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Lynch Travels Back to U.S.; Is Life in Iraq Stabilizing?; Is Bush Administration Planning Other Regime Changes?

Aired April 12, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The journey of Private Jessica Lynch. The rescued prisoner of war travels back to the U.S. of A. to heal and give others hope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our family is proud of Jessie. In our eyes, she and her rescuers are heroes.


ANNOUNCER: Joyous one minute, terrifying the next. Are there any signs that life in Iraq is stabilizing? Is the fall of Saddam Hussein an end or a beginning for the United States? Could other regime changes be on the horizon? CNN live this hour. Judy Woodruff reports from Washington with correspondents from around the globe. A special edition of INSIDE POLITICS, "The War in Iraq" starts right now.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us. Jessica Lynch's family says she is in pain, but she's in good spirits. They certainly are in good spirits, too, along with all those who know and admire the 19-year-old rescued prisoner of war. Private First Class Lynch is due to land at Andrews Air Force base outside of Washington less than an hour and a half right now. We'll have a live report from the Army hospital where she'll be continuing her recovery.

And a day after President Bush visited war wounded, the war wounded being treated here in the United States, we'll talk to a military doctor about the healing process when troops come home. But now for the very latest from the region, let's go to my colleague, Daryn Kagan. We find her again in Kuwait City -- Daryn.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, a very breezy Kuwait City this evening. Judy, good to see you once again. Now that Saddam Hussein's regime has been toppled, coalition forces are intensifying their search for weapons of mass destruction. Soldiers found a suspected chemical warhead at an Iraqi air base in northern Iraq, but they got conflicting test results on whether the warhead has traces of a nerve agent.

Syria today denied that it's helping hide Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or sheltering leaders or Iraq's former regime. Former minister -- Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Shara says that the allegations come from fanatic circles in the Bush administration. In Baghdad, Marines ran from tree to tree as a gun battle erupted near the Palestine Hotel.

Looting and general disorder remain the rule inside the Iraqi capital, where Iraq's top scientist today delivered himself to U.S. troops. The surrender of Amir Al-Saadi came as mob of looters continued to roam through parts of Baghdad. Our Rula Amin is standing by with the latest from the Iraqi capital. Rula, hello.

RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Daryn. Amir Al-Saadi is the first high Iraqi officer that we know of who has turned himself in so far in Baghdad. He went and spoke to first, before he went and turned himself in, he spoke to a German television crew and he told them that even as he is turning himself in, he's still maintaining Iraq's line that Iraq doesn't have weapons of mass destruction. Al- Saadi is British-educated, he's very well-spoken. So many times he headed the Iraqi team that dealt with the U.N. weapons inspectors, and so many times he defended the regime's line, Iraq doesn't have weapons of mass destruction and it's not trying to acquire them. This is significant, the fact that he came ahead on his own, is very significant, because so far, we haven't seen such moves from any Iraqi official, even on the level of ministers. Saddam Hussein, his two sons and most of his aides and his ministers have just disappeared, and we don't know anything about them.

So this move came as a surprise for many Iraqis, and now they're wondering, are there going to be more officials turning themselves in?

At the same time today, we do know that the Marines here today had to fight back when two gunmen shot at a U.S. checkpoint here in Baghdad. They killed one U.S. Marine. The Marines fired back at the gunmen, killing one of them; the other one fled. This caused concern among the Marines here, put them on alarm, especially after the fact that they have found about 40 vests, suicide vests in a school. These were kind of similar to the photographers' vests. They were filled with explosives, with a button to detonate the explosives. And this, of course, was an indication that some people have been trying to carry out more suicide bombings. These vests were professionally made. And more alarming was the fact that there were 100 hangers and only about 40 vests were found. That means some people have those vests now. And we don't know when or where will they use them -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Rula Amin, reporting to us the latest from Baghdad. Thank you. Judy, back to you, for more of INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Thanks, Daryn and we will see you later.

Marines on patrol inside Baghdad today found Iraqi weapons in an unusual place, as well as a potential new source of information about Saddam Hussein. CNN's Martin Savidge has more.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's been a busy day for the Marines. Most days are in Baghdad, but today especially. First of all, the Marines were out this morning, were investigating a school, and there they say they found what is a suicide bomb making or vest bomb making facility.

