u.s. may have lost element of surprise

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    Iraq may be aware that the United States is planning military action against it, meaning that the U.S. has lost the crucial element of surprise, military experts say.

    "Surprise is a critical factor in any armed conflict," said Lt. Col. Lee Hartman (Ret.), military correspondent for CNN. "An unprepared enemy is a weak enemy. On the other hand, you are at a distinct disadvantage if you inadvertently let the enemy know you are coming - for example, by conducting a year-long public debate on whether or not to go to war."

    In an appearance on Larry King Live, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted that there are slight indications that Saddam Hussein may be preparing for a U.S. invasion. "Satellite reconnaissance shows that Saddam has moved 12 divisions of Republican Guard troops into a fortified defensive position around Baghdad, and he has moved or concealed most of his weapons of mass destruction," he reported. "It's almost as if he's onto us. But how?"

    Rumsfeld went on to speculate that a double agent within the Defense Department or National Security Agency may have tipped off the Iraqis to America's war plans, and promised a full investigation into the possibility of espionage. "It's also possible, however unlikely," he added, "that Saddam noticed the half-dozen or so aircraft carriers we have moved into the Persian Gulf."

    Rumsfeld went on reassure the nation that, despite Iraq's possible advance knowledge of the invasion, U.S. military success is assured. "It seems that Saddam Hussein's army may have an inkling that an invasion is coming," he said, "but they have absolutely no idea what form that invasion will take. They have no idea, for example, that we are planning a two-pronged armored assault from Turkey in the north and Kuwait to the south. They won't know about that until it's too late."
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