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America Strikes Back: Pentagon Officials Give Press Conference

Aired October 11, 2001 - 14:29   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.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: At the Pentagon that is Victoria Clark, the Pentagon spokeswomen, and this is the daily briefing from there.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

VICTORIA CLARKE, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (PUBLIC AFFAIRS): ... working with Governor Ridge as he sets the course and implements activities to heighten security in our country.

In just a few minutes, General Pete Osman, who is director for operational plans and joint force development, will give an operational update on the war against terrorism. Before he begins, I just wanted to make a couple of points on the strikes. The campaign is still under way, the strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda military targets throughout the country, and I just want to underscore once again the purpose of these, and that is to create the conditions for a sustained campaign against terrorism and to enable us to continue to provide humanitarian aid.

As the secretary said just a little while ago out there, we want to make clear that our targets are military targets. They are specifically selected to minimize collateral damage. Unlike the actions of the terrorists, who killed thousands of people from countries around the world just a few weeks ago, we do not target innocent civilians, nor will we. The types of targets we attacked were troop training facilities, military garrisons, military vehicle repair facilities.

As the secretary has stated, we are very pleased thus far with the support of countries around the world. And to date -- I can give you a few numbers -- we have 36 countries that are offering military troops or equipment, 44 countries are providing overflight clearance, 33 countries are providing landing rights, 13 countries are providing bed down, providing a place for equipment.

And closer to home, we have mobilized 870 reservists in the last 24 hours. This brings the total number of mobilized reservists to over 22,000 -- it's 22,713 -- from 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

And as I said, we continue to provide humanitarian relief to the Afghans who are suffering oppressive living conditions under the Taliban regime. Yesterday we dropped 34,440 rations. And the total delivered to date is 137,760. And now I'd like to turn this over to General Osman. I'd like to repeat, this is an operational update. So we'll try to restrict your questions to that and if you need more after he is done, I'd be happy to provide them.

Sir?

MAJ. GEN. HENRY OSMAN (USMC), DIRECTOR, OPERATIONAL PLANS AND JOINT FORCE DEVELOPMENT JOINT STAFF: Thank you, Secretary Clarke.

Good afternoon.

We continue operations against al Qaeda as well as those who support them. We didn't brief you yesterday, so today what I would like to do is cover the last two days.

On Tuesday, U.S. forces struck six targets. That included the al Qaeda infrastructure, airfields and defense facilities. Six to eight land-based bombers out of Diego Garcia and Whiteman Air Force Base participated, as well as 10 carrier-based aircraft off the Carl Vinson and the Enterprise.

Yesterday seven targets were hit. The targets included troop training facilities, military forces, motor pools and missile and radar sites. These were near Kandahar and Kabul. About 10 land-based bombers out of Diego Garcia participated, and 12 to 15 tactical aircraft off the carriers were used to hit these sites. Additionally, three submarine Tomahawk missiles were fired from one of our submarines.

We also continue our air support in humanitarian relief efforts to the Afghan people. We delivered about 35,000 humanitarian daily rations from two C-17s on Tuesday; about the same on Wednesday.

On both days the food was dropped in northern Afghanistan. If you recall, the first two days it was southern part of Afghanistan. This was as requested by USAID.

Today we have several photos available to show you that would depict some of our efforts. First, I have a pre-strike image of the Mazar-i-Sharif Division regiment headquarters. This garrison has troops, tanks, armored and support vehicles, as well as other facilities.

Now, you note the building in the center and then just up and to the right of it. These are maintenance buildings.

Next is the post-strike damage to those facilities. And we struck these facilities on both day one and two in this compound.

QUESTION: How many people in the division?

OSMAN: I do not have the exact numbers in the division, but I would like you to know that their divisions, and when they say corps, are nothing equivalent to what we have in our forces. Second, is a radio station near Kabul, Afghanistan. First, the pre-strike. Now in the post-strike photo you can see the two control buildings for the station have been damaged.

Third set, we have images depicting numerous fighter aircraft and what we believe to be a transport aircraft on the airfield near Herat, Afghanistan. And here's the airfield and the aircraft in its pre- strike situation, and you can clearly see on the post-strike the damage that was incurred.

QUESTION: Can you say what weapons were used in that photo?

OSMAN: I'm not sure exactly what the weapons were. We have some tapes of that, and you'll be able to get a better picture of what it looks like at the conclusion of my remarks.

Finally, I want to show you the surface-to-air missile site near Kandahar that the chairman showed you on Tuesday. Here's the pre- strike photo we showed you then.

Next photo, we also showed on Tuesday, depicts the post-strike from day one. You see the control radar destroyed, but the missiles are still in place. We went back on day two and got the missiles.

Here's a look at how successful the second strike was. And you can see the missiles are no longer there.

Now, I'd like to show you some gun camera footage showing target destruction. In this case, the picture speaks for itself. So if you could roll the tape, please.

QUESTION: What's your target?

OSMAN: That was the aircraft.

Military operations have been going on all day today. And as we previously said, we continue to update and adapt our plans. So I think you'll understand that I won't be able to discuss today's operations, but look forward to your questions.

QUESTION: General, could you clarify what number of type of American troops that are arriving in Pakistan at those two air bases?

OSMAN: We'd prefer to let Pakistan speak for themselves on what types of troops may be going into the country or support for the operation.

QUESTION: I mean, American troops. Can't you characterize them in sound way as to whether their ground or air support or...

OSMAN: Again, I'd prefer to let the Afghan government speak for themselves on that.

QUESTION: The secretary said that the forces were using so- called bunker buster munitions. What kind of targets were you aiming on with those type of penetrating bombs? OSMAN: bunker buster munitions, obviously, would be used for the tunnels, for caves, hardened areas like that.

The secretary has said we've used them and, of course, we've used a wide range of munitions, that being one of them.

QUESTION: And do you have any assessment of how effective those strikes were?

OSMAN: We have not gotten the BDA on that, sir.

QUESTION: Sir, we've had many, many strikes and, thus far, you have released a single piece of gun camera. Is that before you don't have it? Are you reluctant to provide it to the public? Why so little imagery?

OSMAN: I don't know if there has been other gun camera film taken at this point. We'll check and see what that situation is. I believe we may have more, but in the future.

QUESTION: General, are you targeting any of the Taliban troops along the front line with the Northern Alliance?

OSMAN: Taliban troops will certainly be in the target array. At this point, as you know, most of our targeting has been to their air defense, command and control, airfields and certainly Taliban troops and their facilities will also be targets.

QUESTION: Any sense when you'll be targeting those troops?

OSMAN: They're part of the target set now and, of course, the commander in chief of Central Command will be making decisions as to what targets he wants to address on any particular day.

QUESTION: But he hasn't hit any yet...

OSMAN: We will in the future. Again, the commander of Central Command will make that decision when it's appropriate for him to address that target.

QUESTION: General, you said that you hit a radio station. I'm wondering, is that a military radio station, or is that a civilian radio station? If it's a civilian radio station that you run against international law.

OSMAN: As Secretary Clarke said, we have tried very hard to ensure that all of our targeting is against military targets, against al Qaeda, against the Taliban regime and trying to minimize as much as possible collateral damage. Our targeting has been against, as much as possible, the military targets. That's been our intent.

QUESTION: Was that a military radio station, was that Voice of Shariat radio station, the Taliban's official radio?

OSMAN: I can't answer that question for sure, other than our policy has been with regards to bombing. QUESTION: In yesterday's map that was released, there was a notation for a strike on al Qaeda forces north of Kandahar. Can you explain how you know those are al Qaeda forces and what exactly happened to those forces?

OSMAN: The disclosure of how we would know what kind of forces they were, obviously, would be classified and I couldn't address that question.

QUESTION: Have you had a successful strike against fielded forces?

OSMAN: I haven't gotten the BDA on that one, sir.

QUESTION: Yes, sir, can you tell us whether you have had any successful strikes to date against fielded forces, troops, masses of troops, concentrations of Taliban or al Qaeda troops?

OSMAN: The bomb damage assessment that we provide you thus far is what we have available to provide you. And as we get more BDA, as we're able to analyze it and make it available to you, we will.

QUESTION: General, you talk about October 9 strikes seemed to be centered up in the north around Mazar-e-Sharif and Harat; the 10th, mostly in the south. I'm wondering, does that mean that most of the primary targets in the north have been taken out?