What I mean by that is that suicide bombers traditionally wear these sort of vests, that they would traditionally pack with high explosives and then carry out their deadly attacks. At this particular school, they found what they said was a fabricating plant where they made the vests that would be used for the attacks; 300 vests were also found inside that facility right here in Baghdad.

And then earlier today, another Marine unit on patrol finds a man who walks up and says he was Saddam Hussein's plastic surgeon. Well, of all people, this man may have a wealth of information, not only about past family members but also about where the regime members that so far have slipped through the fingers of coalition forces may have gone. Right now, he's being interviewed intensely by the intelligence officers with the U.S. Marines to see if he truly knows where those leaders went.

And then, the security situation in Baghdad. Looting still goes on. The Marines are out there in force. So is the U.S. Army. Trying to quell things. But they can only do so much. And here is one of the problems that CNN crews have found going out on the street -- the streets are safe as long as there is a U.S. military presence on that street. But once the convoy goes by and the Marines are gone, well, things change dramatically. One crew went out to an area around the Ministry of Information. They were told that it was safe, that it was secure. When they got there, what they found was a melee going on and they were shot at. So that's the problem with Baghdad these days. You may think it's safe, it may even sound safe and sound, but it is not, by a long shot.


WOODRUFF: All right, that was Marty Savidge. Still ahead, the return of Private Jessica Lynch and the Army hospital that she will be calling home for a while. We'll get a preview from CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, what can Private Lynch expect when she comes here to Walter Reed Army Medical Center later this evening? We'll be talking about her rehabilitation -- Judy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 6:57 a.m. Rescued POW Jessica Lynch is carried aboard a C-17 at Ramstein air base in Germany. She's being transferred to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the Washington area.

7:05 a.m. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks of Central Command says U.S. forces in western Iraq have taken into custody a busload of men. The men were carrying $600,000 and letters offering rewards for killing American soldiers. 8:11 a.m. Marines have searched the University of Baghdad, scene of a huge firefight Wednesday, and found tons of ammunition -- that from CNN's Martin Savidge. He also reports that a man who surrendered to Marines is telling them he performed plastic surgery on Saddam Hussein and his relatives and that he knows where Hussein's family has fled.

9:53 a.m. German TV reports Saddam Hussein's top scientific adviser has surrendered to U.S. forces. General Amir Hamoudi Al-Saadi is one of the 55 most wanted Iraqis, whose pictures have been handed out to U.S. soldiers on playing cards. Later, a military source confirmed that Al-Saadi turned himself in.

11:22 a.m. CNN's Thomas Nybo, embedded with the 173rd Airborne, reports weapons experts were called in to determine if a warhead discovered in an occupied northern Iraqi air base contains chemical agents. Two preliminary tests show trace amount of nerve agent on the warhead.


WOODRUFF: Jessica Lynch's ordeal in Iraq is over, but her recovery has just begun. The rescued POW was carried on a stretcher to a military transport plane in Germany today, where she was headed back to the United States. She will be arriving here in the Washington area in a little over an hour. CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center here in Washington. Elizabeth, hello again.

COHEN: Hello, Judy. Judy, Jessica Lynch is on that transport plane with 49 other war wounded. They will join the 23 wounded service members who are behind me in Walter Reed Hospital. For all of them, but especially for Private Lynch, the recovery won't just be physical, it will also be psychological.


COHEN (voice-over): It's a long list, the list of injuries Jessica Lynch sustained while in captivity in Iraq. She has fractures in her right arm, foot and ankle, and both legs and a fractured disk in her lumbar, or lower spine, according to the military, and she also suffered head lacerations. Lynch had several surgeries in Germany. Doctors put pins and bolts in her broken right arm and in both legs, and they repaired her fractured disc.

COL. DAVID RUBENSTEIN, LANDSTUHL MED. CENTER: Her physicians, her doctors anticipate that Private Lynch will continue to improve with time, although she will require extensive rehabilitative services.

COHEN: And the rehab won't just be physical. Even though she's reportedly in good spirits and is eating and sleeping well, psychologists say there's a mental process all POWs must go through with the help of counselors. It's called decompression in military lingo. COL. BOB ROLAND, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: Oftentimes, there are jumbled memories, or confusing things going on in their mind. And it's important to have them process that information and reintegrate it in a way that helps them to recover. And I suspect that Jessica is going through that process right now.

