VOA-TV Host David Borgida talks with Dr. David McIntyre, the Deputy Director of the Anser Institute for Homeland Security.
Joining us now, our military analyst, Dr. David McIntyre, a retired U.S. Army colonel, who has been providing insight during the war for us and for our viewers. Thanks so much for being here again.
It's got to do a lot for the troops that are still inside Iraq to see the POW's released.
Right, and it's positive in a large number of ways. It's positive for the troops that are there. It's very positive for the Iraqi people.
This is a really important point, that these troops came back. Remember that an enemy has to trust you in order to surrender.
And it speaks a certain amount of trust for the Iraqi military that some of them felt they could approach U.S. troops and tell them where these prisoners could be found. This is a good news story all around.
A great point, too. That's an interesting point.
How about this alleged battle for Tikrit? Why don't we go to the map and talk about that a little bit.
Well, the good news on the battle in Tikrit is that it didn't happen the way that we had expected.
Of course, what we were worried about was a final massing of Iraqi forces up to the north, and that we were going to have to put U.S. tanks, U.S. helicopters, U.S. ground troops, all massed and fighting around Tikrit.
What actually happened was the large amount of air assets that we put on top of that, when our troops actually began to move from both south and north, then those forces decided better of fighting.
We just didn't have the fight. They just melted away. Which is exactly what we had hoped all along. And what we still have is a considerable amount of force on the ground. We have U.S. forces with the 82nd, and the 101st behind them to the south.
We have the 3rd Infantry Division still around Baghdad. We have the marines still off to the east of Baghdad.
We have Marines and Army forces all up at Tikrit. We still have the U.K. forces down to the south, where, by the way, in an attempt to bring law and order they actually shot five bank robbers over the weekend.
But what we are seeing, in addition to this deployment of force, is a large number of forces going home. We have had seven carriers deployed at one time or another in this fight.
Now we're beginning to see a number of them redeployed back out of the theater. We have had hundreds of aircraft, B-52's, B-2's, all of those are beginning to deploy back out of the theater.
They will leave some A-10's in the area, but mostly we're going to just find attack helicopters and just a few aircraft left in the area. And that all speaks to the order. The big challenge that's left is this looking for individual Iraqis but also chemical sites. We've had chemical sites discovered just recently.
We think we've unearthed 20 of these testing facilities on wheels. We had a site in the rear that we were still looking at down south.
We have one off to the west that we're looking at. And what's left is 1,000 locations around Iraq for troops to look at, 1,000 different locations.
Now, these are locations that are determined by U.S. and British presumably intelligence?
And also places that the U.N. teams have previously been, places they found things in the years before 1995, 1996, 1997, when the U.N. teams had to leave.
We know there was something there; what's happened to it? And all of the indications are that a lot of things have now been buried.
Well, this is of course a big deal, because if the coalition forces are proven to not be able to find these weapons of mass destruction, it does, in a way, undermine the entire mission.
Talk a little bit about these mobile labs that they're talking about discovering. They are apparently underground as well. They were mobile labs that have been buried essentially.
Right. Well, it's one of the things that Colin Powell talked about when he went to the U.N.
Understand that we have been fighting a thinking enemy, and he has followed our intelligence and what we've done, our modifications, and he has changed his strategy as well.
And so while at one time the laboratories had to be built buildings, he transferred chemical laboratories and some biological research and production facilities onto trucks, so that they could be driven around and hidden, some of them driven to underground shelters, some of them apparently in shelters just dug out and buried, and then marked, to be discovered later. At least one compound of about 20 vehicles was discovered by troops of the 101st Airborne Division that were off to the west of the airport outside Baghdad.
Still on patrol, they found these marked vehicles, and began to uncover them.
We've had at least one other site where a number of rockets were reported by Iraqis. So, we have a lot of digging, a lot of research still to do.
And of course the Iraqis have steadfastly denied they have these, and we still need to make sure, through more testing, that these are in fact labs with chemical and biological weapons.
DR. MCINTYRE: Right.
My out question for you today is that this leading Iraqi scientist has come forward, and he is saying that he has been honest all along. Do you expect that that will be his view in continued questioning by coalition forces or what?
I think that's a very good question. And I think the answer to that will really be determined by the way that Iraq goes.
We know that the United States is not going to torture this individual. It's a high-profile case. That's not the way the United States acts. But eventually he's going to have to return to his own country.
As law and order returns to his own country, as a new government comes in place, as Iraqis that were oppressed before are free to speak out, I believe he is going to see he has to go home to people he can look in the eye and admit he told the truth.
I think that's what is really going to influence: the change in the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government. Yes, I believe he has some bad things to tell us about.
Colonel David McIntyre, as usual, giving us the kind of insight we need to help us along. We appreciate it. Thanks.
Good to be with you, sir.