Marines cheer every rumble of distant bombing, knowing it will make their job easier when orders come to push Iraqi troops from Kuwait. But these forces near the northern Saudi border also express sympathy for the Iraqis, saying the allied complaint is with President Saddam Hussein, not his people or his army.

"They're just like us," Lance Cpl. Eric Church said Sunday as B-52 bombers pelted Iraqi positions in southern Kuwait. "They're soldiers doing their job." His foxhole companion, Lance Cpl. Joey Trecartin of Bridgeport, Maine, agreed. Marines rarely refer to Iraqi troops as "the enemy," said the 20-year-old Trecartin. "They talk about Saddam Hussein -- Hussein did this, Hussein did that."

"I feel sorry for those guys, but this is our job," said Staff Sgt. Percy Smith, 32, of Atlanta. "The more we bomb the less we die."

Visas for Kuwait

The office in Cairo of Kuwait's exiled government is handing out application forms for journalists' visas so that reporters can legally enter the country if and when Iraqi troops are ousted.

"You will be contacted when visas are ready to be issued," said an instruction sheet accompanying the applications.

A spokesman for the Kuwait Information Center said his office and the exiled government's representatives in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, were distributing the forms.

"All I've heard since I've been here is people asking when they can get their visas to go in after the liberation," said the spokesman, who asked not to be identified. "We will be ready with a media-interest list when it comes." He acknowledged there is no indication when that might be.

Now for a Brief Message

Baghdad radio, which has broadcast Iraqi military communiques and verbal salvos since the Persian Gulf War began, issued a series of cryptic messages Monday night from "the main center."

"This is your day, there is no other," said one of several such messages. "It's the decisive day . . . it's the day for you all . . . implement the program of the last gathering," said another.

The messages, monitored in Nicosia, Cyprus, were broadcast three times each and later repeated without explanation. There was speculation that they could be coded messages or psychological warfare. Anti-Iraqi forces -- and most major news organizations -- monitor Baghdad radio.

The messages were addressed from "the main center" to such people as "Irwah and his friend" and from "Mahyoub to the Victorious."