COHEN: Part of that process means staying away from the spotlight, at least for a while. Psychologists say POWs need to make a slow transition back to the real world.

LT. COL. ELSPERTH RITCHIE, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: When they come from that environment and they go to an environment that there are well wishers and stimuli and lights and sounds, that can just implode upon them. And they can actually become disoriented and confused.

COHEN: Where Jessica Lynch is in the decompression process is not known. What is known, however, is that Americans won't get to see much of their hero, as she starts her road to recovery, a road that won't be easy. But Private Lynch has already proven she knows how to do things that aren't easy.


COHEN: Rehabilitation specialists have told me that with the kind of injuries that Jessica Lynch sustained, her recovery will be a matter of months, not just days or weeks -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

Well, Rear Admiral Donald Arthur is with me now to talk about the treatment that wounded American troops are getting at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He is the commander of that facility. Admiral Arthur, first of all, what sorts of injuries are you seeing? How many troops, Marines are you seeing, and what sort of injuries are you seeing?

REAR ADM. DONALD ARTHUR, NATIONAL NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER: We've seen 64 casualties, most of them have been Marines, but some of them have been Navy folks. One nurse and several corpsmen who are also out there with the Marine Corps. They provide the care on the field. And the injuries really span the gamut from minor injuries, if you can call a broken leg or an arm minor injuries, to very severe, life- threatening injuries.

WOODRUFF: And is there a way to categorize how many at either end, or are they scattered across the spectrum?

ARTHUR: They're scattered across the spectrum.

WOODRUFF: These are in many cases, very young people, many of them just still in their teens or early 20s. How many injuries are you seeing that are what we might call life changing, the loss of a limb, for example?

ARTHUR: Well, certainly the loss of a limb is life changing. I think all of them have had injuries that are life changing. The experience of being injured in combat, coming to a hospital, and for them, the greatest disappointment is leaving their fellow Marines. They have a great sense of loyalty and dedication. And what they want the most, rather than just being whole again, is to be out there with the Marines serving. One of the overarching concerns that the senior people have, especially the officers senior enlisted, is was their leadership good enough to prevent their fellow Marines from being injured.

WOODRUFF: Are any of them going to be in a condition, Admiral Arthur, to go back into the service?

ARTHUR: Oh, absolutely. Most of them, in fact, unless they've had an injury that is severely debilitating, they should be back to full duty.

WOODRUFF: And what sort of services are available for them in the Washington area or when they go back to their home base? Tell us a little bit about what is offered in the way of support for them and for their families?

ARTHUR: They have the full spectrum of services, both at the National Naval Medical Center and at Walter Reed, where most of the Army casualties go. We are what you call tertiary medical centers. We have all the services you can imagine, including state-of-the-art surgery, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic surgery. But really, what's most important to a lot of these Marines and sailors who are coming home to Bethesda is not only their physical rehabilitation, but the mental, the psychological rehabilitation, and returning home. And we work with them very intensively on that. Our staff are especially trained to do that. The most important thing for these Marines is not only to have Marines with them in the hospital to commiserate with, but also to have their families at the bedside. And we've worked diligently to get all of their families with them.

WOODRUFF: And this notion of psychological rehab, you're saying is just important even when the conflict's a relatively short as this one's been?

ARTHUR: Well, it may be relatively short, but if you're injured, you've lost a limb or you've had another serious injury due to combat, none of it is minor, all of it has an effect, an impact both physically and psychologically.

WOODRUFF: We know, Admiral, that President Bush and other high profile members of the Bush administration have been to visit some of the Marines at Bethesda Naval. Tell us a little bit about that. We have a picture here of the president yesterday visiting one young man.

ARTHUR: Yes, I'll tell you, their visits have been very uplifting. The president was there yesterday, gave citizenship to two Marines, and that was quite an emotional ceremony. He visited with all the patients. We have had many members of Congress and Senate come and visit. We've had stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. And the Marines have not wanted for company, I can tell you that.

WOODRUFF: And what about their spirits? You referred to this a moment ago, about some of them feel badly about, they feel they've let their unit down somehow. But in general, how are they feeling?

