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The scariest aspect of what we just heard from Secretary of State Powell wasn't that Iraq is in violation and military action is likely. The most frightening part to me is what Iraq might do when they really know the US and its allies are gunning at them. In the Persian Gulf War of 1991, there was no major bombing designed to take out the bad guys. The goal was to get Iraq out of Kuwait and then restrict what the Iraqi government could do. They knew that, and could retreat to fight another day. That day is here and when they know the goal, would they dare use some of the weaponry that Mr. Powell outlined they have?

I don't mention this as a scare tactic because my opinion is irrelevant. I mention it because I can't be the only one thinking it, which again reinforces the view that buyers with conviction are likely to remain on the sidelines until they see how the military action is progressing.

One of two things is going to happen here in my view and it should happen over the coming couple weeks. Saddam is going to be either overthrown by his own people or by the US and its allies. The remote possibility that he is overthrown or goes into exile should prevent the shorts from becoming overly aggressive (obvious by today's action), while the probability of uncertain military action prevents buyers from being overly aggressive. The way I see it unfortunately is a grind lower where near-term indicators are overshadowed by potential geo-political news items.

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