OSMAN: That would not be a correct assumption. On a day-to-day basis, the commander in chief of Central Command is making a decision as to what targets he feels at that particular time are the important ones for him to address. Doesn't necessarily mean that he has eliminated all the targets in the northern sector or any particular sector, it's just at that particular time the targets that have emerged and the targets that he thinks are important to address at that particular point in time in his campaign plan will be addressed.

QUESTION: Why do you say six to eight bombers and 10 to 12 strike aircraft? You must know how many planes actually flew the missions.

OSMAN: We prefer not to disclose precise numbers, and so we give you the best we can give you when it comes to the actual numbers of aircraft participating.

QUESTION: Does it mean that some of those planes didn't drop their bombs?

OSMAN: We do have some planes that returned to base that have not dropped bombs. If the target that they were supposed to hit was not as expected, rather than expending the munitions needlessly, they return to base. And as you realize, some of the munitions are fairly expensive munitions.

QUESTION: On the munitions question, it looked in that brief footage you showed that there were cluster bombs being dropped on the aircraft. One question is, are you using cluster bombs? And, B, is 1,000-pounders the biggest you've been using for bunker busters or you've got bigger munitions than that?

OSMAN: The secretary made a statement earlier today, and obviously that statement will hold, with regard to the bunker busters.

As far as the other question, we're using the full range, if you will, of munitions available for the target that's intended. And, of course, different targets essentially require different types of weapon systems.

QUESTION: Are you confirming the 1,000-pounder or is it bigger than that?

OSMAN: I can't answer that question, sir.

QUESTION: Sir, there's been just a trickle of information that's come out in pictures, that kind of thing -- one tape. Is that because of some problem you're having with the system or reluctance to show more of what the results have been, what's going on there?

OSMAN: I think we can say the results have been good. It's a matter of trying to make sure that when we do report to you bomb damage assessments that they are accurate, that they are as we portray them to be. And, of course, there are a number of ways that we go about ensuring and checking to make sure that the bomb damage is as reported. And, of course, the bomb damage assessments sometimes take, as you can see, several days to come. As they're available, sir, we'll certainly make them available.

QUESTION: Do you have evidence of defections from the Taliban and/or evidence of movement of the front line? The British report that there is increasing evidence of that. What can you tell us what you are seeing tactically from the ground?

OSMAN: We have been receiving some information that would indicate that there have been some defections from the Taliban.

QUESTION: And success of the opposition on these front lines; are the front lines changing now?

OSMAN: I can't answer that question precisely, sir.

QUESTION: Defections: hundreds or tens or twenties?

OSMAN: I do not know, sir.

QUESTION: Sir, are you so far satisfied from the targets or from the mission you are carrying in Afghanistan? And also, are you having any assessment of the damage to their military, as far as personnel are concerned, and also to military equipment?

OSMAN: I think we can say that we're satisfied to this point that the strikes have been very successful. As far as damage to the military equipment, obviously some of the pictures that we've showed to you would show that there has been significant damage to some of their military equipment. Have we degradated all of it at this point? Of course not. But we've made some good headway. And, of course, as I mentioned earlier, at this point we do not have any bomb damage assessments with regards to personnel, but that personnel and compounds that have personnel will obviously be targeted.

QUESTION: Have you altered any missions or not had bombs drop (ph) to avoid specific civilian casualties?

OSMAN: I'm sorry, would you just restate it?

QUESTION: Have you altered any missions to specifically avoid civilian casualties on the ground?

OSMAN: To say we alter missions -- we establish the mission to begin with, obviously, it's to preclude collateral damage or civilian casualties.

OSMAN: So the mission is designed from the get-go to avoid casualties to civilians.

QUESTION: But is there any way, once it's set, that you can alter it if there's a crowd on the ground or something?

OSMAN: As I mentioned before, in some cases, we've had aircraft return with munitions still intact, because they weren't delivered, and it could be for a variety of reasons. And I can't say specifically it was because of that.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) bombers, could you tell us whether or not if more than half of them came from the U.S. or less than half of them came from the U.S.? Not specific numbers, but, sort of, give a general idea.

OSMAN: The bombers, of course, originate from Diego Garcia and Whiteman Air Force Base. I don't have a breakdown, at this point, that I can offer to you as far as how many came from what location.

QUESTION: General, Secretary Rumsfeld has said that one of the goals of this campaign is to get the al Qaeda leadership out of the shadows and get them on the run. Have you reached the stage where they're on the run yet?

