America’s top military official expressed satisfaction with the results of the first week of the war. But Gen. Colin L. Powell said Iraq is “an enemy that is ingenius” whose air force may yet “choose to come out and challenge us.” For now, said Powell, Iraqi air power has been “totally ineffective,” leaving the allies with significant air superiority in the opening phase of the Persian Gulf War.
Defense Secretary Richard Cheney said “there may well be surprises ahead for us,” including possible Iraqi air strikes, terrorist attacks and additional missile attacks. Cheney acknowledged that Iraq’s mobile Scud missile launchers were proving more difficult than expected.
Two American soldiers were reported wounded in a clash with an Iraqi patrol just inside Saudi Arabia. Six Iraqi soldiers were captured when a U.S. Army armored infantry unit exchanged fire with the Iraqi patrol, Air Force Col. Mike Scott said. He said the encounter occurred near the Saudi-Iraq border and occurred amid continuing sporadic artillery fire.
Raging oil fires sparked fears that the war could lead to an environmental catastrophe. Dense, black smoke continued to pour from southern Kuwaiti oil field blazes ignited by the Iraqi occupiers, oil industry executives said. Fires also were set at other Kuwaiti sites. Iran blamed the oil field blazes for a greasy “black rain” that fell on Iran’s Bushehr province.
White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater cautioned that American television reports from Baghdad play “into the hands of Saddam Hussein” and should be treated with skepticism. “We must point out once again that any reports coming out of Baghdad are in fact coming out of the Iraqi government,” Fitzwater said. He specifically referred to a report by CNN correspondent Peter Arnett that Iraqi officials had taken him on a tour of the bombed out ruins of an infant formula factory that CNN had toured in August. Fitzwater categorically denied that allied forces had hit an infant formula factory and said the facility was a biological weapons plant.
In an emotional meeting, Vice President Dan Quayle met with the families of two military people shot down in the Gulf War and three who died when a ship capsized. Quayle’s private meeting was described by the vice president’s chief of staff, Bill Kristol, as “emotional.” The United States “will hold Saddam Hussein and his henchmen personally accountable” for the treatment of captured U.S. airmen, Quayle said. He spoke to about 400 relatives of military personnel at Mayport Naval Station, Fla.
Stock prices rose in New York but were mixed on worldwide financial markets. Gold prices were slightly lower, but the dollar and oil prices were up.