[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/13/art.blitzer.jpg caption=" The war in Iraq began five years ago."](CNN) - Five years ago today, I was on the way to Kuwait. We were getting ready to cover a war.
It was rather eerie being on the last scheduled commercial flight from London to Kuwait City. British Airways and the other jetliners were shutting down their air routes to Kuwait. Everyone knew a war was imminent.
By the time I got to Kuwait City, the U.S. already had about 150,000 troops in northern Kuwait ready to invade. I drove up to the north to see some of those troops. They were all prepared for chemical warfare. They assumed that Saddam Hussein’s troops would use chemical and maybe even biological weapons. They were ready.
Like other journalists cover the impending war, I, too, had my gas mask and other WMD protective gear. I had reported on wars over the years but I remember worrying about this one. I had no idea what to expect.
Now, we are on the verge of five years of U.S. warfare in Iraq. If someone had told me back in March 2003 that the U.S. would still have about 150,000 troops in Iraq in March 2008, I would have thought they were crazy. The first Gulf War which I covered in January and February 1991 ended within weeks with the liberation of Kuwait.
It was a dazzling military success – the result of overwhelming military force. The U.S.had deployed more than 500,000 troops to the region to get the job done. That was my frame of reference.
This war in Iraq has turned out very differently.
- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer