Top military officials at the Pentagon refused to comment, directing all questions to the White House. One general, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, "I have no idea what's going on, but once we heard we're attacking Baghdad, I really couldn't give a damn about where it is. Just the sound of that word makes my blood run cold."
His sentiment was shared by many people in the military. Many of the privates who were allowed to talk to reporters confessed that none of them really knew that they were attacking Arizona, but since the order was thought to have been given "from high above", they promptly took aim at Bagdad.
At around 3 o'clock, the White House briefed reporters on the plan to attack Iraq, and announced, to everyone's surprise, that at that very moment, the marine was executing a plan to take the capital of Iraq. Half an hour later, fishermen along the Pacific Coast in Southern California reported seeing a U.S. navy vessel trying to reach shore. An eyewitness said that when the navy vessel was within a mile of the California coast, it abrupted turned around and left.
Soon after, the White House called an emergency news conference. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer confirmed that the Arizona town was mistaken for the Iraqi capital. He squarely blamed the CIA for the mistake. "The CIA told us on Monday that spy satellites show Baghdad has suddenly shrinked in size to next to nothing. They suspect that Hussein has just tested his chemical weapons on his people, and is now ready to destroy the world. If we did not act now, it could be all over." When asked how the intelligence could be so wrong that U.S. was attacking its own territory, Fleischer said, "If intelligence were good, would we still be searching for bin Laden?"