Senior U.S. defense officials acknowledge that a small number of American soldiers are missing in southern Iraq and may have been killed or captured. The admission comes as al-Jazeera television broadcast videotape purporting to show American prisoners and dead American soldiers.
A grim-faced Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld saw the controversial videotape while appearing on a television interview program. He said if they are indeed American soldiers, then the imagery is a violation of international law because "the Geneva Convention indicates that it is not permitted to photograph and embarrass or humiliate prisoners of war."
Mr. Rumsfeld went on to denounce the videotape as an example of Iraqi propaganda. "It seems to me that showing a few pictures on the screen, not knowing who they are, and being communicated by al-Jazeera, which is not a perfect instrument of communication in my view, obviously is part of Iraqi propaganda," he said.
Mr. Rumsfeld has also denied Iraqi claims of a downed coalition aircraft.