OSMAN: Sir, I don't have the answer to that question at this time.

QUESTION: Could I follow that up a little bit? We're into several days and most of the assessments have been about how Taliban forces have been affected. How would you assess your objectives in disrupting, destroying, getting to al Qaeda, both in terms of people and its infrastructure?

OSMAN: Again, the bomb damage that we've offered to you shows the impact that our strikes have had at this point. Beyond that, I can't offer any more information.

QUESTION: Well, do you feel like you're making progress in getting at the al Qaeda network?

OSMAN: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: And can you give us any details on, say, from Sunday to now, where is the al Qaeda network today?

OSMAN: There's no doubt we've disrupted their network. As far as the movement of the al Qaeda themselves from their command and control locations, I cannot discuss that at this point.

QUESTION: Are the bunker busters GBU-28s and what planes are you using to carry them?

OSMAN: I don't want to try to get into what planes are carrying what munitions. We have some charts, I believe, that lay out for you different types of aircraft and the munitions they carry. And I can't get into specifics at this point as to which aircraft carry what kind of munitions.

QUESTION: If I could just follow that up, I've seen on the charts that you use the F-111 or the F-15, but the report says today you're raising B-1 and B-2 bombers to carry them. We're just trying to figure out what the story is.

OSMAN: The mix of munitions on those aircraft, I do not have available at this point, sir.

QUESTION: General, could you go back to the slide of yesterday's strikes and detail for us a little bit more where are the troop concentrations that were struck?

QUESTION: October 10, there. You showed several spots where the target where you described as troop concentration and forces. And I was wondering if you could describe for us what kind of forces those were; were they al Qaeda forces, were they Taliban forces, what was the nature of the targets you struck.

OSMAN: I don't have that information with regards to whether they were purely al Qaeda forces or the Taliban forces. Sorry.

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) mentioned that part of this operation has shifted to increasingly hitting targets of opportunity rather than fixed targets. Can you talk a little bit about that, perhaps, give us a breakdown as to how many of these missions have become something you look and find and then you task an aircraft as opposed to a fixed installation?

And the second part of that is intelligence: I know you can't talk specifically, but you can you give us a general sense for how good the intelligence support is for this military operation? In other words, at helping in finding those targets of opportunity that sometimes appear and then are gone quickly.

OSMAN: As far as addressing what we call emerging targets, I do not have any specifics with regard to numbers of targets that have emerged that we have attacked, but I do know that that, in fact, has taken place. And we've obviously gone back and repeatedly hit targets we've hit before for further damage, and we showed you some slides of that today.

QUESTION: The intelligence question.

OSMAN: As far as the intelligence goes, I'm presenting to you an operational picture, and I'm not comfortable with addressing that particular question.

QUESTION: General, with regard to the B-2, as I understand it, you used it the first three days. It was not used yesterday. Can you tell us a little bit about why it's out of the mix and what it is that it brought to the mix in the first place, that made you want to use it?

OSMAN: Again, each day in the CINCs campaign plan, he has an idea of what he wants to address, depending on what the targets may be, would determine what kinds of munitions and then what kind of aircraft are required.

OSMAN: So I cannot explain to you in particular why one aircraft would be used one day and then not another.

QUESTION: The last couple of days I've noticed on your charts that you're hitting targets north of Sherberghan in northern Afghanistan. That has been an area of combat activity by the Northern Alliance. And there are reports today that the Northern Alliance has, in fact, made some gains, particularly -- actually in central Afghanistan.

I'm wondering if you could talk about possible coordination with Northern Alliance ground forces. That road by Sherberghan is a strategic road going to Harat. I'm wondering if you could give an idea as to why you keep hitting that particular area up in the north.

OSMAN: Coordination is probably too strong a word. We are obviously receiving communications from the Northern Alliance. It's possible to use that in target planning. But as far as coordinating targets with the Northern Alliance, in the sense of discussing with them targets, that is not taking place.

QUESTION: Secretary Rumsfeld said earlier that targets provided by the Northern Alliance were being used to the extent that they were actionable. Can you characterize in some way how useful the information you're getting has been, how reliable it's been?

OSMAN: I can't answer that question. I do not know.

