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U.S. Plans for New Short-Term Regime - 2003-04-09

The battle is not over yet, but already some serious thought is being given to what regime will follow, at least in the short term, and who some of the players will be in that interim government. Among them are one of the first women ambassadors to a Middle East country. And also a retired general. Miguel Rivera has the story:

The last time Jay Garner was in Iraq was over 12 years ago. He was in charge of the Kurdish resettlement.

Now the retired general is about to become the most powerful American civilian in Iraq.

“We’re here to do the job of liberating them and providing them with a form of government that represents a freely-elected will of the people and that we’ll do this as fast as we can.”

On leave from defense contractor L-3 Communications, he’s now in the humanitarian assistance business. And until a new leader is chosen, he’ll be in charge of governing 24 million Iraqis.

“He knows how to get the best out of people. He knows how to lead by example. He is very good with attention to detail, and he can bring disparate groups together.”

Part of his team has already been picked and it includes retired military men and one woman -- Barbara Bodine. She is a career diplomat who has seen as much action as a battle-worn general.

“It’s remarkable that a person who appears like a high fashion model was the person who held the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait for 137 days during the Gulf War.”

A decade later when she was ambassador to Yemen, a supporter of Saddam Hussein hijacked her plane. She survived without a scratch. But it was on her watch that the U.S.S. Cole was bombed in a terrorist attack.

“What happened on October 12 was a tragedy. It was an insult. It was a crime.”

Bodine has told friends and family she’s looking forward to her new assignment, though Baghdad will likely be a dangerous place.