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Freedom Tower
July 29th, 2003, 12:26 PM
Besides Saddam's sons being dead more progress is being made in Iraq:

U.S. Troops Nab Senior Saddam Bodyguard
Tuesday, July 29, 2003

TIKRIT, Iraq — American troops nabbed one of Saddam Hussein's closest bodyguards and at least two other suspected associates in pre-dawn raids in Tikrit Tuesday, the U.S. military said.

Adnan Abdullah Abid al-Musslit had retired from his job as one of the former dictator's most trusted aides, but was apparently called back into service shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

"We got our prime target," said Lt. Col. Steve Russell, commander of the 4th Infantry Division's 22nd Infantry Regiment. "This man was a close associate of Saddam Hussein."

Tuesday's operation came after several previous raids on houses in Mosul (search) and Tikrit (search). *U.S. forces believed they missed Saddam himself at one farm near Tikrit by only a day.

Earlier Tuesday in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, troops found enough anti-tank mines and gunpowder for a month of attacks on American forces.

The military reported a U.S. soldier killed in an attack in Baghdad Monday, while guerrillas blew up a bridge in an attempt to disrupt the U.S. occupation.

In Tuesday's raid, soldiers shot the locks off a door before storming a house at 4 a.m. local time to capture al-Musslit. He was escorted from the house, where he had been staying with his family, minutes later, blood seeping through his hat.

The stocky al-Musslit struggled to break free as soldiers arrested him, and they had to wrestle him to the ground and drag him down the stairs, Russell said.

"Were we surprised? He's a bodyguard. That's why we went in with our steely knives and oily guns," Russell said. "If everything else had failed and we just got that one guy, we would be happy."

As "one of Saddam's lifelong bodyguards," al-Musslit was believed to have detailed knowledge of the former president's hiding places, Russell said. He said documents found in the house and information obtained from the men would be useful in the hunt for Saddam.

"Every guy we get tightens the noose," Russell said. "Every photo and every document connects the dots."

Captured in other houses nearby were Daher Ziana, head of security in Tikrit, and Rafa Idham Ibrahim al-Hassan, a leader of the Saddam Fedayeen militia, (search) believed to be among the groups mounting guerrilla attacks on U.S. troops.

Al-Musslit had close ties to Watban Ibrahim Hasan (search), Saddam's half brother and presidential adviser, Russell said.

Watban had been number 37 on the U.S. most wanted Iraqis list and was arrested on April 13 in Mosul on his way to Syria.

Soldiers cut white sheets from the house Ziana was taken from into strips to make blindfolds for him and three others captured with him. All four sat under guard in the front yard.

Six women stood by wailing as soldiers brought out photographs and documents for examination. One photo showed one of the detained men in a beret and military uniform with three stars on his epaulets.

A large portrait of Saddam lay alongside a picture of Ziana in uniform. One album featured a photo of women posing with Kalashnikov rifles.

Among the documents was something called a "Saddam Privilege Card," Russell said.

"He's with number 1 and number 4 in these photographs," Russell said, referring to the "55 Most Wanted Cards" ranking of Saddam and his former security chief, Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti. Mahmud was captured on June 17 and is the highest ranking former regime member in U.S. custody.

Al-Mussilt, Ziana, al-Hassan and the others captured with them were taken to an Army detention facility in Tikrit for interrogation.

The hunt for al-Musslit began with a raid on a farm belonging to Saddam's cousin Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti — 11th on the "Most Wanted" list — where several photos of al-Musslit at Saddam's side were found, Russell said.

Bradley fighting vehicles were attacked late last week around the corner from the house where al-Musslit was staying.

Russell and his driver, Spc. Cody Hoefer, were drawn into a shootout with al-Musslit's nephew and three other men, Russell said. The four Iraqis were killed in the fight.

Soldiers then stepped up surveillance on the area and gathered the information that led to the raids.

In Baghdad Monday, a soldier was killed when insurgents dropped a grenade on his convoy. Three soldiers were wounded.

U.S. soldiers also dug up the freshly buried weapons — 40 anti-tank mines, dozens of mortar rounds and hundreds of pounds of gunpowder — outside an abandoned building that once belonged to Saddam's Fedayeen militia in Tikrit.

Maj. Bryan Luke, 37, of Mobile, Ala., said the weaponry was enough for a month of guerrilla attacks and the discovery "saved a few lives out there."

"Forty mines could have caused a lot of problems for U.S. forces here in Tikrit," he said.

Also Monday, north of Baghdad, guerrillas floated a bomb on a palm log down the Diala River, a Tigris tributary, and detonated it under an old bridge linking the city of Baqouba to Tikrit.

U.S. soldiers had built a pontoon bridge downstream and were renovating the old bridge, but after the explosion they closed both.

"We've been repairing it since the end of April, but now we've got people trying to blow it up," said Lt. Col. Bill Adamson, a 4th Infantry Division commander. "Because of this damage, we've got to shut it to all the civilian traffic."

In India Tuesday, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, said from Baghdad to Tikrit, Iraq was still a war zone.

"Eighty percent of the security incidents are happening there," Myers told a news conference. "It's fair to say it's still a war zone in that area. It's still a very challenging environment, a very hard environment."

A previously unknown militant Iraqi group also vowed in a videotape broadcast by the Dubai-based Al Arabiya satellite channel to continue armed attacks on U.S. troops until they were forced to leave Iraq.

"Oh America, you have declared war on God and the soldiers of God, so brace yourself for a war from God and his Prophet and the soldiers of God," a member of the Jihad Salafi Group said in the tape.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Hopefully this will dissuade further guerilla attacks against US forces

Freedom Tower
July 29th, 2003, 12:27 PM
Governing Council Elects Nine-Member Presidency

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

BAGHDAD — Iraq's Governing Council (search), the 25-member body set up by the U.S.-led coalition to run Iraq as an interim administration, elected a nine-member presidency Tuesday.

The U.S. administrator for Iraq, L. Paul Bremer (search), had said when the council was announced on July 13 that its first order of business would be to elect a president, but members have been unable to agree on a single leader.

The council's statement Tuesday gave no details on how the presidency would function.

The council has the right to appoint Cabinet ministers and formulate economic policies and is charged with producing a process to write a new constitution that would pave the way for a general election.

Like the larger Governing Council, the presidency has a slight Shiite Muslim majority, with two Sunni Muslims and two Kurdish leaders represented.

The members of the presidency are: Ahmad Chalabi, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, Jalal Talabani, Massoud Barzani, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iyad Allawi, Mohsen Abdel-Hamid, Mohammed Bahr al-Uloum and Adnan Pachachi.

Freedom Tower
August 1st, 2003, 05:44 PM
Iraqi Warplanes Found Buried in Desert

Friday, August 01, 2003

WASHINGTON — Some of Iraqi's missing air force has turned up down below.

Search teams, some hunting for Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction (search), found dozens of fighter jets from Iraq's air force buried beneath the sands, U.S. officials say.

At least one Cold War-era MiG-25 interceptor was found when searchers saw the tops of its twin tail fins poking up from the sands, said one Pentagon official familiar with the hunt. He said search teams have found several MiG-25s and Su-25 ground attack jets buried at al-Taqqadum air field west of Baghdad (search).

Iraq's air squadrons were a no-show during the war, and U.S. military officials supposed their pilots stayed grounded because they believed they were overmatched by American and British air power.

Various officials differed in opinion as to whether the buried aircraft could ever fly again. Many of the planes were buried intact with minimal efforts to protect them from the sand.

Rep. Porter Goss, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the discovery pointed to how far Iraqi forces went to conceal their activities. The Florida Republican was briefed on the discovery during his recent trip to Iraq.

"Our guys have found 30-something brand new aircraft buried in the sand to deny us access to them," Goss said. "These are craft we didn't know about."

He said the planes were not considered weapons of mass destruction for which coalition troops have been searching for months, "but they are weapons (Iraq) tried to hide."

