With U.S.-led forces on the outskirts of Baghdad, senior American military officials are hinting coalition troops may try to isolate the Iraqi capital, hoping the regime of Saddam Hussein will collapse from within.
General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said patience will be critical in the end phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said if Baghdad can be cut off from the rest of Iraq, then it will be virtually irrelevant.
"When you get to the point where Baghdad is basically isolated, what is the situation you have in the country? You have a country that Baghdad no longer controls, that whatever happens inside Baghdad is almost irrelevant," he explained.
General Myers went on to suggest an interim free Iraqi administration might start operating even while Saddam's government remains in Baghdad.
In the meantime, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is urging Iraqi soldiers to turn on Saddam and his loyalists in order to save themselves and help in the country's liberation.