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Welcome To terminalrun.com, Cyberspace Home Of National Bestselling Submarine Fiction Author Michael DiMercurio

An interview with Matt Horan,
Investigations Editor,
for the The Sunday Telegraph

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: The Sunday Telegraph - INTERVIEW From: Horan, Matt
To: readermail@terminalrun.com

Michael,

Thanks very much for your comments on Iraq last month. It made for quite an interesting (I hope) story - with a little more oomph than the standard academic posturing.

Here's a copy of it. You'll notice the cunning plugs for Phoenix Sub Zero and Terminal Run. Can't wait to see the new book. cheers, and keep your head down!

Matthew Horan


The Sunday Telegraph - Investigations Editor

The Sunday Telegraph, Edition 1 - SUN 15 SEP 2002

From the makers of Desert Storm ... Gulf War II - How America and its allies will crush Sadam Hussein - A blueprint for war By: Matthew Horan

What happens if, or when, US President George Bush decides to take action against Iraq? Matthew Horan reports on the different scripts for war THE scene: A B2 bomber slides through loose clouds. Below, we see the lights of a city -- it's Baghdad.

In the soft red light of the cockpit the pilot and co-pilot rattle off their checklist with minimum emotion: ``Initial point reached. Bomb doors open. Bay 1 away. Bay 2 away. Bay 3 away . . .''

Below the bomber a stream of JDAM bombs streaks towards the ground. As the bomber pulls away, they hit, tiny explosions thousands of feet below.

And every light in the city goes out.

It's the perfect start to a perfect war -- or so the US military planners would have you believe.

The ``Gulf War II'' option is the obvious way to take the war to Saddam Hussein. Deliberate, swift and a merciless application of maximum force.

``It's happening already,'' said retired Colonel David Hackworth, America's most decorated living soldier, a former anti-nuclear activist in Australia and now a best-selling author and columnist for Newsweek.

``The fist is being put in place. A mighty armada, a juggernaut if you will, is being set up to strike Iraq from many directions both from the ground, air and sea.

``Now we've seen more than 100 US and British planes strike Iraq -- outside the no-fly zone.

``This is what you do to every opponent before battle, whether it's just me kicking sand in your face or something on this scale -- you take out the enemy's ability to command.''

The build-up of troops began in earnest about a week ago, with the heavy armoured units -- fielding M1A2 Abrams tanks with revolutionary technology that links them in cyberspace -- being shipped to Kuwait.

Right from the start, when US President George Bush began to talk tough about Iraq, most military strategists had settled on four main strategies.

There's ``Gulf War II'', essentially a repeat of 1991's conflict -- a sustained air war then a swift ground follow-up.

There's ``Afghan War II'', a plan put forward by US planners emboldened by their successes in the war on terror.

Here, special forces troops would go deep behind enemy lines and train the local version of the Northern Alliance to take out President Saddam.

Intelligence operatives want to foment a coup, to replace him with no involvement of US armed forces.

And the boldest plan is the ``inside-out'' option, a modern-day Arnhem where airborne troops are dropped straight into Baghdad to take out President Saddam's command and control facilities, and the Iraqi leader himself.

``I'm sure whatever the United States end up doing they will not stop halfway,'' Professor Des Ball, of the Australian National University's Strategic Defence Studies Centre, said.

``A repeat of 1991 is undoubtedly their No. 1 option, but it won't happen until they've put in place a much larger force than what they've got.

``They will need a couple of hundred thousand troops there if they want to do it again.''

The downside of the plan is that the months needed to build up a force -- it took six months from the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 to the start of the air war -- would leave the troops vulnerable to chemical or biological attack.

``I don't think we'll see the mobilisation that Desert Storm required,'' said Michael DiMercurio, a former US Navy nuclear submarine officer turned author whose techno-thriller books such as Phoenix Sub Zero and his latest, Terminal Run, predict a war against Arab states.