Prewar intelligence estimates from earlier this year said Saddam Hussein's regime had about 300 combat aircraft, all of them survivors of the Gulf War. Most were aging Soviet-era MiGs, Sukhois and older French Mirage fighters. The best are MiG-29 Fulcrums, one of the most advanced fighters produced in the Soviet era.

Allied warplanes bombed several planes on the ground, and U.S. Air Force officials say no Iraqi planes were detected flying a combat mission during the war.

Australian troops, who on April 16 captured the Al Asad Airfield, 112 miles northwest of Baghdad, found scores of fighter aircraft, mostly Soviet-era MiGs but also three advanced MiG-25 Foxbats, the fastest combat aircraft today. Helicopters, radar systems and millions of pounds of explosives also were found.

The MiGs had escaped detection during the coalition bombing campaign. Some were buried or hidden under trees or covered with camouflage sheets. Aircraft destroyed in prior wars were littered across the airfield to make it more difficult for bombers to choose their targets.

Freedom Tower
August 6th, 2003, 07:45 PM
U.S. Uncovers Weapons in Series of Iraq Raids
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

TIKRIT, Iraq *— U.S. forces said Wednesday they arrested 19 suspected members of the anti-U.S. resistance and killed another, and found a huge stockpile of weapons in a series of raids in northern Iraq. But the big prize — Saddam Hussein (search) — remained elusive.

Iraq's postwar recovery continued: In Baghdad, the U.S.-installed Governing Council (search) asked for U.S. help in creating desperately needed jobs, while to the south in Diwaniyah, Spanish soldiers began setting up a base for troops from Spain and four Latin American countries to replace U.S. forces heading home.

For the fifth straight day, no U.S. military personnel were reported killed in attacks. Military combat deaths had been coming almost daily, with 52 U.S. soldiers killed in combat since May 1, when U.S. President George W. Bush declared major combat over.

The U.S. military announced the arrest of a man it said was organizing guerrilla attacks against American soldiers. The man, nabbed Sunday by Iraqi police officers, was the brother of a Saddam bodyguard captured by U.S. forces on July 29, said Lt. Col. Steve Russell of the 4th Infantry Division.

Russell did not identify the man, but said he was the brother of Adnan Abdullah Abid al-Musslit, who was believed to have detailed knowledge of Saddam's hiding places.

Eighteen other suspected guerrillas were arrested in seven overnight raids across north-central Iraq, Maj. Josslyn Aberle said.

She also said soldiers uncovered a large weapons cache 25 miles northeast of Tikrit (search), Saddam's hometown, on Sunday. It included two 20-foot-long missiles, 3,000 mortar rounds, 250 anti-tank rockets and almost 2,000 artillery rounds.

She said an Iraqi informant led soldiers to the cache.

Russell said a man tried to attack soldiers with a rocket-propelled grenade in downtown Tikrit, but soldiers killed him before he could fire.

"He was sneaking through an alley way and we engaged him. Soldiers saw him fall," Russell said, adding: "We will engage or kill anyone with RPGs."

U.S. military sources reported a failed raid last week near the northern city of Mosul to capture one of Saddam Hussein's most trusted aides and No. 6 on the U.S. list of most-wanted, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.

The Governing Council asked the U.S. civilian administrator, L. Paul Bremer, to meet with it to discuss a job-creation plan. Creating jobs is seen as one of the most crucial tasks in reducing rising crime and restoring normalcy in Iraq.

In Diwaniyah, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Spanish Brig. Gen. Alfredo Cardona set up a base camp for troops from Spain, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic scheduled to arrive within weeks.

"We're repairing old barracks, setting up tents and installing air conditioners. We should be ready by Sept. 1," he said. He didn't let journalists tour the base.

Their arrival will let U.S. troops head home from the region.

But new U.S. troops prepared to deploy. The 10th Mountain Division at New York's Fort Drum said Wednesday it would deploy another 600 troops to Iraq. The entire 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, will "prepare for future contingencies as may be directed," the Army said.

In Baghdad, about 5,000 members of Iraq's Turkmen minority demonstrated in front of the main U.S. military and political base to demand broader representation for their ethnic minority in the U.S.-appointed governing council. Only one of the council's 25 members is Turkman.

