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Rumsfeld Describes Iraqi Death Squads Atrocities Against Civilians - 2003-03-28

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Iraq is sending "death squads" into Iraqi cities to threaten people who want to support coalition soldiers. He is urging Iraqi civilians to remember those who are terrorizing them.

Secretary Rumsfeld said death squads controlled by Saddam Hussein's family are roaming Iraqi cities to keep civilians from supporting coalition forces at war with Baghdad.

Mr. Rumsfeld said these squads try to compel members of the Iraqi army to fight by putting guns to their heads and forcing them to confront U.S. and British soldiers.

"They conduct sadistic executions on sidewalks and public squares, cutting the tongues out of those accused of disloyalty and beheading people with swords," he said. "They put on American and British uniforms to try to fool regular Iraqi soldiers into surrendering to them and then execute them as an example for others who might contemplate defection or capitulation."

Secretary Rumsfeld urged the Iraqi people being threatened in the cities to try to remember the faces and the names of the death squad enforcers.

According to the defense secretary "their time will come," and coalition forces will need help and testimony to bring such people to justice after the war.