of thousands of soldiers and armed personnel are digging trenches and setting up tents in anticipation of invading troops. They are concentrated along the street opposite the Canal hotel, where the UN inspectors were staying. They are also building trenches to the west near Abu Ghareeb prison and beyond towards Ramadi.

Between Abu Gharib and Faloujah, to the west of the capital, there are scores of huge Mercedes trucks surrounded by mounds of sand. The Iraqi military may be preparing to use them as rocket launchers. Lots of cannons and anti-aircraft batteries were also seen to the right side of the road. Near Faloujah, there were three, apparently short-range rockets (similar to the Al Samouds) placed horizontally on tracks. The rockets were about 9 feet in length each.

A minority of the populace in Baghdad and in western Iraq will not take part in defense operations. The majority, however, appear to be highly indignant at the invasion of their fatherland, regardless of the degree of their love of Saddam. In this sense, morale is high in spite of the bombings. It is national pride and dignity at stake now and they say they are willing to fight on with Saddam against the foreign invaders. It remains an open question whether they will fight on if he falls.