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Q&A with Sun reporter in Kuwait

WILM: You’ve been up to the Kuwait/Iraq border. What did you see there?

JOHN MURPHY: …The U.N. officials guard this demilitarized zone and they have lots of stories about what life is like on the other side because they patrol over there every day. They say that people there are very, very poor and very frightened about the prospects of war that could come soon.

WILM: Would it appear to you that war is imminent at this point?

JM: … (Imminent) could mean in a week or a month. In Kuwait now there are about 100,000 or more troops here. If you drive right outside Kuwait City, it’s like a different country. There are Humvees and helicopters and tanks practicing artilery fire. There are U.S. soldiers roaming everywhere. When you talk to the military here, they keep on saying they haven’t gotten the order from President Bush. But all directions point to war. I’m scheduled to be embedded with the Marines. I’ll be travelling with the Marines when and if they invade Iraq. We’re all waiting for the call to go out to the base, and then I think it will be maybe a few days or a week after we get the call that I think the war would start.

WILM: Were you one of the correspondents selected for the bootcamp training?

JM: I didn’t go through the Pentagon training, but I did go through some private training in London recently.

WILM: That’s kind of a whole different scenario for journalists, correct?

JM: On one hand it’s a wonderful opportunity because it’s the first time since the Vietnam War that journalists will have a chance to have a front-row seat. At the same time, most journalists I’ve talked to here are frightened, and justifiably so. I think the military will give us full access to go up to the front lines. Everyone here has flak jackets and helmets. We’re going to get training in chemical and biological warfare and that’s the most frightening prospect. In military terms they call it “getting slimed.” I don’t think most journalists are well trained enough to put on a gas mask quickly enough and get out of harm’s way. So we’re all hoping we don’t encounter a situation like that.
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