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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

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Aired March 20, 2003 - 17:39   ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Bob Franken, he's embedded with U.S. military forces in northern Kuwait as well. He's joining us now live.
Bob, tell us what -- where -- you don't have to tell us exactly where you are but give us a rough estimate where you are, what you're seeing and doing right now?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well what I'm hearing right now and you're probably hearing too is the sound of a jet, an 810 taking, 810's are anti-tank planes and their purpose is to "prepare the battlefield" as part of the effort we've been hearing that term.

They are very potent anti-tank weapons and their mission is as described to us is to go out there and take out any tanks that might be in the way of U.S. troops.

Now what has not happened here is any intensifying of the air traffic here, and that would be consistent with the reports that things, thus far, have not really gotten off the ground. You'll have to forgive the pun, but that this is still in a very, very low-key mode. Low key as it can be, when you consider the fact that this is considered preparatory to an all-out war.

Now, one of the things that has happened here today, as it's happened in Kuwait City, there have been any number of alerts about possible chemical or some sort of what they call NBC, nuclear, biological or chemical, warfare. Each time it's happened, everybody has to drop what he's doing and put on all his anti-gear, all the kind of stuff that's supposed to protect us.

By the way, if the sirens start while we're on the air, I want everyone to just realize that none of these reports has turned into anything but false alarms. It's been the case all day, for obvious reasons, with the tensions as high as they are in the world. Tensions are very high on this base - Wolf.

BLITZER: But even with all those false alarms, the troops where you are, Bob, can't afford to let their guard down even once.

FRANKEN: Oh, they're not given much chance to do that. Every single time that the alarm goes off, everybody is required to put on all of his gear. They call it a MOPP-4, which is military mission- oriented protective posture. It's one of those military terms. And they have four levels. Four is the one that says an attack is on the way or imminent. That is what they've immediately ratcheted up to. Then, after it's over, they go down to a MOPP-1, which is where you can be dressed like I am right now.

BLITZER: Bob Franken, he's far from home in northern Kuwait. We'll be checking in with you often. Thanks very much, Bob.

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