NEWS YOU WON'T FIND ON CNN

 

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Iraqi's cheered as the Americans carried away a dead comrade.

ABC News: Australia

Broadcast: 07/17/2003
The White House keeps trying but it still can't get past the criticism over intelligence used to make the case for war with Iraq. American soldiers in the country are also stuck. For them, the consequences could be deadly. There's now word one key division will likely have to stay in the country for much longer than initially thought, as US forces struggle to maintain control.

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Compere: Tony Jones
Reporter: Norman Hermant

TONY JONES: The White House keeps trying but it still can't get past the criticism over intelligence used to make the case for war with Iraq.

American soldiers in the country are also stuck.

For them, the consequences could be deadly.

There's now word one key division will likely have to stay in the country for much longer than initially thought, as US forces struggle to maintain control.

It's a role that is increasingly dangerous and today at least one more American soldier was killed in an attack outside of Baghdad.

Norman Hermant reports NORMAN HERMANT: This is what the fighting looks like now in Iraq.

A bomb and rockets ripped into this US convoy.

An unseen enemy willing one American soldier, wounding two others.

These are the kinds of attacks troops here have come to dread.

Divisions like the 3rd Infantry, that led the advance on Baghdad, want out.

They were supposed to begin leaving at the start of this month.

Now there's word their pullout is on hold, possibly until September or longer.

The toll on these soldiers is starting to show.

SERGEANT ERIC WRIGHT, US 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION: They're exhausted -- they are mentally and physically exhausted -- to the point that some would hope that they get wounded so that they can go home.

Well, just, hey, shoot me, I wanna go home.

NORMAN HERMANT: The troops who came to liberate Iraq are now seen by many in the country as occupiers.

After this latest attack in a pro-Saddam area, the local population cheered as the Americans carried away a dead comrade.

US SOLDIER: I used to wanna help these people and now I don't really care about 'em anymore.

I've seen so much -- you know, little kids throwing rocks at you.

And once you pacify an area, it seems like the area you just came from turns bad again.

NORMAN HERMANT: Even developments hailed by the US as progress are not without their detractors.

In Basra and in Baghdad, thousands of protesters marched to demand the Iraqi National Council, appointed only three days ago, be disbanded.

The political pressure is still on at the White House, but there is one change.

The man who for so long was the face of the Bush Administration, Ari Fleischer, has stepped aside.

The new White House spokesman spent his first day beating back more charges about President George W.

Bush and discredited claims Iraq tried to buy uranium in Africa.

SCOTT McLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: Well, let's put this in perspective.

This issue relates to the threat that Saddam Hussein and his regime posed to the region, to his people and to the world.

And the statement in the State of the Union was one piece of one part of a much larger body of evidence.

NORMAN HERMANT: The White House wants to move on.

But today even former Australian intelligence official Andrew Wilkie was in Washington strengthening the case for the administration's critics.

ANDREW WILKIE, FORMER ONA ANALYST: My own PM has said that he believes Australians have moved on.

And your President has claimed that the matter is closed.

I find statements like that, from the senior leadership of the two countries, as incredibly arrogant.

NORMAN HERMANT: In the US, anti-war groups have now taken to the airwaves.

TV ADVERTISEMENT: Now's there's evidence we were misled and almost every day, Americans are dying in Iraq.

We need the truth, not a cover-up.

NORMAN HERMANT: The President is taking a beating in the media.

But even though his poll numbers are down, a majority of Americans still say George Bush made his case that the war in Iraq was justified.

Norman Hermant, Lateline.

 


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