The protesters, most of whom came by bus from heavily Turkman areas in northern Iraq, also accused Kurds of immigrating to traditionally Turkman areas.

Iraq has a tense mix of religions and ethnicities, and many minorities are worried about their treatment and influence in Iraq's still forming state.

The grandson of the late Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Baghdad to set up a Shiite Muslim seminary movement, praised the U.S. war and said he hoped Iraq's newfound freedoms could spread to neighboring Iran. The grandson, Seyed Hussein Khomeini, has been critical of the Islamic revolution his grandfather led in 1979.

"As an Iranian, I see it as a liberation from oppression and dictatorship and tyranny which was never known before in history," he told Associated Press Television News. "This was their salvation from their suffering."

But the former chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, Hans Blix, denounced the war in his strongest language yet, saying the United States had better options than war and questioning its logic that war was needed to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

"Personally, I found it peculiar that those who wanted to take military action could — with 100-percent certainty — know that the weapons existed, and at the same time turn out to have zero percent knowledge of where they were," Blix told a Swedish radio program.

The United States has yet to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or to find their biggest prize, Saddam himself.

A series of raids have captured many of Saddam's top aides and killed his powerful sons Odai and Qusai, but Saddam has slipped away every time.

Freedom Tower
August 8th, 2003, 07:54 PM
Bush Lauds Major Progress in Iraq

Friday, August 08, 2003

CRAWFORD, Texas *— The Bush administration on Friday released a 24-page document detailing what it called its ongoing ascension toward "security and freedom" in Iraq.

Speaking before a throng of reporters outside his Texas ranch 100 days after he declared major combat over, President George W. Bush made his "Results in Iraq" report available to the public.

The document says coalition forces have been at the forefront in the fight to reopen most all public institutions and rebuild infrastructure in the region, while simultaneously leading the campaign that will ultimately bring democracy to it.

"We've made good progress," said the president, flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney (search) and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (search), following a lengthy strategic *session. "Iraq is more secure. Congress will be able to ask legitimate questions like you're asking and they'll be answered."

Bush added that he was heartened by financial and military contributions other countries were making in Iraq, and promised to present a "well thought-out" cost estimate to Congress. The president stopped short, however, of saying how long he felt U.S. forces would be in the region, unlike Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (search), who said Thursday that he felt troops would be there for at least two more years.

"I will do what's necessary to win the war on terror," Bush added, taking the time to again express his sympathy for the 55 soldiers who have died in action since his declaration that heavy combat had ceased.

"We suffer when we lose life," the president said. "Our country is a country that grieves with those who sacrifice. Americans have got to understand I will not forget the lessons of Sept. 11."

The president would not say whether he had an estimate on how many more soldiers would die. Nor did he answer a question on future costs of the American presence in Iraq.

Bush stood in the driveway of his ranch home facing reporters with Cheney, Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Meanwhile, Democrats have sharpened their criticism of Bush's stewardship on Iraq in recent days, with the deposed president, Saddam Hussein, still at large and with no weapons of mass destruction having been discovered.

"Despite his rhetoric, George Bush has lost focus on the true terrorist threat from Al Qaeda; lost national treasure by assuming the total cost of rebuilding Iraq without the help of most of our allies," said Sen. Bob Graham (search), D-Fla., a presidential candidate. "And we all continue to lose dear American lives because we have neither the manpower to secure Iraq, nor the allied support to diffuse attention from America as the sole occupier."

Bush called the criticism pure politics from Democrats who want his job.

"As far as all this political noise, it's going to get worse as time goes on," Bush said.

Bush also addressed the progress of the road map to peace in the Middle East. He said that Israel's willingness to re-route a security barrier in Palestinian areas was an encouraging sign that "the Israelis are willing to work with us" on a point of major contention in Middle East peace talks.

Bush said he understands both the Israeli and Palestinian reluctance to take action. For Israelis, he said, the barrier "is a reaction to the days when there was terror ... to the days of the intifadah." But to Palestinians, it will make it more difficult to develop "contiguous" political borders for a state, he said.

