After reading a bit more of the rumor mill about the purported joint American/British strikes on Iraq in the past few days, two thoughts come to mind.
First, these rumors are fairly believable. The scale of the strikes is something which reads like an escalation of the usual defense of the no-fly zones, which has always included hitting anti-aircraft targets, only this time the targetting was chosen as prep for an invasion. Estimate probability that there has been some escalation as about 98%; multiple reliable sources (inc. CNN) say that. Probability that the attacks were as extensive as rumor had it (100 planes and so on) is maybe 70%.
Second, if these rumors are true, it seems to be militarily well-thought-out. (Surprisingly…) The target list seems to have been not just AA but missile bases and air bases which have planes capable of deploying bio and chemical weapons, all in western Iraq. Because of the fairly short range of their Scuds, this could seriously hamper their ability to fire on Jordanian, Israeli and Turkish targets — the things which Hussein could use as threats most effectively to hold off Americans — as well as being pretty much just the right cover both for special forces troops and for air support. Furthermore, the timing — relative to forcing Hussein to put his resources into war preparation and not giving him time to actually do so — is right as well. Since the timing is also so right with respect to the upcoming elections, I’m really suspicious that this was planned very carefully for this exact effect, but that’s another issue entirely.
OK, enough random political analysis for now.