In the cockpit of the B1 that bombed Al Mansur...

It was supposed to be a "decapitation attack" to take out a bunker underneath Al-Sa'aa restaurant where Saddam or "the big one" was supposed to be at the time. We all know now that there was no such bunker. So, I'd first like to thank the Department of Defense for providing the transcript that includes an hour of questions from reporters while they are still in the B1 Stealth Bomber.

Here is the link (of the hour of questions) to the B-1 Pilot Telephone Interviews on Tuesday, 08 April, 2003 at 10am.

Here are three excerpts. Click the link above if you want to read it all.

And so, we really didn't have time to reflect on anything until after the bomb run was done. And then coming off target myself, as I -- you know, I personally was never prouder to be in the Air Force, if actually this was the big one, which we thought it was, based on everything we heard. And everything went as advertised; the weapons came off. We knew we hit the target, because the weapon accuracy is -- it's going to hit within 40 feet. And so, as the weapons come off the jet, they're going to hit the target. So, not a lot of time to reflect. There was a lot of time to reflect on the two-hour drive back to our base, and at that time, again, just everybody's proud to be doing their job and making it happen.


Q: Colonel, good evening. It's Meredith Buel from Voice of America. You gave us a bit of a technical explanation as to exactly which bombs were dropped on the target in Baghdad at the beginning of the briefing. Would you be kind enough in layman's terms to describe which bombs you did drop on the target, in what sequence, and exactly what the desired effect was?

SWAN: Well, the -- I'm sure that the desired effect was to basically destroy the building, the target that we gave. And again, that goes back to somebody deciding that, you know, we want to minimize collateral damage, since it looked like it was in a suburb- type of an area. So by using a GBU-31 or Joint Direct Attack Munition, Version 3, which is the hard-target penetrator that would bury itself in farther before it exploded, which would minimize the collateral damage around the area, it will take out that particular structure, but it's going to minimize the fragmentation of the weapon and also the target itself into the outlying areas. And so that's why we used that weapon. And it's got a delay built into it so that it penetrates into the ground and then goes off.

Does that make sense?

Q: Yes it does, sir. How deeply does this generally penetrate prior to explosion?

SWAN: It depends on the type of soil or concrete that it's going into. But it's going to go, in rough terms, you know, 10, 20 feet, is probably a good average. And again, it depends on whether it's going through a runway or just going through soil.


Q: I was curious when you were discussing the JDAM before; in an urban setting, how do you approach your weapons loads for an urban setting? I mean, the 2,000-pound JDAM is not known for its utility in that area. I mean, do you really have to rely on the penetrator version for targeting?

K. Pilot: Well, first of all, I'd like to say I don't think anybody has really thought about using it in that kind of area, simply because the weapon is so large, and by nature we tend to think of using smaller weapons in that just because smaller weapons tend to give you less collateral damage. However, when you take the Version 3 of the JDAM, you actually cut the explosive weight of the weapon in about half, so now you've really got, you know, really what amounts to a 1,000-pound class weapon. And by making it a penetrator and delaying the explosion, you're putting the weapon down into the ground before it goes off. So you find that you limit your collateral damage radius when you use that type of weapon, so that it becomes a little more useful for the planners when they look into a dense environment.


It isn't the fault of these soldiers. They were doing their job, one could argue. But who is accountable, then, for all those people that died in Mansur because of these lethal munitions that were dropped on a target that did not exist?

You tell me? I know some of you will just blame "intelligence"...but for me, that is not sufficient enough. I want answers and those families that had members of their families killed or injured in this attack want both answers and deserve compensation.



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