Military Front: Israel put its army on higher alert after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein named Tel Aviv as his first target if war erupts over his occupation of Kuwait. U.S. forces in the gulf also were on heightened alert against potential terrorist attacks.
At Camp David, President Bush was briefed by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney on the readiness of U.S. forces. In his Christmas message, Bush told the troops that “Americans will send their prayers eastward across the ocean and halfway across the world, not only to the town of Bethlehem, but to the sands and shores where you stand in harm’s way.”
In Saudi Arabia, Chief Warrant Officer Wesley Wolf, food adviser for the U.S. military, has planned 340,000 Christmas meals for the 280,000 U.S. troops there. Ingredients were ordered in September. The troops will also be entertained by Bob Hope.
Diplomatic Front: Iraq’s ambassador to the United States and its envoy to the United Nations were summoned home to Baghdad for talks, along with Iraqi ambassadors to a number of European nations.
Trade Front: Representatives of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War said the embargo against Iraq is depriving Iraqis of food and medicine and has caused the infant mortality rate to double. But Western diplomats said that humanitarian relief is allowed under sanctions and suggested that medicine meant for civilians is being diverted to the military.
Christmas Dinner Ingredients for Operation Desert Shield:
* Shrimp: 35,000 pounds * Roast beef: 172,000 pounds * Whole turkeys: 4,000 * Fruitcake: 35,000 pounds * Candy bars: 500,000 * Canned ham: 108,000 pounds * Rolled turkey: 150,000 pounds * Sweet potatoes: 280,000 pounds * Pies: 150,000