ARTHUR: I think their spirits are tremendous. You know, our staff has taken such an uplift from them. It's usually the staff that you'd think would treat the psychological needs of the patients. But in fact, the patients have given more to our staff than I think they have received at times. Patients would go from room to room no matter what their injuries, as soon as they can get out of the room, they go to another Marine's room and another and another, just uplifting each other. And it's been really, really heartwarming to see that Marines are a single combat unit, not only on the field but in their hospital beds.

WOODRUFF: And Admiral, as you look at the casualties that have come home and are at Bethesda Naval Hospital now, is this about the number of casualties that was expected? Is it more? Is it less? Is there any way to quantify what's happened?

ARTHUR: Well, we haven't seen all of the casualties, of course. There's still many more in theater. There are some that have been brought to other hospitals here in the United States. We're sad that there has to be a single tragedy, a single patient come to us. But we're gratified that they've gotten excellent care in the field, on the hospital ship, USNS Comfort, en route to the hospital in Landstuhl, Germany and while they've been transported here. I think the care has just been stellar.

WOODRUFF: Well, I know that most Americans view these young men and women as heroes in every sense of the word.

ARTHUR: Indeed they are.

WOODRUFF: Rear Admiral Donald Arthur. He is the commander of the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, next to Washington. And we thank you very much for coming in to talk with us.

ARTHUR: You're very welcome.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it. For much more on Private Jessica Lynch's journey home, you can tune in tonight for a CNN special "The Rescue of Jessica Lynch." That is at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

And question, are there more regime changes, so to speak, ahead in the Persian Gulf? What's next? Some insights into the suspicions among some that the Bush administration is not finished with its military maneuvers in the Gulf region.


WOODRUFF: After Iraq, what's next? Well, that's the question some Democrats in Washington are asking. Among their chief concerns, recent warnings from the Bush administration to Syria. CNN's national security correspondent David Ensor reports.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is Syria next or Iran? What about Saudi Arabia? Building on success in Iraq, senior Democrats fear some in the Bush administration may try to foment change throughout the Middle East.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: I think that Syria's in their crosshairs, as well as Iran. And quite frankly, our Arab "friends."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president's contemplating any other regime changes in the Middle East?

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY: As the president has made very clear, Iraq is unique.

ENSOR: But Democrats are alarmed by a warning to Syria's leaders from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that continuing to allow night vision goggles and other war equipment to enter Iraq would be considered "hostile." And warnings to Syria and Iran both about their weapons programs.

JOHN BOLTON, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE: Now the outcome in Iraq we hope will cause other states in the region, and indeed around the world, to look at the consequences of pursuing weapons of mass destruction.

BIDEN: And the sentence he didn't finish was if they don't, they'll be in for the same treatment. I am absolutely confident that is Secretary Bolton's view. I'm also confident that is not Powell's view. And I'm uncertain as to what the president's view is.

ENSOR: Some fear administration conservatives, like Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, and Deputy Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz, whom critics have taken to calling Wolfowitz of Arabia, seek an American empire in the Middle East, that these men will push the president to threaten force beyond Iraq.

SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Are there any plans to send any U.S. forces into Syria?


REUEL GERECHT, AEI: I don't think anyone in the Bush administration or in what is called loosely the neo conservative movement wants to see an American empire in the Middle East.

ENSOR: Neo conservative allies of Wolfowitz, like Reuel Gerecht say they don't want an empire, but they do want real change in the region.

GERECHT: I think there is a general recognition, certainly 9/11 crystallized it, that the Middle East politically is dysfunctional, and that something needs to be done to change fundamentally the way the Muslim Middle Eastern societies politically operate.

ENSOR: Should that change extend to friendly nations like Egypt and Saudi Arabia? Conservatives inside the administration certainly don't say so in public, but one of their allies has. JAMES WOOLSEY, FMR, CIA DIRECTOR: And that we are on the side of those whom you, the Mubaraks, the Saudi royal family, most fear. We are on the side of your own people.

ENSOR (on camera): In the coming weeks and months, watch for a debate about how much of the Middle East the U.S. should try to shake up. It's a debate in which the president himself has yet to fully show his hand.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: With me now to talk more about White House policy in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is Jonathan Alterman. He is the director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Mr. Alterman, what countries in the region, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, have something to worry about when it comes to this administration's thinking?

