A compilation of various news broadcasts from the night of January 16, 1991, the night the U.S. launched "Operation Desert Storm" against Iraq. Footage includes President George H.W. Bush's address to the nation. Also, each network has several correspondents reporting from various U.S. and Middle Eastern Locations, including Baghdad. Most of this footage, although repetitive, is quite compelling. There are, however, some moments of complete absurdity when the reporters have nothing new to report.
01:07Copy video clip URL Charles Jaco reports from Central Saudi Arabia. Jaco reads a pool report filed by the Associated Press and the Chicago Tribune. The first F-15 fighter bomber jets took off at 12:50Copy video clip URL a.m. Saudi Arabia time.
02:44Copy video clip URL Dan Rather, CBS. Rather explores what is not known. The attack is believed to be carried out only with air-strikes and possibly from cruise missiles inside Iraq and Kuwait.
04:06Copy video clip URL John Holliman speaking on CNN live from Baghdad. Tracer bullets are seen being fired into the sky and anti-aircraft guns can be heard in the background.
05:30Copy video clip URL Bernard Shaw continues speaking with Holliman after visiting the bomb shelter in the Al-Rashad hotel in which they are staying.
07:26Copy video clip URL Jaco returns, air sirens are sounding, feed cuts at 7:55.
08:03Copy video clip URL Rather reiterates that it is unknown if American forces in bases around Dahran were under attack from an air-strike.
08:55Copy video clip URL Shaw states that the T.V. tower of which they report is no longer lit.
09:28Copy video clip URL A model of Iraq and the surrounding area is shown. The discussion centers on the fifty to seventy SCUD missile launch sites. Missiles in western Iraq are able to hit Israel with SCUDs, 250 miles away.
10:09Copy video clip URL Arnett in Al-Rashad hotel was told that all communications would be blacked out once the air attack began, but the team is still able to report.
11:52Copy video clip URL Holliman reports seeing more tracer fire, and an entire section of Baghdad going dark momentarily.
12:32Copy video clip URL Shaw and Holliman report. Holliman recalls conversations with residents of Baghdad who remember rocket attacks in the Iran-Iraq war, and don’t believe these weapons will be any more destructive
13:36Copy video clip URL Gary Shepard speaking via phone describing an air raid beginning.
15:42Copy video clip URL Peter Jennings speaking about the concern for an attack on Israel.
15:58Copy video clip URL Dean Reynolds from ABC in Jerusalem, reporting relative calm.
17:07Copy video clip URL Terrible video quality for a short period.
17:27Copy video clip URL Holliman can see smoke over the entire city. The entire city is pitch black, finally blacked out.
18:03Copy video clip URL Peter Arnett speaks about the morning fog’s effects in Baghdad. Shaw compares the fireworks finale on the fourth of July at the base of the Washington Monument to what he saw in the sky earlier, and thanks the White House for warning journalists of imminent attack.
19:38Copy video clip URL Holliman sees lit vehicles on the street, including a truck on the street below.
21:10Copy video clip URL Back to CNN. Reporting on the estimated fourth or fifth bombing run.
22:30Copy video clip URL Jim Wooten from ABC speaks from Capital Hill. Leaders in the House and Senate are all watching the conflict on television. The consensus is that Congress will almost entirely support the war publicly. Two congressmen have sons in the Gulf.
24:15Copy video clip URL Peter Arnett (commenting on the supplies he brought in case he was sequestered in a bomb shelter): “I had a hard time with Iraqi customs; [I was] trying to bring in 100 pounds of canned tuna fish… I hope we get to use it.”
25:25Copy video clip URL A major blackout procedure practiced 4 weeks earlier, but this night, “it took nearly an hour” to blackout city. CNN reporters believe a surprise attack is taking place, and it is merely a display of U.S. power.
27:15Copy video clip URL Planes and anti-aircraft fire can be heard overhead, a refinery appeared to be hit (a second time) and orange flashes can be seen on the horizon. The heaviest and “most intense” raid on the city. Targets hit within a mile and a half of the hotel.
28:52Copy video clip URL Arnett speaking, no knowledge of attacks on targets outside of Baghdad.
30:10Copy video clip URL Iraqi information minister encouraged the press to stay the previous night and expressed anger that some of the international press have left.
31:29Copy video clip URL James Blackwell, a Military Analyst at the CNN studio. “A pattern of strategic bombing aimed at severing the command and control links between the political leadership and the army.”
32:48Copy video clip URL Charles Bierbauer from the White House. Bush has been working on this speech for two or three weeks. Marlin Fitzwater, the White House Press Secretary, spoke at 7 to the press. The attack began between 6-7 Washington time.
34:50Copy video clip URL Doug James reports from Amman, Jordan. Jordanian officials found out about the attack by watching CNN. Officials said that the U.S. State Department led them to believe that there would be, “at least a little bit more time for Iraq to decide to pull out of Kuwait before any action of this type began.”
36:26Copy video clip URL The CNN reporters from Baghdad let the audience “hear” another attack (incredibly dry). See red explosion ten miles away. No apparent damage to any U.S. planes. Shaw says it is surgical bombing. Inane chatter resumes after the attack.