``I was frustrated that the US spent so much time mobilising -- the attack on Kuwait should have been answered within a month, much as we answered 9/11 within a month.

``As to what should happen -- the US needs to prove that it can perform a military mission using only US forces and still achieve a victory over Iraq.

``While allies are best from a strategic point of view, tactically this particular mission could be achieved with just US forces. ``Think of the Panama operation that took out Noriega -- we didn't need much more than a carrier battle group, the marines and the 82nd airborne.

``I would probably be using covert forces to the maximum extent possible, with the mission to assassinate Saddam as the first element.

``The second goal would be to replace him with someone who will not be worse. The Libya bombing by the Reagan Administration purposely left Gaddafi in place, suitably disciplined, and it seemed to work.

``The Gulf War apparently sought to do the same with Saddam, but the result backfired. This regime-change mission's goal is to finish what the Gulf War started.''

One of the problems is that almost every scenario relies on helpful Arab states.

``The Kuwaitis have never been very grateful to the US,'' ANU Professor Michael McKinley said.

``They may not let the US do a build-up -- and neither would any of the other states around Iraq, which leaves only a coastal landing on a very thin strip.

``It'll be a small operation -- anything from an airstrike on Saddam's headquarters, if they can find out where he is, to an actual land force presence for a brief period.

``By small, I mean anything up to 50,000 troops. The US went into Panama with 29,000 and Grenada with 19,000, so they might be able to get away with 50,000 in Iraq.''

Australia's involvement in any ground war would be minimal, according to Professor Ball.

``We will provide crucial intelligence support through the installations at Pine Gap,'' he said.

``But as far as a land force? Prime Minister John Howard said we could send an armoured brigade, which we don't even have.

``We could get together a light infantry brigade (of about 2000 troops without armoured vehicles), but that's not going to be what the US wants.

``They'll use our intelligence and maybe some of the SAS, if they're available.

``The problem is going to be that any action against Iraq will cause disquiet closer to home for us.

``There are Muslim communities around the world more extreme, and more organised because (of the possibility) of another Gulf War.''

All experts agree President Saddam is going to have a hard time repelling any US invasion.

``We have smart weapons that have never been used in the history of war,'' Colonel Hackworth said.

``The weapons they used 11 years ago were super dumb -- they were at the back of the class compared to what we've got now.

``If the military solution is employed it's wham, bam, goodbye Saddam.

``I would predict no more than 11 days of ground battle -- and remember, I was laughed at in '91 when I was the only one to predict that it would take less than seven days.

``It won't be anything like Afghanistan -- there we weren't fighting a sophisticated force, we were fighting a rag-tag, mule-fed, mule-led army.

``We'll go in with maximum firepower here.

``We could even use EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) weapons -- basically a nuke you explode in space to fry every electronic circuit he has. ``Saddam will just be sitting there in the dark in his bunker.''

Colonel Hackworth, whose latest book Steel My Soldiers' Hearts tells of the dangers of fighting in Vietnam's jungles, warned against any ``inside-out'' attack.

``The last places you want to fight are cities and forests. In both places you just suck up casualties,'' he said.

``If Saddam wants to dig in like the Russians around Moscow then fine -- we don't siege any more, we use B52 bombers.

``And we have non-lethal weapons now. How is he going to feel when we cut off the power and water and drop in weapons that are nothing more than a powerful laxative? They'll come running out with their hands up.''

Professor McKinley said any attack on Iraq was only a few months away.

``I think George Bush's presidency is a pretty cynical administration, even by US standards,'' he said.

``It'll probably be just before or just after the Congressional mid-term elections in November. Failing that, we're looking at early January, like 1991.

``The whole thing is dependent on the size of the force they want to use.

``I think there's been quite a deliberate disinformation campaign coming out of Washington as to what they'll do.

``They're manipulating the leaks to try to put massive pressure on Saddam, with very little cost to the US.

``But I don't think they can maintain this degree of hype for too long -- the allies get pissed off as much as anyone else.'' A coup is still an option, despite the military build-up.

