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Weaver: Creature comforts scarce, but soldiers get their mail

A serviceman opens a package from home.
A serviceman opens a package from home.

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KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) -- As U.S. troops mass near the Kuwait-Iraq border, journalists have unprecedented access to the front lines. CNN's Lisa Rose Weaver is "embedded" with the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade in northern Kuwait.

WEAVER: We're hearing reports here that other U.S. forces are on the move toward the border with Iraq, massing there. This is nothing that I can see from where I am. It's a result of radio communication among forces, U.S. forces in Kuwait. Where I am, at the moment, is with the echo battery of the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade. They are settling in for the night here in the northern Kuwaiti desert. At some point in the next day or so, they will move farther toward the Iraqi border, in stages, not necessarily all at once, in order to be in position to cross the Iraqi border and go into -- rather, the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border and to go into Iraq if asked to.

Preparations, soldiers packing trucks, lots of last-minute details. It's mind boggling, the number of things that have to be planned for and worked out in an operation like this, troops making sure the trucks are ready. Huge tires for Humvees being rolled out. That's only one small part of the Air Defense Artillery's planning, which has really been going on for weeks.

Troops are getting mail here, strangely enough. You wouldn't think that so far away from home that they could, but mail will continue to get to them. Ships with logistic supplies, those logistic supplies can get to a war theater, then if war breaks out, the troops, I'm told, will get most of their mail.

Now, of course, Patriot missiles are a key component of the U.S. air defense. Their main function is to intercept Iraqi Scud missiles and to protect infantry and other assets in the field. Patriots are used that way in one spot, but there are plans, in this campaign, if war breaks out, for Patriots to be used in a relatively new way.

Now the conditions here, as you might imagine, are pretty rough. We're in the middle of the desert. Showers -- showers as we know it, the normal creature comforts, of course, are going to be unknown, very likely, to these people here, as well as the journalists following them, for the next few weeks.

Despite this, at this early stage, the mood here appears to be pretty positive because troops here have, for the most part, seen the delays in the United Nations and the extension for action as something that has sort of got in the way of what they are here to do. The waiting has led to anxiety. Now there is a sense that, perhaps, this task will begin.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report was written in accordance with Pentagon ground rules allowing so-called embedded reporting, in which journalists join deployed troops. Among the rules accepted by all participating news organizations is an agreement not to disclose sensitive operational details.


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