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New Navy in Dessert Storm II
 
I never thought that the Navy would ever launch the
Cruise missiles in anger. When I left the submarine
force 25 years ago, the Tomahawk was hardly mentioned,
but its deterrent power was coming to light. Unlike
the huge continental missile, its damage is limited but
its accuracy is without contention. During the Persian
Gulf Crisis, it could deliver its small payload without the
huge mushroom cloud, that Doom's day sign of Armageddon.
The enhancement of the Tomahawk 91 is probably the biggest reason
that we are willing to take it to Baghdad again.
 
The weapons of war have changed during the last 60 years,
since military application discovered nuclear power.
Atomic, Biological, and Chemical (ABC) warfare has brought
fears never seen before: the unknown and the unseen.
Introduced in hot pursuit of Yamashita, the traumatic
shock of Napalm bomb failed in Northern Luzon, the area
where I grew up. It took the giant atomic bomb to finally
secure Japan and potentially save thousands of liberators.
We may never have to see atomic bomb strike #3 after Nagasaki,
but the gorish outcome of the Napalm bomb is now the curse
of limited conflict.
 
There are also new dogs of war: dolphins are deployed to search
for mines, which are now more sophisticated than ever.
 
You might not completely agree with Bush but his
conduct and the operations appear very diplomatic.
Tanks are heading north so fast that if they were on the
New Jersy Turnpike, the State Police would be issuing speeding
tickets. The electronic eyes over Baghdad could issue
summons for all the cars operating with busted tail
lights at night or scan license plates better than the
E-Z pass, all via satellite. If the Iraqis could score a lucky hit
into the sky, Sadam probably could claim a small victory and
give up just to save his face.
 
News from Kitty Hawk Battle Group:
Lt. Cmdr. Mark Johnson, a pilot returning to the USS
Kitty Hawk from a mission over southern Iraq, said it
appeared that Iraqi forces were withdrawing in front
of advancing U.S. forces. He could see columns of
Marines moving but ``there was nobody coming south to
meet them.''
Time and again, he said, he was told to ignore targets
like missile launch sites because U.S. troops had
passed without any opposition.
The ground campaign appeared to be moving faster than
planned. Units reached locations in Iraq 24 hours
ahead of their expected arrival time, according to
several reporters attached to those units.
 
(It is important to note that this is the first war
wherein war correspondents joined the forward unit and
are witnessing the battle firsthand.)
 
In a large conference in England, Colin Powell was
asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for
Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.
He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the
United States has sent many of its fine young men and
women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our
borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked
for in return is enough to bury those that did not
return." It became very quiet in the room.
 
The largest oversea US Military Cemetery is located in
the Philippines. It is where United States started
flexing it muscles in the beginning of the 20th
century. The early soldiers were rugged veterans of
the Indian War and the new nation made some early
mistakes. There were early ugly chapters in the
Philippine-American War for which the US is not too proud.
She never forgot however that when she fought, she fought
hard for independence against foreign power. Still,
at times was reluctant to wage war, and her isolationist instinct
discouraged imperial expansion. Always the last one
to enter the last two great world wars, her great
generation won, liberated the world and was very generous
to her enemy.
 
The faces of the US Armed forces has changed, there are
lot more ethnic minorities and women. They appear to be
from the United Nations rather than United States. But
what made this Middle East conflict different is that
these military professionals are all volunteers. According
to the American Battle Monuments Commission there are
26,255 Yankee dead from World War I buried in 4 cemeteries
in France. There are 30,426 American dead from World War II
buried in 6 cemeteries in France. These 56,681 brave American
heroes died in their youth to liberate a country which is now
guilty of ungrateful behavior in the 21st century. I remember
when George Bush's election was hanging on his slim lead
during the Florida recount. Had not for the very heavy
military absentee ballot in his favor, he would have been overtaken by
hanging chads. It is only fitting that his biggest supporters
would now carry on the fight. I have never seen spirit and morale in
the military higher than now. Peace on earth.
 
Nestor Palugod Enriquez
nestor@filipinohome.com