The Corner

The Force Was Too Small

The Washington Post is sticking with that story. Also details of a terrifying moment:

Perhaps the most chilling moment for the Marines came the next day, April 2.

Before the war began, U.S. planners pinpointed three moments they thought Hussein might resort to weapons of mass destruction: when U.S. forces first crossed the border from Kuwait, when they arrived at Nasiriyah to ford the Euphrates River, and — most likely — when they began attacking the Republican Guard and threatening the capital.

That day, military intelligence intercepted a transmission from Baghdad to a senior Iraqi commander believed to have control over chemical weapons. The entire transmission consisted of just one word: “Blood.”

Intelligence analysts interpreted that as an order to launch a gas attack against U.S. forces. Wind patterns that night were perfect for a downwind attack. Commanders ordered troops throughout Iraq to wear their chemical protective suits and have their gas masks at the ready. Top officers at Marine headquarters crawled into their sleeping bags that night wearing their suits.

But dawn came and the gas did not. All three moments of critical danger had now come and gone with no attack. Commanders allowed troops to doff their protective suits.

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