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16 February 2001
Department of Defense Conference on Iraq air strikes
| The military operation was conducted
because the Iraqi air defenses had been increasing both their frequency
and the sophistication of their operations. Both the frequency and the
more sophisticated command and control of their operations had yielded
an increased threat to our aircraft and our crews.
It reached the point where it was obvious to our forces that they had to conduct operations to safeguard those pilots and aircraft. As a matter of fact, it's essentially a self-defense measure in conducting the operation.
We struck five command-and-control nodes north of the 33rd parallel with 24 strike aircraft, using standoff precision munitions. All indications we have are that the munitions and the strikes were conducted efficiently and effectively. We have no indications that there were any of the strikes that might have gone amiss. At no time did any aircraft go north of the 33rd parallel. And I would also note that all of these targets were picked because of the specific separation that they represented from non-military targets. Of course, the principal reason is that they posed a threat to U.S. aircraft.
On the slide slide you'll see over here is a depiction of the area coverage of these radar sites, and it should be pretty evident that the range of these radars reached deep into the Operation SOUTHERN WATCH area. And that was the reason that they posed such a threat.
I'm going to show you next two examples of these types of radar. Tall King is the first one. And let's go to the second one. And all of the radars struck generally have ranges that can reach out extensively -- you saw the range represented on the map -- but covered our aircraft not long after they have entered Iraqi airspace on missions, on nearly a daily basis.