Sunday, December 05, 2004

I Remember When It All Began...

RICHARD ENGEL: Yes, well just as soon as we got off the, off air, it just, wow, the whole sky just lit up, is lighting up in front of me. Right on the other side of the water, I guess these are presidential sites. Basically the entire western side of the, of the, of the river is now, is now smoking. There's another blaze of fire that you'll hear. There it is. That will give you the intensity, an idea of how close, unfortunately, this is right now. All the tall buildings, these main government buildings that are on the other side of the river are now on fire. The, this is, this is like nothing we've seen before. This is, this is, this is shocking. And this is awe inspiring.


BROWN: Wow, look at that shot.


SHEPPERD: I tell you, one of the most encouraging things I find is the ability of the flexibility of the planners in this military engagement. The Shock and Awe campaign has been postponed, for now. The reason is, obviously, that the purpose of this is not to kill people. But the purpose of it is to separate the leadership and have the army surrender. And that's what's taken place. So I think the U.S. military, the intelligence forces are listening to see has the leadership been decapitated? Is it still communicating? And how can they further deny the capability of the Iraqis to command and control forces and then, separate the forces and get them to surrender. This is a very, very encouraging development. I'm very glad to see that Shock and Awe is not necessary, right now, but the Iraqis must know that the United States forces can turn it loose, if necessary, because, as the saying goes, they ain't seen nothing yet.

HEMMER: Wow. In television, we call it adlibbing. Apparently, the military might be doing a little bit of that, right now, too.


DAVID CHATER reporting:

Just huge amounts of--huge amount of fire, getting much, much closer. All the air defenses are opening up all around me at the moment, all around me. As to the--as to the west, there are surface-to-air missiles arcing upwards (unintelligible) a large explosion--a large explosion. Huge--wow. Very close to us. We've got to watch the--the windows here. I hope you can--I hope you can still hear me. I'm trying to maintain contact with you. A large billow of smoke, another large flash of explosions to the west of the city. Four or five huge billows of smoke, a massive shock blast just coming through our windows. I'm going to have to take cover.

There are--there are fires burning in a huge arc right in front of me. Very fierce explosions, not just cruise missiles; I'd say they were bombs, as well, at least 30 strikes, very, very fierce attack at the moment. And the attack is continuing on all sectors, on all fronts around the center of the city. This is the beginning of shock and awe. It was a--a dreadful sight. It was very close to us. It's still going on. There's still bursts in the distance. It's now pretty much moving from the south and the west into the center of the city. There's a huge amount of percussions, large explosions, a pall of smoke hanging all around the city at the moment, a lot of fires burning. An extraordinary scene at the moment--there's another fire--watch out, watch out. Oh, OK. Let's--those are very large bombs. Those must be the thousand-pounders, I would have thought. I think the citizens now of Baghdad know exactly what the Pentagon means by shock and awe.



(Off Camera) Oh, oh, look, look, stop, stop, let's take a look. Wow.



(Voice Over) In Baghdad, the words for today were "shock and awe." Words validated by the sights and sounds that reached all who watched on television. Words whose truth could best be felt if you were there. Reporter Richard Engel was.


(Voice Over) Wow, the whole sky just lit up. It's lighting up in front of me. This is like nothing we've seen before. This is, this is shocking. There it is. That will give you an idea of how close, unfortunately, this is right now.


Kyra Phillips is on board this aircraft carrier with its crew of 5,700, planes dropping bombs and firing off missiles, based up there in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with about 5,700 men and women on board, as we said, CNN's Kyra Phillips is embedded with that unit, and she has filed for us today.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are welcome to Shock and Awe from the U.S.S. "Abraham Lincoln." Let's take a look at these pictures from not long ago when the first strikes began. Now, pilots tell me they were fired upon constantly. A number of threats in the air that they faced. (UNINTELLIGIBLE), surface-to-air missiles, old Soviet MIGs, also lots of triple-A fire.


COLLINS: Thank you, Aaron. I'm Heidi Collins at CNN Center, and here now are the latest developments at this hour.

The Pentagon is reporting 10 injuries, some of them very serious, after a grenade attack behind the U.S. front lines. At least two people were spotted running off after grenades were tossed into two tents of the 101st Airborne at Camp Pennsylvania in Northern Kuwait. It is believed to have been an attempt on the life of the camp commander.

Iraq says 200 civilians have been injured in the American and British bombardment of Baghdad. President Bush has accused the Iraqis of putting civilians in harm's way. The Pentagon says every single one of more than 1,000 bombs that fell during the bombing campaign was precision guided. That is a first in military history.


HANNAH STORM, co-host:

We want to show you some scenes from the shock and awe operation which began last night as missiles rained down on Baghdad in the heaviest bombardment of the war. Today, people there began the task of assessing the massive damage to their city.