WE’RE BACK…and this time, removal of Saddam from Iraq is clear objective

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 21, 2003

It wasn’t quite what anyone expected. The United States and allied forces struck at the heart of Iraq with precision and brevity Wednesday night. The target wasn’t a massive military base or desert troops. It was Saddam Hussein – the leader of Iraq who refused to accept a deadline to leave his country more than three days ago.

As of press time Thursday morning, U.S. forces had not yet begun an all-out aerial assault as many believed would lead the attack against Iraq. That assault, however, seems just a matter of time.

While many were surprised at the attack, two local military men were not so surprised.

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Now, Boggs says, U.S. forces will play an interesting guessing game with the Iraqi military.

Another person who wasn’t surprised was Maj. Randall Brown, spokesman for the local National Guard unit.

Brown said the United States has planned this war to mix up the Iraqis and to strike in places and at times when it is least expected.

Boggs, who watched war coverage late into the evening Wednesday, laughed a bit when talking about the planning of this war.

This war, like many in the past, has a deep tie to Alabama and Demopolis. More than 160 men and women from the Demopolis 167th were deployed in late January to help in the war against Saddam. According to Brown, there is no timeline on when the Demopolis unit may depart for the Persian Gulf, but he still believes the local unit will eventually help in the battle.

Boggs is of a different opinion.

In other words, Boggs believes U.S. forces may drop bombs on both sides of bridges in Iraq, creating massive holes on both sides of the structures. That would make the bridges impossible to cross.

More importantly for families in Demopolis, it would mean local Guard members might remain stateside &045;&045; away from the danger of the war.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m. local time, U.S. forces began their strategic attack against Saddam and Iraq. In an address to the nation from the Oval Office, President Bush outlined his plans in a 4-minute speech.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said the United States is doing the right thing.

Around Demopolis, support for the war could be seen across town. During Bush’s speech Wednesday night, a group of local citizens gathered at The Red Barn turned off the music and listened to Bush’s address to the nation.

At the conclusion of his speech, those gathered at the local restaurant gave the President a round of applause.

At other locations around town, residents have hung yellow ribbons and displayed American flags to show their support.