However, the president said, the more secure Israel feels, the more likely there is to be peace in the region.

The president met with his national security team to discuss efforts to remold the military into a more mobile, responsive force to deal more effectively with world trouble spots.

Secretary of State Colin Powell talked Thursday about the need for a more mobile military after returning to Washington from the Bush ranch.

"We have to be nimble, flexible, call audibles as the situation changes," he said at a Washington news conference, using the football term for changing plans at the last minute.

Powell said the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq may want to "stand back a little" and rely more on local forces to maintain security.

"Iraqis have started to create security forces that will protect installations, so that you don't need a coalition military organization protecting that installation," Powell said.

But Powell said the U.S. military would take steps necessary to protect themselves and respond to attacks. "The terrorists need to know we will not be deterred."

"We intend to not stay any longer than we have to, but we will stay long enough to make sure that we allow the Iraqi people," he said, "to put in place a representative form of government."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Freedom Tower
August 14th, 2003, 11:47 PM
U.N. welcomes new Iraq government
U.S. Army apologizes for copter incident
Thursday, August 14, 2003 Posted: 2:28 PM EDT (1828 GMT)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte says Thursday's resolution "hastens the day when the people of Iraq are in full command of their own affairs."

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United Nations Security Council on Thursday passed a resolution welcoming the Iraqi Governing Council and approving the U.N. assistance mission in the country.

"This expression of support ... hastens the day when the people of Iraq are in full command of their own affairs -- a condition they have not known for three decades," said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Negroponte.

"It also sends a message to those opposed (to efforts in Iraq) that they are out of step with world opinion," he said.

The resolution passed 14-0, with Syria -- the only Arab nation currently on the Security Council -- abstaining.

Freedom Tower
August 28th, 2003, 11:57 AM
'Baby Bush' Born in Baghdad

Thursday, August 28, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq — It's a fair bet that one Baghdad baby won't run into anybody else in Iraq with the same name.

An Iraqi couple has named their 6-week-old baby boy George Bush (search) to show their appreciation for U.S. efforts to force Saddam Hussein (search) out of power.

"He saved us from Saddam and that's why we named our son after him," the baby's mother, Nadia Jergis Mohammed, told the Associated Press Television News. "It was George Bush who liberated us; without him it wouldn't have happened."

Baby Bush was born July 11 to Mohammed, 34, and her husband Abdul Kader Faris, 41. His full name is George Bush Abdul Kader Faris Abed El-Hussein.

If the couple had had twin boys, the father wanted to name the other baby Tony Blair (search), because he said both the U.S. and Britain liberated Iraq.

Baby Bush has two older brothers, with the more traditional names Omar and Ali.

The tiny boy's mother told APTN that all Iraqis hated Saddam's regime, and that President Bush freed them from his dictatorship.

"If he hadn't done it the sons of Saddam would have ruled us for years," she said.

As the woman did the interview, little George Bush screamed in his crib.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ZippyTheChimp
September 15th, 2003, 08:27 AM
September 15, 2003

Across the U.S., Concern Grows About the Course of War in Iraq

By ADAM NAGOURNEY


OMAHA, Sept. 14 — Becky Bunting, a 45-year-old job recruiter, was a big supporter of the invasion of Iraq and applauded the fall of Baghdad and President Bush's execution of the war. But these days, Mrs. Bunting is growing concerned about what is taking place there, unhappy with the mounting costs, disturbed by the casualties and, most of all, wondering how it is all going to end.

"I am very worried about it," Mrs. Bunting, a Republican, said today as she lounged in the crisp September sun in the Old Market district here. "I have two brothers in the Navy. I think there are going to be a lot more casualties. I think we are in there for the long haul.

"I believe we did the right thing," she said. "But I don't see a winning situation here for anybody."

The sentiments expressed by Mrs. Bunting today were hardly unusual.

A week after President Bush's speech seeking to rally support for the campaign in Iraq, the nation appears increasingly anxious about the war effort and worried that the United States may be trapped in an adventure from which there is no evident exit, according to interviews during the last five days with Americans across the nation, historians, social scientists and pollsters.

