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For faculty who have been following developments in the Persian Gulf war since the invasion of Kuwait last August, the United States' announcement on Saturday evening that a full-scale ground war was underway was not unexpected. Several University experts said they had previously predicted the land component of the "liberation of Kuwait" would begin this weekend. Others said they had felt it was only a matter of time until it began. Perhaps, then, it is no surprise that very few were around for the announcement that the "mother of all battles" had actually begun. Some faculty members said they had turned in early and had slept through the Saturday night announcements. Other professors said they were out to dinner with their spouses when the assault was announced. Yet, no matter how inevitable the conflict had seemed, one University expert said his feelings still changed somewhat after he turned on news reports two nights ago. "Up until now the war had been antiseptic, exceptionally cost free," Middle East expert and Political Science Lecturer Adam Garfinkle said late Saturday night. "It hasn't really been a war." "Now we're talking about a war," he added. "Now we're talking about body bags." And Garfinkle was not the only faculty member to express anxiety over the new allied offensive. "I think it's regrettable," History Professor Bruce Kuklick said yesterday. "I will be very surprised if it continues to be as easy for the United States as it has been before." "I think if you take a baseball bat and hit a hornet's nest -- that's Iraq -- the result would be very unfortunate," added Kuklick, an expert in recent American history. Despite the increased danger, faculty experts still predict a fairly short conflict in which coalition forces would ultimately be victorious, due to superior technology and training. Garfinkle said that in order to avoid casualties, it would be "absolutely crucial to use electronic intelligence assets." Garfinkle, who occasionally serves as a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency, said he had reason to believe that new technologies may even allow the allies to insert their own messages into Iraqi communications, leading the Iraqis wherever the Allies desired. "We'll have them shooting at each other," he said. Yet professors still cautioned that the new technology does not come without risk, and that the ground offensive will not come without cost. "We have entirely different kinds of equipment and we don't know if they work," Associate Professor of History Robert Engs said yesterday. "We're still going to lose people and that's pretty distressing." While faculty agreed the land offensive was bound to come soon, they disagreed over the immediate necessity of the move. Engs said yesterday that he actually thought the ground assault would begin sooner. Garfinkle, on the other hand, said he has disagreed with the timing of allied offensives against Iraq for some time. He said he felt the air war began later than he thought it should, while the ground war actually has begun earlier than he would have preferred. He said the peace accord reached by the Soviets and Iraqis last Thursday, though unsatisfactory, offered a starting point for a joint meeting between Secretary of State James Baker and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz in Geneva. Garfinkle said he feels torn because, even though he disagrees with President Bush's decision, he supports the president, the troops, and the efforts to remove Iraqis from Kuwait. "Even though I think this is the wrong thing to do, I want to win," Garfinkle said. He further argued that the military fought the air war with the intention of switching to a ground fight all along. He said allied bombing was used primarily to soften Iraqi positions, rather than to force the country into submission with strikes against Iraqi transportation networks and food and water supplies. "This is what happens when you let army guys run an air war," Garfinkle said.

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