39:28Copy video clip URL Bernard Shaw, “Reflecting on my years in Latin America covering a civil war too and having been shot at, and seeing bombing and this kind of fighting, aerial fighting; this is a new experience.”
40:24Copy video clip URL The CNN team saw a bomb falling before it hit a refinery.
41:19Copy video clip URL U.S. planes don’t seem to be targeting any of the anti-aircraft weaponry. More discussion on targets, and what they can see.
43:40Copy video clip URL Most of the explosions not accompanied by planes; not known if cruise missiles are being used or if planes are too high above for anyone to hear or see.
45:52Copy video clip URL Shaw is unfamiliar with the sound of Soviet weaponry and other assorted types of equipment.
46:09Copy video clip URL Wolf Blitzer from the Pentagon. Officials satisfied with the initial results of the air campaign, long in planning.
47:01Copy video clip URL Jaco returns from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Military calls U.S. and allied air-strike, “massive.” The remainder of Poole report on the launching of the strike relayed. Saudis Military sources say thus-far no retaliatory attacks against Israel or Saudi Arabia. Saudi Military also believe no B-52’s are in use.
49:13Copy video clip URL Blitzer at the Pentagon reiterates no U.S.airplanes downed. Initial targets were, “anything that could endanger U.S. Aircraft.” Two specialized defense-suppression aircraft are being used to scramble radar and communications in and around Iraq.
50:40Copy video clip URL Richard Roth in Tel Aviv. Israeli government instituted a “National Economy Emergency System.”
51:41Copy video clip URL Holliman in Baghdad: “As a child, our mothers used to tell us we could tell how far away lightning was by counting one-one thousand, two-one thousand… I guess you could do the same thing with bombs.”
53:38Copy video clip URL Shaw says possibility of helicopters, debate ensues. Previously helicopters have been seen; if Iraqi helicopters were used, they would be Soviet Hind helicopters.
54:43Copy video clip URL Jaco in Saudi Arabia told that another air warning issued.
55:27Copy video clip URL No Iraqi fighters seen in the sky this night.
56:37Copy video clip URL Charles Bierbauer, senior White House correspondent. Marlin Fitzwater responded to a reporter’s question of what the objective is. Fitzwater told reporters the objective is to get compliance with the U.N. resolutions and to free Kuwait.
58:20Copy video clip URL Richard Blystone interviews Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Minister of Health. Israel not surprised by the time of attack. Israeli fighters have been flying its borders for days providing a “sky shield.” Olmert says they bought special drugs in the last few weeks to treat patients for chemical or biological warfare.
1:00:41Copy video clip URL Scott Pelley confirms that in Dhahran SCUD surface to surface missile are inbound. Rather reminds audience that U.S. ground to air Patriot missiles have been deployed around bases to shoot down scuds.
1:02:04Copy video clip URL Tom Brokaw speaking to Mohammad Abul Hassan, the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.N. and says the royal family is following the situation from Saudi Arabia, and hope that it will achieve its goal with the least casualties possible. Hassan extols his government’s political system.
1:03:49Copy video clip URL Interview with Henry Dodds from Jane’s Intelligence Review in London. Speaks about Iraqi capacity to use SCUD missiles. Iraq may have up to 500 basic Soviet SCUDs, but only 36 launchers. Iraqi’s produced modified missiles during Iran-Iraq war to extend range from 150 miles to roughly 300 miles.
1:06:31Copy video clip URL Blitzer speaking about suppressing command and communications.
1:07:26Copy video clip URL Brokaw speaking on Turkey, the only NATO nation in the region.
1:08:07Copy video clip URL The Pentagon “believed and hoped” that before the war started, Saddam would attempt to hold back his air force.
1:08:37Copy video clip URL Bill McLaughlin from Tel Aviv. A full and complete curfew has been imposed on occupied Arab territories.
1:08:58Copy video clip URL Shaw, Holliman, and Arnett telling the story about about hotel security sweeping the building. Reporters were allowed to stay. Security took videotape from one of their cameras and were told it would be returned in the morning.
1:11:34Copy video clip URL Jaco in Dhahran. Experienced another false alarm. The city is still fully lit. Saudi Military sources said there is no retaliation from Iraq at this time.
1:13:46Copy video clip URL Panama mentioned by Brokaw.
1:14:10Copy video clip URL Walter Cronkite on air speaking about story, Rather continues. Defense department
1:15:04Copy video clip URL Forty five other journalists in Baghdad; all the journalists in the basement shelter are fine.
1:16:28Copy video clip URL Arnett says 25 minutes of silence have taken place.
1:17:52Copy video clip URL Tom Mintner in Norfolk Virginia at the First Baptist Church. Mintner speaks with Colleen Jackson whose husband is a fighter pilot aboard the Saratoga. The church has an excellent support system for military families. Jackson on the president if she could speak to him, “I believe in him, I’m praying for him, and to just bring our men home as quickly as safely as he possibly can.” 35,000 military wives in Norfolk Virginia
1:20:12Copy video clip URL CNN trio back in Baghdad; someone knocks on the door and they sign off.
