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US General Franks Makes 1st Trip to Baghdad - 2003-04-16

The commander of U.S forces fighting in Iraq has made his first visit to Baghdad.

Wearing desert camouflage fatigues and toting a nine millimeter pistol, General Franks flew into Baghdad to confer with his commanders at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces.

While there, he toured the building, checking out such features as the bathrooms with gold fixtures. At one point, he joked about what he termed the "oil-for-palace" program, a reference to the apparent diversion of funds from the U.N. supervised "oil-for-food" program intended to assist the Iraqi people.

While at the palace, General Franks spoke by telephone with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and took part in a video-conference with President Bush.

The contents of those conversation were not disclosed. But later General Franks told reporters the regime of Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge of Iraq.

Still, he said U.S.-led coalition forces are involved in routing out the remnants of what he calls Arab fighters or foreign fighters who have come into Iraq from a number of other countries.