QUESTION: You said discussions with the Northern Alliance on particular targets were not taking place. Why not? Wouldn't it be sensible?

OSMAN: I'm sorry, say again please, sir? QUESTION: You said discussions with the Northern Alliance on particular targets were not taking place, and I was asking why not? Wouldn't it be sensible to ask them what useful targets would be from their point of view?

OSMAN: As I mentioned, we're receiving information from them on possible target locations we might want to hit. Those opinions taken into consideration as we build our target list.

But again, getting down to the actual coordination that we normally think of in our services as far as coordinating targets, that has not taken place.

QUESTION: I was asking why not.

OSMAN: I cannot answer that, sir.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, is it a political decision that you shouldn't or is it an operational decision (inaudible)?

OSMAN: It's in the political side, sir.

QUESTION: So, General, can you confirm two things: one, if you are helping or supporting the Northern Alliance; and number two, if you can confirm that U.S. forces are on Pakistani soil?

OSMAN: With regard to your first question, I would have to believe that the targets that we've hit have been of assistance to the Northern Alliance.

OSMAN: I think we can stand on that one.

As far as the questions with regard to Pakistan, that's more of a political question, and I'll stay away from that.

CLARKE: This is the last question, folks.

QUESTION: General, on Tuesday General Myers gave a concrete number, in terms of damage assessment. He said that 85 percent of the targets -- or targets have been 85 percent damaged. And I'm wondering whether you can give us another concrete number or whether you still are enjoying, you know, 85 percent success?

OSMAN: I would say 85 percent probably still stands. And I think that we can see that the -- from the BDA that we've been able to share with you, that we have been successful in addressing targets.

CLARKE: Thank you, sir.

BROWN: That's Maj. Gen. Henry Osman, the Marine Corps. representative to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It was tough sledding there for both reporters and the general. I'm not sure that the general necessarily had a lot to throw out, but he did throw out a number of new photos for us to consider and to take a look at. And you could see that reporters were pretty persistent on the point of why so little information now so deep, the better part of a week, into the campaign. We've seen very little so far in terms of either still pictures or pictures taken from the bombers as they go over the area.

But we do have some new ones, can we can take a look at that.

Joie Chen is over in the military desk with Gen. Don Sheppard, to take a look at the latest, if we can do that now.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Aaron, thanks for staying by. Over here with Gen. Sheppard.

General, I wonder if we could move very quickly to some understanding, putting together the fuller picture. One thing is we do have a map that gives us the latest locations that Gen. Osman was talking about in his briefing this afternoon, in that we talked about some specific areas, at Harat, at Mazar-e-Sharif, at Kabul, and in Kandahar. What does this tell you about the picture as it's coming together now?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Basically, Joie, several things. The campaign is spreading to many other areas, Mazar- e-Sharif, Herat, and Kandahar are all strongholds of the Taliban. Kabul being the capital and having air bases around there and north. Also the line, if you will, of demarcation between the troops runs north of Bagram Base, and that's the line of the Northern Alliance.

The press corps. is being very sophisticated in their questions. We are being shown pictures of military damage, and their question is This is great damage, but what effects does it have -- the same questions that the military is asking. We are interested in effects- based targeting -- not blowing things up -- buildings, airplanes, and this type of thing -- just to blow them up, but what effect does it have on the enemy. They want to know are the lines progressing, is the Northern Alliance being more successful, is the Taliban weakening? It will take time to decide this and show the effects of it.

CHEN: Let's take a look at these pictures. Our audience is seeing them on the air now. These are from Gen. Osman's briefing. This is particularly of headquarters at Mazar-e-Sharif, which was one of the Taliban strongholds. But it also has been said that this is one that could be weakened enough to the point where the Northern Alliance might be able to take control there.

SHEPPERD: Indeed. This is the place that is closest to the Northern Alliance. And you want to attack this divisional headquarters because it has training facilities, it has stored weapons, ammunitions, food, and this type of thing. Therefore, we want to go against these bunkers, this type of thing. These were probably taken out by B-2 bombers in joint direct attack munitions -- is my best guess on that.

(CROSSTALK)

SHEPPERD: So these divisional headquarters are very, very important.

You want to go against any of these facilities. The facilities themselves are most probably empty, but it means people cannot come back in there and use them at will for resupply and this type of thing. Again, what this is about is the noose is tightening on all of the forces of the Taliban.

