I was the rare reporter from a U.S. network covering the British ground forces, the only allies the U.S. had during the invasion of Iraq.
Awaiting H-Hour amid a total news and communications blackout, a strong storm was brewing ominously, razor sharp sand whipped our bodies, scratched our faces and collapsed our pup-tents on top of us. Since the war was nominally about ridding Saddam Hussein of WMD, once we were moving up through southern Iraq, the fear of being poisoned was palpable.
At least once a day the fog horn blasted along with the soon-to-become tiresome yell: GAS GAS GAS! That was our cue to don whatever we could of the chemical and biological protective suits we had been issued and dive into a ditch to take cover.
I remember thinking if there really were chemical or biological laden missiles heading our way, we would never stand a chance. None of us ever got the mask or the suits on properly… much less in time.
– Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent
Program note: Anderson takes a look back at the start of the Iraq War and where it stands now
Saturday & Sunday on 360° at 11p ET: “Shock & Awe: 5 Years Later” WATCH A PREVIEW
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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