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US Officials: Iraqi War Not Over Yet - 2003-04-13


Top U.S. defense officials say they are not ready to declare that the war with Iraq is over. These officials caution that many dangers remain for U.S.-led forces in the country.

As coalition troops consolidate their control in Iraq's major cities, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stressed to CBS's Face the Nation the war continues.

"There are still people being killed," he said. "We lost some people last night. There are pockets of resistance. There are Fedayeen Saddam people, these death squad people who are going out and trying to kill people."

Mr. Rumsfeld said he is also worried because of a recent arms discovery. "We just found, oh, I do not know, I think it was 80 vests filled with explosives and ball bearings. And the inventory list suggested that there were another 30 that are not there. So, there are people, suicide types, who are out there," he said.

U.S. Commander Tommy Franks says the goals set for the military phase of the operation have not all been met.

"The destruction of the Republican Guards, and the regular army forces and the Special Republican Guards, and so forth - decisive military operations, and that is where we are now," he said. "We are moving toward the end of that. And when I sense that we have accomplished each of these phases, then I tell Secretary Rumsfeld, and we tell the President of the United States. And he forms judgments about the way ahead."

General Franks, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq, says there are still many places left in the country where coalition forces must root out pockets of resistance.

"They have covered a lot of ground in a short period of time. And in many cases, we have simply bypassed villages and towns, and so forth. And now, we will go to each and every one of them to make sure we do not have some last small stronghold in that country," he said.

In answer to questions about recent scenes of looting and chaos in major Iraqi cities, the U.S. commander says he has not been surprised.

"When the yoke is removed, people just become wild. And I think the measure of merit for us is how quickly is this lawlessness, looting and so forth, controlled," he said. "And I do not believe that a period of two, three, four or five days is a sufficient period of time for us to begin to criticize ourselves."

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said other issues that still need to be resolved include locating weapons of mass destruction and finding war criminals.