Some people went so far as to suggest a comparison with an earlier military action that had an unhappy history: the war in Vietnam.

There is no sign that Americans have turned from their original support of what many describe as the object of the invasion: removing Saddam Hussein from power and lessening the threat of terrorist attacks at home. And support for Mr. Bush remains relatively strong, if not as strong as it was even a month ago, according to pollsters.

But there is, by many measures, a gnawing unease about the course of this mission and a realization that the conflict will be deadlier, more expensive and longer-lasting than Mr. Bush signaled when he landed on an aircraft carrier off San Diego on May 1 to celebrate the fall of Saddam Hussein. In the most recent evidence of that, a Washington Post/ABC News poll published today found a nine-point jump in the last three weeks, to 46 percent, in the number of Americans who disapprove of Mr. Bush's Iraq policy, while the number who expressed support for the policy slipped to 52 percent from 56 percent.

"I think it's going to go on forever," said Mike Gallagher, 34, an independent voter from Chicago. "The U.S. opened a can of worms that should have never been opened in the first place."

In Pensacola, Fla., Betty Enfinger, 59, a Republican, said: "I knew it was not going to be easy. Bush seemed to have a good game plan for the war. But things have gone very, very poorly after the war."

Here in Omaha, Paul McGill, 39, an independent, said he supported the war, but added tersely: "I'd like to see the reins handed over. I would like to see an exit strategy — mapped out in detail."

At that, his wife, Virginia, who did not support the war, sighed. "I think we are locked in, and I don't see any way out," she said.

Several pollsters said that shifts in public mood could prove to be transitory in an era of abrupt swings in opinion and might have been accelerated by Mr. Bush's call last Sunday for $87 billion to finance the war effort. Indeed, the mood could certainly change again if, say, images of random shootings in Baghdad are overtaken by the capture of Saddam Hussein or the recovery of unconventional weapons.

Despite any signs of apprehension, support for the war still remains solid. Sandra Johnson, 50, of Oak Creek, Colo., an independent who voted for Bush, said she was not surprised by how long it was taking. "Things just don't happen that quickly," she said. "They can't get in and accomplish all that and get out, as history has dictated in other wars."

Still, the pollsters said these recent indications of concern could be the leading edge of a reassessment of a war that once enjoyed major support and of a new round of questioning whether it was worth the cost and casualties. Such a development could prove problematic for President Bush going into an election year.

"It's my impression that the public is in the midst of a change of mind," said Andrew M. Greeley, a prominent Catholic sociologist with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. "They still support in general the Iraqi war. But they don't believe the Iraqi war is central to the war on terror, and they are finally really not sure that they are ever going to get out of Iraq."

Richard N. Smith, a Republican political historian and director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, said of the Bush administration: "My sense is that they may be paying a price, short term or not, about not being more explicit about the possible costs and long-term commitments that, quote, rebuilding, unquote, Iraq would necessarily require. They needed to do a much better job of explaining what the $87 billion is for. I think it shocked people."

Against this backdrop, there is evidence that the steps Mr. Bush took a week ago to try to arrest any decline in support for the war — delivering a prime-time speech and requesting $87 billion to pay for its aftermath — might not have had the desired effect. The Post/ABC News poll also found that 6 out of 10 Americans did not support the proposal. The poll surveyed 1,104 adults from Sept. 10 through Sept. 13, and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Stanley Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who gathered new data after Mr. Bush's speech, said this might prove to be the first time a major address by Mr. Bush had not turned the public's mood toward him.

"People are very disturbed," Mr. Greenberg said. "This was not a confidence-building speech."

The developments have clear implications for the presidential race. The candidates have been attacking the war effort with language that would have been unthinkable even two weeks ago.

In Indianola, Iowa, on Saturday night, at a steak fry attended by most of the Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Bob Graham of Florida invoked the image of Vietnam by using a word, quagmire, that has become synonymous with that long and ultimately losing struggle.

"What we have is a quagmire which today is costing every American $1 billion a week," he said to cheers.

