Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Things are getting serious in the poker lounge. The buttons – each worth half an Iraqi Dinar – are changing hands at a dizzying pace. Chief beneficiary is Serb Warlord Dragan Petrovic, whose prowess at the card table is unsurpassed. Afghan snapper and Baldrick looky-likey Abdullah is still in the hunt but the chips are slipping like water through the fingers of Californian cameraman Fred Scott. Overseeing proceedings is John “The Hustler” Simpson, who plays his cards very close to his ample chest and whose poker face gives little away.

Meanwhile, we’re stepping up our war planning. Events at the UN have made the schedule extremely difficult to predict. Will the US lose patience with the Security Council and go it alone? Will our operation in Baghdad be shut down, making a dash for Baghdad our main priority? What will happen in the key strategic cities of Mosul and Kirkuk? We just don’t know – and yet we have to prepare for every possibility. It’s impossible to predict whether military action will happen this week, this month or this year but we’re drawing up Plans A, B, C and D, factoring in the various possibilities in terms of personnel, equipment and story. There’s a real sense among the team that things are about to get very busy.


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