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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: Military Buildup

Aired October 2, 2001 - 06:30   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: Now, as we mentioned, President Bush is mounting a force ready to carry out a military response to last month's terror attacks. In the president's words, "The military is ready."

With the latest from the Pentagon, let's go now and check in with CNN national correspondent Bob Franken. Good morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.

The question is, ready for what? And, of course, even probably a more alarming question, ready when? But let's review a little bit.

First of all, the latest reserve callup, about 35 -- 3,400 were called up yesterday, mainly Army reserve and Army National Guard units. There is quite an emphasis, as we've reported before, on logistical support for Special Operations units. Of course, that has been made widely known, that the Special Operations forces, Special Forces, commando units, the SEALs, et cetera, will be probably an integral part of whatever military operation is planned, given the terrain of a probable target, that is to say, Afghanistan, and given the nature of the fighters who surround Osama bin Laden.

So that reserve callup brings to about 20,000 the number of reservists who have been called up thus far since September 11, 35,000 is the expected target.

And, of course, there is the deployment of the military forces that are quite visible. We know now that the "Kitty Hawk" is sailing from Japan to points unspecified, probably the Arabian Sea area. It is going to be going in a role that it was similar that it's had before, that is to say, it's not necessarily going to be an aircraft carrier but it's going to have other responsibilities.

And it joins other aircraft carriers that probably will have the more traditional roles. They will be ones that will be in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, and be the staging point for aircraft. So if, in fact, the military operation includes bombing runs and missiles and the like, they could possibly be the source of those operations.

It has been explained that all of this deployment is an effort to have the forces in place so when the orders come out, everything is ready to go. And President Bush has made it clear, as you said, Leon, that everything is just about ready. HARRIS: Well, Bob, I'm sure you've heard these reports that we've been listening to in the last couple of days, these reports we've been having in for the last couple of days, about there possibly being some actions already on the ground in Afghanistan. We've heard that there may be Special Ops forces from the U.S. and SAS troops from the U.K. as well. Now, are you hearing anything at all about that there at the Pentagon?

FRANKEN: Well, we've actually been hearing conflicting information. Some of the sources here say that the forces really are on the border areas as opposed to crossing over. Others say, well, of course they've crossed over. It is typical, as you're planning an operation, that at the very least there are some secret, secret forays into a particular country for reconnaissance purposes to make sure you know where the mine fields are, where the roads are, where exactly the enemy is.

During the Iraq war in 1991, I think I've mentioned to you before, we, that is to say, the unit (inaudible) with crossed over several days ahead of the actual operation and trained binoculars for days on the Iraqi positions. It is something that always goes on. You can't really have a military operation without having a fairly good idea of the topography, for instance.

HARRIS: All right. Thank you very much, Bob Franken at the Pentagon. We'll talk with you later.

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