JONATHAN ALTERMAN, STRATEGIC INTL. STUDIES CENTER: Well, certainly Iran is on the axis of evil. I was talking to an Iranian government official earlier this week, it's very much on their mind. I think the Syrians are very concerned about what the administration is thinking. I think there are a lot of Saudis who are very concerned about what the administration may intend for Saudi Arabia. So it's not in any one direction. In fact, it's all directions out from Iraq.

WOODRUFF: And what specifically are you picking up? I know you're talking to people inside and outside the administration all the time. What are you picking up in terms of what aggressive step, or however you want to describe it, step the administration might next take?

ALTERMAN: Well, I don't think there's really much of a chance at all that the administration is going to put troops into Syria or troops into any of the states surrounding Iraq. I think really, though, there's a question about what the demonstration of effect of Iraq would look like, what it would mean. The demonstration has talked and the president has talked about using Iraq as a platform through which one can transform the politics of the Middle East. There are a lot of people in the Middle East who find that extraordinarily threatening, and the question, I think, that is going to come up, is what are they going to do to try to preserve themselves, what are they going to do not only to the United States, but also to the prospects of democracy in Iraq.

WOODRUFF: What is the fear, that Iraq could become a democracy? Is that the fear of some of these countries?

ALTERMAN: I don't think people fear that Iraq would become a democracy. I think people fear that the U.S. intends to destabilize these other countries as a way to meet some of its other goals in the region, and the people who are in power in these countries are very threatened. They also say that the U.S. can't be serious, because if these countries were more democratic, they'd be more anti-American that the governments currently are, so they think there's something sort of fishy going on, and they are very, very skeptical of what the U.S. intends in Iraq and also what it intends more broadly

WOODRUFF: How much of this has been thought completely through at this point by the Bush administration? You got the sense from listening to David Ensor's report that there's still an internal debate just as we saw going into the war in Iraq?

ALTERMAN: In my judgment they thought it through, but they haven't really worked it out with people in the region. One of the characteristics of this whole theory that many in the administration espouse is that people in the Middle East will act a certain way without really working with the people in the region. There don't seem to be a lot of regional partners involved. There are no individuals that you can identify who would want to work for this plan. And that seems to me what's missing from the administration plan is who are the agents to make it happen, who are the people you're going to work with? We understand who the administration doesn't want to work with, but who are they going to want to work with, and what do you do to make those people want to cooperate with you? That's a little unclear to me still.

WOODRUFF: And finally, and perhaps the most important question is, what about the Middle East peace process? How important is getting that back on track to whatever happens anywhere else in the Gulf, in the Middle East?

ALTERMAN: Well, certainly, when I speak to secular liberals in the Middle East, they tell me that the U.S. not being involved in the peace process makes their job harder, makes them feel more isolated, makes them feel like they can't do anything that's attached to the U.S., and they certainly hope the U.S. will be more involved. I think more of the pressure, though, is really going to be coming from our European allies, who are going to say, if you want us to be more involved in reconstructing Iraq, you're going to have to be much, much more involved in the peace process. We've seen that already from the British. I think we're going to start seeing it from the French, the Germans and others.

WOODRUFF: Very interesting. Jonathan Alterman is the director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Mr. Alterman, thank you very much for coming in to talk to us.

ALTERMAN: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Coming up at 6 p.m. Eastern, 3:00 Pacific here on CNN, a special report on the fall of Iraq. How did it all happen? We'll examine the coalition's war strategy and how it was carried out. Join CNN's Miles O'Brien at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Right now a check of the headlines.


WOODRUFF: And still to come, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations makes some somewhat surprising comments now that Saddam Hussein's government has disappeared. The story when we return.


WOODRUFF: A reminder, Jessica Lynch coming back to the United States within the hour. Tonight, a special on the rescue of Jessica Lynch. That's at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 5:30 Pacific.

Well, after many trying months of defending Saddam Hussein, Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri finally said the game is over. Now, his tenure at the United Nations is over, too. Last night before leaving the United States, Aldouri said he hopes to see free elections in a free Iraq. CNN's Richard Roth has more on this once prominent frontman for the Iraqi regime.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last time Iraqi's U.N. ambassador addressed the Security Council, the U.S. ambassador walked out in protest.

MOHAMMED ALDOURI, IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO U.N. (through translator): What happened is that the Iraqi army up until now has not confronted the United States forces.

