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America's New War: American Troops Prepare to Deploy

Aired September 21, 2001 - 05:28   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's check in where the orders are being sent from, at least.

Kathleen Koch checks in from the Pentagon this morning.

Good morning.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Leon, what's going on here is really a massive movement of troops, the likes of which really hasn't been seen since the Persian Gulf War.

We're seeing dozens of war plans being moved to the Persian Gulf Bay area, to forward bases there. B-1 and B-52 bombers, as well as tanker and support aircraft for aerial refueling are in the first wave.

Pentagon sources say that a second deployment order is in the works. It would include fighter aircraft, F-15s and F-16s.

It's a time of high readiness for troops across the country, like these training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Everything does seem to be converging in the Persian Gulf region, where the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier battle group is already deployed. Nearby in the Arabian Sea, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is positioned. A third carrier battle group, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, departing Norfolk, Virginia, on Wednesday.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says that the movements are all in preparation for a conflict unlike any the U.S. has seen before.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We really almost are going to have to fashion a new vocabulary, and in different constructs for thinking about what it is we're doing.

It is very different than embarking on a campaign against a specific country, within a specific timeframe, for a specific purpose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Army top brass say the critical in waging this new conflict, this new war, will be special operations forces, such as the Delta force, the Green Beret, the Rangers. And none of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) are specifically trained for just such operations where the terrain the environment is harsh, and the enemy is very elusive.

Now we have learned, obviously, that Army special operations command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, has already received orders to deploy. Leon?

HARRIS: Well, Kathleen, closer to you there at the Pentagon, what's the latest word on the recovery operation there?

KOCH: Leon, obviously those recovery operations are still going on around the clock. And officials say that they are making very good progress. We have had rain throughout the day and into the night, and that has helped damp down some of the dust particles, asbestos particles, that were in the air and causing some potential concerns for the emergency workers there.

We're told that those workers are in the final stages of preparing the site for turnover to the FBI, and that that could happen relatively soon. No word though on just how long FBI agents would comb through the wreckage for evidence, for potential clues, before the very difficult job of rebuilding that heavily damaged section will begin. Leon?

HARRIS: All right. Kathleen Koch, thank you very much. Kathleen Koch at the Pentagon, live this morning.

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