- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will move to underground Baghdad once any bombing starts, beginning a manhunt that could end with one precision-guided munition or the betrayal of his palace guard, American officials say.
"I think he's probably already gone underground," a U.S. official said yesterday.
A number of suspected Saddam hiding places are on the list of allied targets.
"I think we have a reasonable chance to put a bomb where he is and kill him or at least one of his clones," the official said. Saddam is known to use look-alikes to deceive pursuers. Planners say the sooner Saddam is eliminated the earlier war can end.
As war begins, the United States will focus satellites, eavesdropping posts and human spies on finding Saddam, the leader of the Ba'ath Party.
This U.S. official says the Iraqi dictator uses a network of tunnels and bunkers to make his escapes. In the 1991 Gulf war, he moved daily, staying hours ahead of allied air strikes. However, U.S. war planners believe new factors in this war will make it more difficult for Saddam on the run.
President Bush on Monday gave Saddam and his two sons until 8 p.m. EST today to leave Iraq or face an attack. U.S. officials say Mr. Bush could order the invasion anytime after 8 p.m. Typically, such an attack would begin in the dead of night in Baghdad, which is eight hours ahead of Washington time.
The United States is also pressing Iraqi commanders to surrender or turn on Saddam. It knows the names of all key leaders and has contacted a majority of Republican Guard commanders, says a U.S. military source.
Yesterday, the psychological warfare continued as U.S. Central Command dropped hundreds of thousands of leaflets in an attempt coax Iraqi soldiers to wave the white flag even before fighting begins.
"Take an offensive posture and you will be destroyed," says one leaflet showing a tank bombed by two American planes. "Do not take an offensive posture and you will not be destroyed."
U.S. intelligence believes it has better human sources inside Iraq, improved technical means to monitor communications and faster links between intelligence providers and strike aircraft than in 1991.
"We know more," said the government official, who has access to intelligence reports. "We've got eyes on the ground we didn't have before."
This official and Desert Storm veterans expressed optimism that Saddam will not become a renowned at-large fugitive like Osama bin Laden has.
For one, Saddam is not likely to want to, or be able to, leave Baghdad.
"When the bombs start, he will do one thing: try to survive," said retired Air Force Col. John Warden, an air planner in the 1991 war. "I don't think there is much else he will be able to do. We're going to be able to put a real paralysis on Iraq in an operational and strategic level."
Saddam has little motive to leave the capital because it would mean relinquishing power. Being holed up in a bunker or tunnel cuts him off from his military commanders.
Col. Warden said one key asset is the unmanned spy plane, something commanders did not have in Desert Storm. The Predator and Global Hawk drones are likely to fly over Baghdad once air strikes take down the city's air defenses.
If Saddam moves overland, the CIA may be in a position to kill him with one shot of the Predator's Hellfire missile, as the agency has done against two prominent al Qaeda leaders.
"I really suspect the best opportunity is with the Predator," Col. Warden said. "When the Predator sees him, it is ready to shoot."
An Air Force official, who asked not to be named, said the military has improved the mechanism for handing off intelligence from handlers to shooters. This means an allied jet over Baghdad could unleash a bomb on Saddam.
"The critical thing to keep in mind is you have the intelligence that indicates where he is, then you have to pass that immediately to the [Combined Air Operations Center] to pass it on to the shooters, who hopefully are in the area," the Air Force official said.
Legal analysts within the military say Saddam is a legitimate target as the commander in chief of the 375,000-member Iraqi armed forces.
Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Horner, the top air commander in the Gulf war, said it is not necessary to capture or kill Saddam to achieve victory.
"We have to get him out of power. We don't have to get him," Gen. Horner said. "He could run around Iraq the rest of his life if he's not telling people what to do.
"If we're able to cause him to displace, he'll have to get rid of his entourage. Once he gets rid of his entourage, he's subjecting himself to millions of Iraqis who want him killed."
After the Gulf war, Saddam survived several assassination attempts, prompting him to augment an already-layered personal security force.
He created the Special Republican Guard, consisting of about 12,000 soldiers, to be responsible for his safety and security in the city. The Iraqi president also is surrounded by his own security detail.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Buster Glosson, who designed the 1991 air war and has written a new book, "War with Iraq: Critical Lessons," says Saddam is probably already in hiding.
"We tried awful hard, and, believe me, this wouldn't be an issue today if we'd have found him" in 1991, Gen. Glosson said on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes."
"We're going to remove the regime, and, when you take over an entire country and you change the regime, it's awful difficult to hide," he said. "In other words, he's showing his true character now by going underground like a rat and trying to let somebody else run things."

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