ROTH: But now, it's the Iraqi ambassador's time to leave, the United States.

ALDOURI: The game is over. I hope that peace will prevail, and that the Iraqi people at the end of the day will have a peaceful life.

ROTH: Mohammed Aldouri spent more years as a university professor than as a diplomat. In New York, he briefed people interested in his country, recently a group of Lehigh University students. But he never got comfortable in the media glare before and especially during the war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you weren't...

ALDOURI: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has happened with you? Please, why did you come here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we thought...

ALDOURI: Tomorrow, I will see you in the U.N.

ROTH: And at the U.N., all ambassadors carry out their instructions whether they agree with them or not.

JUAN GABRIEL VALDES, CHILEAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Well, I think that he had a very, very difficult task. He defended the positions of his country with courage, I would say.

JEREMY GREENSTOCK, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: He's a decent man, and I hope he finds a decent life representing a decent government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aldouri is a dear friend of mine.

ROTH: Aldouri also drew support from opponents of the war a gift of paper cranes. But on the eve of Aldouri's departure, women representing the Daughters of the American Revolution passed by, wanting to let fly with something else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I had eggs, I would like to throw eggs at him.

ROTH: U.N. diplomats don't toss eggs, just nods. Several months ago, the U.S. ambassador, John Negroponte, and the Iraqi ambassador almost locked eyes. And forget about Kuwait.



ABULHASAN: Not one word, except a normal greeting of, "Hello, how are you?"

ROTH: That was as close as residents of New York's Upper East Side district got to know Aldouri, who kept a low profile, like many in the big city. It's a neighborhood you wouldn't expect the diplomatic post of an enemy government to turn up.

ALDOURI: I am very thankful for the people of New York, for their generosity. This is a very decent people. I was really -- without talking about the problem in Iraq, I was really happy to be here in New York, within the people of New York.

ROTH: Aldouri was worried most about the people of Iraq.

ALDOURI: When I see, what I've seen, what you see, my heart squeezes blood.

ROTH: Aldouri was in better spirits as he departed for the airport with a final message.

ALDOURI: I hope that the United States Army will leave Iraq soon, and we will have free election for a free government for a free future for Iraq and the people for Iraq. This is my message to you, to the people of the United States.

ROTH: The ambassador's prime concern now: his family in Iraq. One day he hopes to teach again back home.

Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.


WOODRUFF: We'll try to track his progress and see if he's able to do that, Ambassador Aldouri.

Still ahead, looters cast about for new places to loot, and chaos is king in Baghdad. We'll have a report.



JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) ... if only we could have Saddam to come back. Every day we will remember Saddam. American officials remember something different. They say that through history, people long denied freedom have always gone too far at first, and that order will be reestablished in Iraq soon enough.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF STATE: If you go from a repressive regime that has -- it's a police state, where people are murdered and imprisoned by the tens of thousands, and then you go to something other than that, a liberated Iraq, you go through a transition period.

BRIG. GEN. VINCENT BROOKS, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: At no point do we see becoming a police force. What we see is taking actions that are necessary to create conditions of stability.

MANN: Is it just matter of perspective or position? Some people in Iraq are seeing their corner of the country up close while officials in Washington are a long way away.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it has to be understood in context of people who have been oppressed who are reacting to the oppression.

MANN: The Pentagon says the media are overstating the problem and that coalition troops are working to restore order. They point to the southern city of Basra, which fell first to British forces and then into its own hours of anarchy. Friday, U.S. and British officials said Basra was calm, and Baghdad would soon be calmed, too. In Basra itself, though, even on Friday, it was clear the looting had caused some people to lose confidence in their liberators.

DR. SAFWAN TAH, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE: We definitely wanted a change for the best. What's happened since the alliances forces came in is a change for the worse. Much, many worst. We used to be safe, we used to have water. We used to have -- that didn't mean that we liked the regime, but we were feeling more or less more human.

MANN: The administration also points to another fact, television's frequent repetition of individual images and incidents. The Pentagon says they don't reflect reality.

RUMSFELD: The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over and over and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase. You see it 20 times. You think, my goodness, were there that many vases? Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?

