Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says coalition forces have an obligation to provide security and stop looting in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. Mr. Rumsfeld disputed reports that lawlessness is widespread in the country.
Secretary Rumsfeld says it is not surprising that during the transition period between war and democracy that chaotic scenes would be seen in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.
Mr. Rumsfeld says while no one condones looting, it is understandable that after decades of repression people are taking out their anger on symbols and buildings that represent Saddam Hussein's regime.
"We do feel an obligation to assist in providing security and the coalition forces are doing that," he said. "They are patrolling in various cities. Where they see looting they are stopping it and they will be doing so."
Secretary Rumsfeld says the next step in the process is to find Iraqis who can assist in providing police support to bring security to Iraq's cities.
Mr. Rumsfeld disputed reports and descriptions that say anarchy and lawlessness are widespread in Iraq.