News



DATE=5/26/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232822
TITLE=GULF TROOPS HEAD HOME ( L)
BYLINE=JIM RANDLE
DATELINE=PENTAGON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  PENTAGON OFFICIALS SAY THEY WILL SOON CUT THE NUMBER OF 
U-S TROOPS AND SHIPS IN THE PERSIAN GULF BY ABOUT HALF.  THE 
37-THOUSAND SAILORS, SOLDIERS, AIRMEN, AND MARINES HAVE BEEN 
KEEPING A CLOSE WATCH ON IRAQ.  V-O-A'S JIM RANDLE REPORTS, THE 
REDUCTIONS ARE EXPECTED TO TAKE A COUPLE OF WEEKS.

TEXT: THE CHANGE BEGAN WHEN THE PRESIDENT ORDERED ONE OF TWO U-S 
AIR CRAFT CARRIERS IN THE GULF TO HEAD HOME ALONG WITH ITS 
SMALLER ESCORT SHIPS.   THAT TAKES SEVEN-THOUSAND SERVICE MEMBERS
AND DOZENS OF STRIKE AIRCRAFT OUT OF THE FORCE MONITORING IRAQ.

PENTAGON SPOKESMAN KEN BACON SAYS DETAILS ARE STILL BEING WORKED 
OUT, BUT MAJOR CUTS WILL SOON BE ORDERED IN THE U-S AIR FORCE AND
ARMY UNITS DEPLOYED IN THE AREA.  

HE SAYS IN A FEW WEEKS, ONE AIR CRAFT CARRIER AND ABOUT 
20-THOUSAND TROOPS WILL REMAIN OF THE CURRENT FORCE.  THAT'S 
ABOUT THE SAME SIZE AS THE FORCE THAT PATROLLED THE GULF AREA 
BEFORE LAST FALL, WHEN TENSIONS ERUPTED OVER IRAQ'S REFUSAL TO 
ALLOW THE U-N TO SEARCH IRAQI FACILITIES FOR WEAPONS OF MASS 
DESTRUCTION. 

MR. BACON SAYS IRAQ HAS SINCE TONED DOWN ITS ACTIONS AND 
"BELLIGERENT RHETORIC" AND IS ALLOWING U-N WEAPONS INSPECTORS TO 
SEARCH AREAS SUSPECTED OF HIDING GERM OR CHEMICAL MUNITIONS 
(WEAPONS).  

                        /// BACON ACT ///

         IRAQ HAS BEEN COMPLYING WITH THE U-N MANDATES TO ALLOW 
         INSPECTORS TO DO THEIR JOB.  WHAT WE FOUND OVER THE 
         YEARS IS THAT (IRAQI LEADER) SADDAM HUSSEIN WILL DO BAD 
         THINGS FROM TIME TO TIME, AND BE THREATENING EITHER TO 
         HIS NEIGHBORS OR TO THE U-N.  WE WANT TO BE IN AN 
         UNAMBIGUOUS SITUATION WHERE WE ARE ABLE TO RESPOND VERY 
         QUICKLY AND VERY FORCEFULLY. 

                        /// END ACT /// 

MR. BACON SAYS THE UNITED STATES IS LEAVING A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER 
OF CRUISE MISSILES (ROBOT AIRCRAFT WITH POWERFUL WARHEADS) IN 
PLACE.  HE SAYS THE NUMBER OF SHIPS AND PLANES ON WATCH MAY VARY,
BUT THE BASIC U-S POLICY OF RESTRAINING IRAQ WILL NOT CHANGE. 

HE SAYS WASHINGTON CUT ITS FORCES IN THE GULF TO REDUCE THE COST 
AND STRESS OF KEEPING SO MANY PEOPLE SO FAR FROM HOME.  BUT HE 
SAYS WASHINGTON HAS SHOWN IT IS WILLING TO USE MILITARY FORCE TO 
BLOCK IRAQI ATTEMPTS TO ATTACK U-S FORCES, ITS NEIGHBORS OR TO 
REBUILD BANNED WEAPONS.

SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR, U-S FORCES HAVE BEEN CUT BY ABOUT 
ONE THIRD TO SAVE MONEY.  CUTS TO THE GULF FORCE FOLLOW 
CONGRESSIONAL COMPLAINTS THAT DEPLOYMENTS IN BOSNIA, THE GULF AND
ELSEWHERE ARE STRAINING THE REMAINING U-S FORCES.  CRITICS SAY 
THOSE STRAINS ARE EVIDENT IN THE FLOOD OF U-S PILOTS AND OTHER 
HIGHLY TRAINED PEOPLE WHO ARE LEAVING THE MILITARY FOR CIVILIAN 
JOBS WITH AIRLINES AND OTHER COMPANIES.  (SIGNED). 

NEB/JR/TMD/PT

26-May-98 4:08 PM EDT (2008 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.