Saddam Hussein Will Not Back Down, U.S. to Bomb with Daisy Cutters

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NBC Nightly News
Tom Brokaw/Fred Francis
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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As the Persian Gulf War begins to wind down, Saddam Hussein still refuses to quit. The U.S. forces continue to strike Iraqi military targets and have started using an updated version of a Vietnam-era bomb called the Daisy Cutter.



"Saddam Hussein Will Not Back Down, U.S. to Bomb with Daisy Cutters." Fred Francis, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 12 Feb. 1991. NBC Learn. Web. 8 February 2015.


Francis, F. (Reporter), & Brokaw, T. (Anchor). (1991, February 12). Saddam Hussein Will Not Back Down, U.S. to Bomb with Daisy Cutters. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"Saddam Hussein Will Not Back Down, U.S. to Bomb with Daisy Cutters" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 02/12/1991. Accessed Sun Feb 8 2015 from NBC Learn:


Saddam Hussein Will Not Back Down, U.S. to Bomb with Daisy Cutters

TOM BROKAW, anchor:

As heavy as this bombing has been and as costly as it's been to Iraq, Saddam Hussein so far has given no hint that he will back down, although he did suggest tonight that he may cooperate with the Soviet Union in finding a way to end the war. The allied answer, of course, to that is more bombs and bigger bombs so far. NBC's Fred Francis has more now from the Pentagon. Fred.

FRED FRANCIS, reporting:

Tom, by any historical military measure, Saddam's army is taking a pounding beyond all reason. U.S. war planes, again, flew more than 200 strikes over the best Iraqi troops and tanks, the Republican Guards, and U.S. military leaders wondered today why Saddam just continues to take the punishment.

Lt. Gen. THOMAS KELLY (Defense Department): They are degrading over time, in terms of their capability. If they're saving their Sunday punch they may be losing it even as we speak. So, my guess is, and it's only a guess, is they're sitting there waiting for us to attack hoping that they'll be able to inflict serious casualties on the U.S. We're going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen.

FRANCIS: The U.S. counterstrategy is to use bigger bombs, in fact, the largest bomb in the U.S. arsenal, 5,000 pounds heavier than this version used in Vietnam. It is called a daisy cutter, and it is rolled out of the back of a transport plane. The bomb, used in the Gulf area, is almost as big as a tank and explodes as an airburst several feet above the ground. It creates a massive shock wave that covers an area larger than 50 football fields, and another bomb, which the U.S. is holding in reserve, to use for retaliation if Saddam uses chemical weapons, is the fuel air explosive. It is also rolled out of an aircraft, spewing a cloud of vapor over a wide area as it falls. The vapor is ignited, creating a horrible fireball. But lately Saddam is using only oil as a weapon against allied forces. He has started more than 50 oil fires throughout Kuwait.

Rear Admiral MIKE McCONNELL (Joint Chief of Staff): That the Iraqis have placed charges on many of the oil wells, the oil facilities. There is an advantage from their point of view. Starting a fire creates smoke. Smoke would obscure the ground, make it difficult to us-- for us to find targets.

FRANCIS: Military officials say the smoke does not hamper the battlefield or ground operations, but intelligence officials say that smoke over the battlefield does make it difficult to do bomb damage assessment. Tom.

BROKAW: Thank you, Fred Francis from the Pentagon.