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News ::
They're coming for you Saddam (english)
16 Mar 2003

THIS awesome display of military might yesterday
sent Saddam Hussein a stark warning: We are
coming to get you. (article 3)
Thousands of British soldiers gathered with row upon row of tanks and artillery in a sight to make the Iraqi dictator quake.

Men from two of the Army’s proudest units, the 7th Armoured Brigade and 16 Air Assault Brigade, stood shoulder to shoulder in the desert as war took a step ever closer.

Eight thousand troops had gathered in a makeshift parade ground in northern Kuwait to hear a stirring address by US Lt General James Conway, who has overall command of them.

Inspiration ... America's Lt General James Conway
delivers historic speech to British soldiers yesterday
Vietnam veteran Gen Conway told them Saddam was facing four options.

The first three were that he could TURN over his weapons, GO into exile or be KILLED by his own people.

Spelling out the fourth, the General said bluntly: “If that doesn’t happen WE are going to kill him.”

Gen Conway heads the 1st US Marine Expeditionary Force, a 15,000-strong mix of infantry, attack helicopters and jet fighters.

Yesterday he delivered his battle speech to the British forces now also under his control — climbing atop a self-propelled gun flying both Union Flag and Stars and Stripes to do it.

Desert stormers ... tanks and troops line up in awesome
show of strength to strike fear into Saddam's heart
Picture: REUTERS
He looked out over a sea of different headgear and badges representing gunners, paratroopers, infantrymen, tank crews, engineers and medics.

Around him stood a menacing array of hardware including Challenger II battle tanks, Warrior armoured fighting vehicles, AS90 artillery guns, and desert-adapted Land Rovers.

The Brits had even arranged a 90ft mobile bridge into a huge “M”, for Marines, with flags strung beneath it.

Gen Conway was welcomed by pipers from famed Highland regiment the Black Watch playing a rousing march.

Units comprising the two Brigades include the Parachute Regiment, Royal Fusiliers, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, Royal Irish Regiment, Household Cavalry and Army Air Corps.

Tribute ... mobile bridge
became 'M' for Marines
As they listened intently the General said: “Two hundred and twenty-five years ago in my country the expression, ‘The British are coming!’ would scare the children.

“But I can assure you that when we were here in Kuwait in December, hearing that expression was a very positive thing.

“It’s great to have you aboard and I’d like to welcome you to this priceless piece of Kuwaiti real estate.”

The General went on: “Never again will the people of the US be subjected to what happened to us a couple of Septembers ago.

“Our President has given Saddam Hussein a choice to either get rid of weapons of mass destruction or we will go to war.”

Gen Conway warned the soldiers — many in their teens and early 20s — they may well face danger and fear.

But he assured them they would have the best possible back-up from their US Marines brothers-in-arms.

United ... red berets of paras and light blue of army Air
Corps. Armoured and infantry regiments stand at front
Picture: Cpl PAUL JARVIS
In a brilliant piece of showmanship he extolled the virtues of his Marine flyers at the exact moment two F18 Hornet fighters roared in at low level.

As they blasted into view at 200ft, then fanned out into the clear blue sky, the General told the crowd: “Those are piloted by Marines.”

Then four AH1 Cobra helicopter gunships clattered into view, bristling with missiles and hi-tech weaponry.

As the General left to rejoin his own command the troops broke into cheers.

Black Watch Sergeant Barry Robertson said: “He was inspiring — he said all the things the boys wanted to hear.”

MAJOR Damian Hoskins of the Royal Tank Regiment vowed yesterday to take care of unfinished business from the 1991 Gulf War.

Major Hoskins, 38, who will be the only British soldier to command tanks in both conflicts, said: “Hopefully we will consign Saddam to history.”