MANN: It's more, though, than just a debate about images and impressions. Under the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. has a duty to maintain public order and safety now that it's pushed the regime from power. But U.S. troops are in a bind, trying to find the middle ground between a power vacuum and an overbearing presence, between protecting themselves and protecting the people under their control. KEN BACON, REFUGEES INTERNATIONAL: These soldiers do have a lot to do. They have to protect themselves, they have to carry out military tasks. I argue that we need more soldiers on the ground right now in order for them to follow their military orders and tasks on the one hand and create security for civilians on the other hand.

MANN: TV pictures can be more important than the truth. Whether or not there's a widespread security problem in Iraq, images spread around the world, and especially the Arab world, are not something the administration can easily ignore.

(on camera): Pentagon officials say they plan to now ask other countries to contribute police and security forces for the job in Iraq. Something the Pentagon says it had always planned to do, but defense officials say they had to wait until the fighting between soldiers was over.

Jonathan Mann, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: It sure did look us to like there were a number of empty buildings in Baghdad and other cities, but we shall see.

Still ahead, surgery in the middle of the desert. Our Sanjay Gupta shows us how it is done.


WOODRUFF: One of the toughest jobs in Iraq right now is that of the military doctor. CNN medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has been traveling with the Devil Docs throughout the war and now they are close to Baghdad.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Each of these bangs and explosions comes with a story. Some we'll never know. For others, the stories can be seen in their injuries.

Nobody knows these stories better than the Devil Docs, Naval corpsmen who never look the other way, but rather face what needs to be done without flinching. They are often the first faces the injured see, be they Iraqi or coalition force members. Even while statutes were coming down and there was dancing in the streets, the consequences of continuing firefights are seen here. The work of the Devil Docs is by no means over.

The Navy has set up a helicopter landing zone just a 100 meters from a mobile operating room, just on the outskirts of Baghdad. This is the closest front line surgical company. Corpsmen quickly take patients by ambulance away from the blowing sand to a triage tent. It is there the doctors begin their work.

Over 45 minutes as we watched, 32 patients were delivered here, evaluated and nine operations started; 29 of those delivered, Marines involved in a firefight in the center of Baghdad. Their stories could be seen in the shrapnel wounds of rocket-propelled grenades and bullet wounds from semi-automatic weapons. The operations are on their hands, abdomen and face. Two of the Marines, too far gone. For many of the survivors, that news is the most difficult to handle. Along with the medical care, hands are held, spirits are lifted.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN with the Devil Docs outside Baghdad.



WOODRUFF: The liberation of Iraq has allowed Iraqi citizens to search for loved ones missing for years. CNN's John Vause reports on the search for victims of the Iraqi regime.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside the Basra headquarters of the Mukhabarat (ph), Saddam's secret police, the Iraqis anybody could be locked away here, punishment for a crime, or simply on suspicion of disloyalty to the ruling Baath Party. It's believed that some were imprisoned for years, in cells covered in filth with no windows or light. Others were kept in cages. And here, the locals tell us, Saddam Hussein's loyal deputies carried out their torture sessions. There is little chance it will ever be known how many were kept in these dark, dank, miserable conditions, but judging by the crowds that had gathered outside, thousands were hoping to find some trace of a missing relative or friend. For years, there were rumors of tunnels and cells located deep under these buildings, and through Basra word had spread in recent days that maybe some of those taken prisoner were still alive, their cries for help had been heard.

MAJ. LINDSAY MACDUFF, BRITISH ARMY: We're receiving a huge amount of information from people who have either been in the cells and tortured as well, saying that they know where these underground cells are. Clearly, we've brought them in and asked them to show us where these cells are. But sadly, none of them have been able to find more than the cells we've already found.

VAUSE: Finding anything inside these buildings which have been repeatedly hit by coalition air strikes was never going be to easy.

(on camera): The British have searched these buildings for four days looking for those underground tunnels and cells, but they found nothing. So now they're pulling out, and the locals will continue what the British commander here calls "a desperate search with little hope for success."

(voice-over): They virtually stormed the headquarters. Some came ready to dig, others sifting through old documents, looking for clues. This man came to find his brother, arrested nine years ago, he says, and never told why. While another came looking for his cousin, missing for a dozen years. It was a familiar story throughout this crowd, but now finding nothing, they all shared the same miserable disappointment. John Vause, CNN, Basra.


WOODRUFF: Such a heartbreak. Well, that's it for this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us. Now a look at the hour's top headlines.



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