CHEN: And significantly at Mazar-e-Sharif because it might be an opportunity for the Northern Alliance.

SHEPPERD: The proximity to the Northern Alliance right now, indeed.

CHEN: Let's go on to some of the other pictures. There is one of a radio station in Kabul. I think this is the prestrike picture of the radio station in Kabul. This is actually one of the more difficult ones to see the difference in the pre and post, but this is prestrike of radio station facilities, as we understand it.

SHEPPERD: Let's take a look at the poststrike here. Notice right here you see the damage: the hole in the side of the building. Also, it looks like some more damage right here, the hole side in this side of the building.

CHEN: This might not be impressive to us as civilians, but there certainly is a reason why they have targeted. They can target down to specific coordinates.

SHEPPERD: There are two things about a radio station. One, it can be used to broadcast to the civilian the propaganda of the Taliban and al Qaeda. And further, it can also be used to relay messages to forces in the field. You want to take out their communications. And quite frankly, you don't want to take it all out; the fewer and fewer that are left, the more and more they are forced into a narrow band of communications, and you can monitor things about what they are doing. So you may not want to take out all their communications, even though are you clearly able to.

CHEN: Let's move on to another picture that we got from this latest debriefing. This is at Herat, also in the Western part of Afghanistan. This is the prestrike picture the general was showing you: the aircraft on the field.

SHEPPERD: Right. Let me tell you something that I noticed about this. This is real dumb from a military standpoint: when your nation and your forces are under attack, to line your aircraft up like that. It makes me wonder whether these things were really in commission or not. But since we probably don't know, and you can't tell about every airplane, and they can also be used for spare parts, you want to take them out. If you go to the post right now, you can see that we indeed did take them out. I don't there's much there that's usable anywhere for a follow-on attack of the Taliban.

CHEN: Closer pictures -- some pretty significant damage.

SHEPPERD: Yes. It looks to me like the one that you just circled, Joie, is a joint direct-attack munition. Over here, these smaller holes could be a Tomahawk missile dispensing submunitions to take out a line of aircraft. But you notice that the whole area of attack is very, very confined. This could have been done by one aircraft right here. And then these other holes also look like B-2 perhaps, and these other holes could be the submunitions. You can't tell exactly from this picture.

CHEN: But from your picture of it, you're thinking perhaps one B-2 for the whole thing?

SHEPPERD: It could be one B-2; it could be a B-2 and some Tomahawk missiles. It could also be just some Tomahawk missiles on this, but I suspect the B-2 and Tomahawks.

CHEN: One more picture from the DOD briefing at Kandahar. This is actually one that we saw earlier in the week and Gen. Osman outlined for us: This is the prestrike showing the command center, the brains, I guess, of that.

SHEPPERD: That's the head of the snake that you want. Here are the missiles here, here, and here, three missiles on each one of these transporter erector launchers. This right here in the middle is the radar itself, the key; you want to take this out first, and then go against the missiles.

CHEN: That's pretty much exactly what happened.

Let's look at the other pictures. This was the first day strike.

SHEPPERD: There was radar, the missile site, the low-blow radar, if you will. Then the missiles are out here.

CHEN: They made it through the first strike.

SHEPPERD: They made it through the first strike.

Here's the next strike. The last strike, it looks like the entire radar and all three of the missile sites are basically gone. So it looks like we took it out and they will not be able to use those missiles and take them to another site. That's the importance of it.

CHEN: The Pentagon also showed us some videotape. It really gave us sort of a nose-eye picture of dropping the bomb. If we can look at that. Explain to us what we are looking at in videotape that we got.

SHEPPERD: This is a laser-guided munition. It could have come off an F-18 or an F-14. It's a direct hit on what they were aiming at. The X in the middle is what you aim the laser at, and then the weapon either from your own aircraft or from another basically hones in on the reflected laser. That thing there that looks like a missile coming off the aircraft I think was explosions coming from the targets. So again, without looking at it in detail and talking to targeteers, I can't tell for sure.

This is an interesting business. CHEN: Are they some sort of anti-aircraft...

SHEPPERD: I don't think anti-aircraft; I think it came from the ground. I really do.

CHEN: Gen. Shepperd, thanks very much for your insight, helping us to understand those pictures and sort it out.

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