1:21:27Copy video clip URL Robert Vito from San Diego, with Military wives. “Deneise” speaks about her husband and the war; if she could speak to the president, “get it done, and over with as quickly as possible.” Also believes Saddam should be tried by the U.N.
1:22:56Copy video clip URL Interview with Kay Hunter, a woman many military wives receive support from. “One thousand percent behind the military.”
1:23:47Copy video clip URL Charlotte, another military wife, is “very upset” and refers to Saddam as “Hassam” and believes, “He should pay for it.”
1:24:40Copy video clip URL A senior administration official has told CNN that no ground attack has occurred at this time.
1:25:44Copy video clip URL Kamel Abu Jaber, a Middle East expert from Jordan University believes Saddam would be feeling sadness and shock at the moment. He would also ask why if Kuwait can be freed, why Palestine can’t be freed. Many anti-Israel statements.
1:27:08Copy video clip URL Correspondents in Iraq are told the Iraqi Information and Foreign ministries will be listening; everyone will be looking for messages in Bush’s speech.
1:28:19Copy video clip URL Former Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Crow, interviewed by Peter Jennings. Speaking about the first implementations during this conflict of many sophisticated weapons systems that were developed under Crow.
1:30:24Copy video clip URL President George H.W. Bush addressing the nation from the Oval Office.
1:31:10Copy video clip URL “Five months ago Saddam Hussein started this cruel war, tonight the battle has been joined.”
1:32:33Copy video clip URL “Now the twenty-eight countries with forces in the gulf area have exhausted all reasonable efforts to reach a peaceful resolution. I have no choice but to drive Saddam from Kuwait by force.”
1:32:55Copy video clip URL “We are determined to knock out Saddam Hussein’s nuclear bomb potential, we will also destroy his chemical weapons facilities, much of Saddam’s tanks and artillery will be destroyed, our operations are designed to best protect the lives of all the coalition forces, by targeting Saddam’s vast military arsenal.”
1:34:10Copy video clip URL “The world could wait no longer.”
1:34:31Copy video clip URL “Saddam Hussein systematically raped, pillaged, and plundered a tiny nation, no threat to his own. He subjected the people of Kuwait to unspeakable atrocities. Among those maimed and murdered, innocent children.”
1:37:39Copy video clip URL “This will not be another Vietnam.”
1:38:19Copy video clip URL “We have before us the opportunity to forge a new world order.”
1:39:02Copy video clip URL “Our goal is not the conquest of Iraq, it is the liberation of Kuwait.”
1:41:32Copy video clip URL Bush quoting Master Sergeant J.P. Kendall of the Eighty-Second Airborne, “Were here for more than just the price of a gallon of gas. What were doing is going to chart the future of the world for the next hundred years.”
1:42:57Copy video clip URL Bush speech ends.
1:43:16Copy video clip URL Lesley Stahl from the White House. Bush urged American reporters to leave Baghdad a week prior to the attack. Reporters were asked if they were unable to fly out, to drive out.
1:45:02Copy video clip URL Rather confirms that British Tornado fighter jets and elements of the Saudi Arabian Air Force are involved in the strikes as well.
1:46:28Copy video clip URL Walter Cronkite (commenting on opposition to the war): “…we all ought to hope that we do not have an increased division of Americans with the ugly charges that one side or the other is unpatriotic.”
1:48:10Copy video clip URL Civilian reactions from near Fort Bragg, NC.
1:49:36Copy video clip URL Shaw introduces an individual referred to only as “Ingrid” who reports the situation in the hotel bomb shelter. Government guides and hotel security are now seen walking around with gas masks and Kalashnikov assault rifles, not allowing photographers to the higher floors.
1:52:32Copy video clip URL Arnett estimates that the raids began at
2:30Copy video clip URL Baghdad time in the center of the city, stayed there for an hour and a half. Over time the strikes spread outward from the city.
1:54:5Copy video clip URL CNN relates information from the BBC and French embassy in Riyadh. The BBC reports five SCUD missiles were fired on Saudi Arabia, and the French Embassy confirms that at least one SCUD missile was fired.
1:55:33Copy video clip URL Jaco reads a letter from General Norman Schwarzkopf intended for U.S. soldiers.
1:56:32Copy video clip URL Jeff Flock reporting from Independence, Missouri. The first reactions from two men are positive. An unidentified young boy (responding to a question about his thoughts on the war, “I don’t think it’s good, and I don’t think we should go to war over some stupid oil.”
1:57:53Copy video clip URL CBS correspondent from Israel at
4:30Copy video clip URL am in Jerusalem. The cafes were empty, children had the day off from school.
1:58:44Copy video clip URL Wolf Blitzer from the Pentagon. U.S. military officials in Riyadh said over 1700 U.S. combat aircraft are in the theater.
2:00:35Copy video clip URL Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney at the Pentagon for a press briefing. Cheney reiterates Bush’s statements. Cheney signed the execute order only if certain conditions were met. The U.S., UK, Saudi Arabian, and Kuwaiti Air Forces all took part in the attack. The main targets are enemy offensive capabilities in Kuwait and Iraq.
2:03:09Copy video clip URL End tape.