``Not that they haven't tried that before,'' Professor McKinley said.

``Saddam's intelligence is pretty good though.'' Hackworth said a coup would be a good result for the US. ``The best way to fight a war is not have to fight it at all,'' he said.

Before any attack can take place, most military experts believe President Bush needs to provide harder evidence that Iraq is supporting terrorists and building weapons of mass destruction.

``The evidence that he has nuclear weapons isn't strong,'' Professor McKinley said.

``Iraq has been heavily monitored since the end of the Gulf War, especially with satellite surveillance.

``The former weapons inspector Scott Ritter -- who does know his stuff -- has said to the best of the United Nations' calculations he simply doesn't have the capability.''

DiMercurio said President Bush needed to firmly link Saddam Hussein to September 11 to get the political support he needed.

He believes that without a declassification of what the CIA knows about Iraqi nuclear and chemical/biological weaponry, Americans may not care enough about an Iraqi regime change to give Mr Bush any military options.

``Odds are that the classified information about Iraq is so frightening that its declassification would cause further erosion of the stock market and cost the Bush administration political support, so Bush will remain in this quandary,'' DiMercurio said.

``My own feelings are that we do not need an encounter session to knock over the likes of Saddam and that with the military hardware at hand, we should go in and take care of business.

``But a president who thinks like this risks being defeated in the next election.''

One option which is rarely canvassed is Iraq starting the war on its own. Why? When ringed with forces poised to take him out, should President Saddam wait to have his throat cut? Why not attack while the build-up is still happening?

The greatest fear is the Iraqi leader deciding all is lost and attacking Israel with weapons of mass destruction.

``I don't think he's that mad -- Saddam's a survivor,'' Colonel Hackworth said.

``He knows that he's only got a couple -- at most -- nuclear weapons on Scud missiles.

``The Israelis have got 200 highly-sophisticated, nuclear-tipped missiles.

``They'd turn Iraq into a glass factory -- it'd be the biggest glass-topped parking lot in history.

``So he isn't going to shoot at Israel -- unless we push him into it.

``If we go to war with him, he's going to be like Hitler on May 8, 1945, and he's going to be wanting to take some people down with him.

``Coincidentally, the military base we struck the other day was also one of the main Scud missile assembly areas, so I think our military is aware of that.

``There's also the danger that even if we get Saddam, there's still several thousand of his crazies who could do it.''

DiMercurio said the US needed to make up its mind soon, to give Saddam Hussein less time to prepare his defences.

``The level of risk is less than the Gulf War because Saddam's forces have not recovered from the last US assault,'' he said.

``What raises the stakes is that we would try this with less equipment and fewer troops.

``I would definitely bet on the US military over Saddam's sad forces.

``The US military stands ready to answer the call, but that call needs to be made, and soon.''

[EMERGENCY DEEP]

MORE! On EMERGENCY DEEP

EMERGENCY DEEP:
First in an electrifying new series from “A MASTER RIVALING TOM CLANCY.”

--Publishers Weekly

U.S. Navy submarine commander Peter Vornado is at the top of his game in underwater warfare when a devastating illness takes him out of the service and almost to the grave. Without duty, honor, or something to fight for, his life is as good as over.

But the CIA needs a man like Vornado…

A terrorist cabal has acquired a scrapped Soviet sub from the Cold War -- a technologically advanced failure still able to outrun any torpedo or enemy vessel and strike at will. With a nuclear payload, it will enable them to strike directly at Israeland throw the world into chaos. All that remains is to modernize the sub with the latest technology.

Only one man can infiltrate the group, take the helm, and stop a holocaust -- a man who has already stared down death, and is ready to do battle once more…

“Compelling and visionary. DiMercurio’s characters run as deep as his submarines themselves!”

--Joe Buff, author of Crush Depth and Thunder in the Deep

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Michael DiMercurio
Princeton, New Jersey
E-mail:
readermail@terminalrun.com

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