News Briefings

DoD News Briefing

October 7, 1999
Presenter: October 7, 1999


Q: General Shelton, changing the subject a little bit, the New York Times today had an article about concrete bombs being used in Northern Iraq. Can you elaborate a little bit on that? Is that in reaction to or fear of collateral damage, as a result of collateral damage? Will they be used in Southern Watch as well as Northern Watch? How long have you been using them?

GEN. SHELTON: I would prefer not to talk about -- we've been using them for a long time. I'd prefer not to talk about the tactics, techniques, procedures, when we use them, what -- why we use them, et cetera; simply to say that if we have a target that -- a specific target that we are very concerned about collateral damage, but it's very important that we hit that, that is a technique that we have of going after it in some cases. Again, the environment in which you're going to attempt to use that has to be -- meet certain conditions. But it is another capability, and one that has been used and will stay in our inventory for the future.

Q: Mr. Cohen, along those lines, about every six months here we get 10,000 or so sailors and Marines that take off for the Med and the Persian Gulf. What do you tell the sailor who's deploying now since December (inaudible) it seems as if there really isn't a specific policy towards Iraq or a specific way of dealing with Iraq anymore. We seem to be knee-jerking to radar hits, and that's about it. What do you tell the sailor who's deploying over there now?

SEC. COHEN: I'd tell the sailor the same thing we've been telling our men and women who have been serving: that this is consistent with the policy of in fact containing Saddam Hussein. As a result of the men and women who are serving both in Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch, Saddam Hussein has been unable to move in any direction that would threaten his neighbors. Every time he tries to either eliminate our pilots and violate the no-fly zone, he runs the risk of getting hit, not only on a specific target, but in a variety of targets. So they are doing their job. They are in fact enforcing the no-fly zones and containing Saddam Hussein's threat, and it's a very important mission. So this is a mission that we think is very successful in containing him.