Historians and sociologists said comparisons with Vietnam were overblown, at least for now. For one thing, that conflict was far longer and deadlier: the Iraq war has produced fewer than a hundredth of the combat deaths of Vietnam. For another, there has been no evidence of the breakdown of confidence in the government that was intertwined with opposition to Vietnam.

"You hear a lot of sentiments that this could turn into Vietnam if not handled correctly," said Mark Penn, who was a pollster for Bill Clinton in the White House and is now working for the presidential campaign of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. "But we're not in the same mood as we were in the 60's. Now, most people are more oriented to terrorism; most people want to win the war on terrorism."

Allan J. Lichtman, a historian at American University, said: "The American people are nervous. There are substantial numbers who thought that things are not going well, that this was not planned well. But I don't see that this is front and center yet. It's tragic what is going on, but the casualties are not large enough yet."

Still, the comparison was raised frequently in interviews.

"It's a disaster — it will get worse and worse and we will leave the same way we left Vietnam: with our tail between our legs," Frank Jessoe, 60, a former Marine who served in Vietnam and voted for Ross Perot in 1992 and Ralph Nader in 2000, said in Laguna Beach.

Gary Sambrowski, 54, a Democrat and an investment counselor in Denver, said: "I get the feeling it's another Vietnam over there. We just can't walk away — we're stuck now."

Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster, said that concern was not the same as opposition to the war or criticism of Mr. Bush. He said there had been no change over the summer in the number of people in his polls who said the war was a good idea: just over 60 percent.

"America should be concerned, they ought to be worried," he said. "But what is important is that you can be worried and concerned and a little shaky about what's going on over there, but understand, the exact same percentage of people say it's a good idea as three or four months ago."

Several analysts suggested that Mr. Bush's call for more money had turned into a catalyst, fortifying existing opposition while stirring concern among supporters of the war.

"I think it's a real big waste of money," said Hele Spivack, 53, a Democrat and jewelry designer who was having brunch at the French Café in Omaha. "We should be taking care of our own people, we are not the policemen of the world."

But at this point, supporters and opponents of the war said that spending the money was the unavoidable cost of putting an end to the conflict.

"Bush obviously made a mistake in coming back and saying the war is over and underestimating Saddam and his loyalists over there," said Phillip Ruland, 46, of Laguna Beach. "I think that we're going through a rough patch over there, but we've got to stay the course. I don't think it's going to be a Vietnam-type situation. It's totally different. It was a necessary war."



Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Freedom Tower
September 22nd, 2003, 05:10 PM
Bush to Tell U.N. Iraq War Was 'Right Decision'

Monday , September 22, 2003
By Liza Porteus

WASHINGTON — The United States "made the right decision" to invade Iraq and will now ask the United Nations to help make the country more secure as it takes steps to become a democracy, President Bush told Fox News in an exclusive interview to be aired Monday night.

"I will make it clear that I made the right decision and the others that joined us made the right decision," Bush said in an exclusive interview with Fox News' Brit Hume. "The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein."

In an address to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Bush will defend the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq but says he's open to the idea of the international body having a somewhat expanded role in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

Hume's interview with Bush, conducted Sunday, can be seen on the Fox Broadcasting Network at 8 p.m. EDT Monday, and then will be replayed on Fox News Channel at midnight EDT.

"We would like a larger role for member states of the United Nations to participate in Iraq," Bush said. "I mean, after all, we've got member states now, Great Britain and Poland, leading multinational divisions to help make the country more secure."

In the interview, the president continued to insist on an orderly transfer of authority to the Iraqis rather than the quick turnover demanded by France.

In an interview published in the New York Times on Monday, French President Jacques Chirac repeated his call for the immediate transfer of sovereignty in Iraq to the Iraqi people. He indicated that France would approve only a new resolution that recognized this need but said France would not veto the resolution unless it became "provocative."

"There will be no concrete solution unless sovereignty is transferred to Iraq as quickly as possible," Chirac said.

There is a growing sense that France is being isolated from the United Nations. Bush is scheduled to meet with Chirac in New York on Tuesday.

Bush said he doesn't think the United States will have to cede too much political power to the United Nations in order to get the resolution passed.

"The key on any resolution, however, is not to get in the way of an orderly transfer of sovereignty based upon a logical series of steps," Bush said. "And that's constitution, elections and then the transfer of authority."

U.S. officials recently circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution formerly asking more countries to send troops and aid to the region. The formal resolution may be introduced later this week.

Some countries, before sending troops to Iraq to act as peacekeepers and security forces, want the United States to relinquish control of military operations in Iraq and give the United Nations more responsibility.

Administration officials and military experts argue the country is not yet secure enough for that to happen.

"The path to sovereignty is very clearly laid out," L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, said in a television interview Monday. "There must be a written constitution followed by democratic elections. That will then lead to a fully sovereign Iraqi government. This will happen as quickly as Iraqis can write the constitution."

"It's too soon -- they [the coalition] are turning it over and they're going as fast as they can," added Fox News military analyst Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney. "They are moving toward Iraqi-ization very fast."

Officials also argue it's only natural for the country with the most troops in the region and which led the war to control those operations.

"We have seen this model work in many occasions in the past and we are confident it will work now," Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently.

'A True Test for Our Allies'

Sen. Jon Kyl , R-Ariz., said he thinks the United States will succeed in getting the resolution passed, but "the real question will be, how much help will we get?"

"Obviously, you're not going to let countries like France and other countries like that take over the operations after what the United States has gone through," Kyl told Fox News.

Bush said, however, that he's open to the possibility of giving the United Nations a role in overseeing some postwar politics.

"I do think it would be helpful to get the United Nations in to help write a constitution … they're good at that," Bush said. "Or, perhaps when an election starts, they'll oversee the election. That would be deemed a larger role."

Bush will tell the United Nations that while some countries did not agree with the U.S.-led military action in Iraq, it's now in the international community's best interest not only to rebuild Iraq, but to rebuild Afghanistan, fight AIDS and hunger, deal with slavery and the proliferation of heinous weapons.

He said the United Nations has a chance to do more as a result of U.N. resolution 1441, passed unanimously in November, that threatened Baghdad with "serious consequences" if it failed to hand over or destroy its weapons of mass destruction. The Security Council failed to act on it to declare war on Iraq.

"At least somebody stood up and said this is a definition of serious consequences," Bush said.

Bush Has A 'Big Job' Ahead

Former U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Burt, told Fox News that Bush "has a big job ahead of him" in selling his case to the U.N.

France and Germany have both said they would help in small ways, such as training Iraqi police.

But "they've made it very clear at this stage they don't want to send a large number of troops and I don't think they want to spend a lot of money" in reconstruction efforts, Burt said.

Over the weekend, Germany, France and Britain agreed that the U.N. needs a more significant role and a fast transfer of power to Iraqis but were divided on how quickly that should happen.

"I think that they'd like to bury that hatchet on the one hand," Christopher Dickey of Newsweek told Fox News. But "the French feel very strongly" that the United States continuing to go to war with any country seen as a perceived threat, "is really not acceptable in the modern world."

"[France is] going to do anything they can to fight against that," Dickey said.

Germany's ambassador to the United States, Wolfgang Ischinger, told Fox News that the bad blood between the United States and countries that led the U.N. anti-war fight "is all past history."

"We must join forces, we must work together, to get the issue of combating terrorism right," he said, calling Germany is the United States' "best ally in Afghanistan" but said Germany is prepared "in a limited way" to help in Iraq.

"We're not here to make the mission in Iraq more difficult," Ischinger said. "We're here to help."

Bouthaina Shaaban, Syria's new minister of expatriates, told the Associated Press Tuesday that Syria, a U.N. Security Council member that opposed the war, would consider sending peacekeeping forces to Iraq if certain guidelines are imposed.

"Syria would be ready to send troops to Iraq only after the United Nations has the final say in Iraq and if a deadline for the American withdrawal [from Iraq] is put," Shaaban said.

Fox News' Eric Shawn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.