8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 2; 2003
Iraqiforces continue to lose
strength as US. moves akead
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Iraqi Republican
Guard units are at less than half their original
strength after days of air and ground attacks by
coalition forces, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff said yesterday.
"We continue to work on them," said Air
Force Gen. Richard Myers. He said Iraqi
commanders have moved some troops around
as reinforcements for the divisions that are
the main force defending Baghdad.
"But some of them have been degraded to pret-
ty low percentages of combat capability - below
50 percent in at least two cases," Myers said.
Appearing with Myers at a Pentagon brief-
ing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
denied that the United States is negotiating an
end to war with Iraq. "The only thing the
coalition will discuss with this regime is their
unconditional surrender," he said.
Myers said serious combat is already under way
against Iraqi forces, and there will be "bigger
pushes that will be under way as soon as we're
ready." But he gave no indication of the timing of
an assault on Baghdad.
Rumsfeld said U.S. and British forces are posi-
tioned around the Iraqi capital from the north,
south and west. "The circle is closing," he said.
The defense secretary said Republican Guard
units "have been taking a pounding" for several
days. "They're being attacked from the air, they're
pressured from the ground, and in good time they
won't be there,"Rumsfeld said.
He said that Saddam Hussein's government had
been planting rumors that U.S. officials were talk-
ing to Iraqi leaders, with the goal of convincing
Iraqi citizens that "the coalition does not intend to
finish the job."
Speaking directly to the Iraqi public, Rumsfeld
denied such rumors and accused Saddam's gov-
ernment of lying.
"There are no negotiations taking place,"
Rumsfeld said. "There is no outcome to this
war that will leave Saddam Hussein and his
regime in power."
Myers launched a spirited defense of the U.S.
military strategy being used in Iraq, which has
been accused of underestimating the extent of
Iraqi resistance and sending in too few ground
troops. Myers said military critics of the plan are
"not being responsible members of the team that
put this all together.... It is not helpful to have
"This subject is not useful," Myers continued.
"It's not good for our troops, and it's not accurate."
He said that Gen. Tommy Franks, commander
of the forces in Iraq, has received everything he
sought in terms of resources and manpower..
U.S. military officials have said that American
forces have enough bombs and missiles for the
Iraq war, despite an intensifying air campaign.
U.S.-led forces launched missiles early yesterday
toward Baghdad and the holy Shiite Muslim city
of Karbala to the southwest. Among the targets,
U.S. officials said, was a complex that serves as
the office of the Iraqi National Olympic Commit-
tee, where Iraqi dissidents say Saddam's son Odai
runs a torture center.
U.S. warplanes used more than 3,000 preci-
sion-guided bombs on Iraqi targets over the
weekend, compared to about 5,000 in the pre-
vious week, said Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrys-
tal of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said
coalition forces had fired more than 700 Tom-
ahawk cruise missiles.
Air Force Secretary James Roche said yes-
terday there was no reason for concern about
running low on the precision-guided bomb he
called the "weapon of choice" in this war, the
satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition
launched by Air Force and Navy planes.
"We don't see a problem there," Roche said
in an interview with a group of reporters.
.. . -
Pfc. Kurt Singer, from Richardton, N.D., who is a driver with 2-70 Armor, surveys a body of an
Iraqi soldier near a bombed out vehicle on a highway just north of the town of Al Kifl, Iraq.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -The Unit-
ed States is withdrawing warplanes from
a Turkish air base that have been used
for patrols over northern Iraq and send-
ing them to the Persian Gulf for the war,
US. officials said yesterday, a sign of the
growing distance between Washington
Secretary of State Colin-Powell is to
meet with Turkish officials today in an
effort to repair the fractured relation-
ship, which has left Washington alien-
ated from NATO's only Muslim
member at a time when the United
States is desperate for support in the
Some U.S. officials are questioning
the usefulness of Turkey as an ally and
point to the country's refusal to allow in
U.S. ground troops to open a northern
front against Iraq, a strategy that both
sides agreed would lead to a shorter, less
Washington began pulling some 50
warplanes out of Incirlik air base in
southern Turkey after it became clear
that Turkey would not allow them to
be used in an Iraq war. The planes had
patrolled northern Iraq since after the
1991 Gulf War.
"The U.S.-Turkish strategic partner-
ship ... has been severely damaged and it
needs repair," said Sami Kohen, a
columnist for the Milliyet newspaper.
The withdrawal of the warplanes -
F-15s, F-16s, EA-6Bs and AWACs radar
aircraft - had been widely expected
after Turkey said the base could not be
used in a war.
The withdrawals began last week and
are expected to continue until later this
week, Maj. Bob Thompson, a
spokesman at Incirlik, said yesterday He
would not be more specific for security
Thompson said some of the aircraft
would be moved to the Persian Gulf,
while others would be sent to their
The 1,400 US. personnel who worked
on the Iraq patrols will be withdrawn
from the base.
A similar number will remain; they
are part of a permanent deployment that
dates back to the Cold War whose work
now includes logistics for US. soldiers
Turkey is also angry at the United
Ankara officials speak bitterly about
how Washington took them for granted
and did not realize how sensitive basing
62,000 U.S. ground troops in Turkey
would have been to a Turkish public
overwhelmingly against war.
The United States can switch to other muni-
tions if it runs low on the $600,000 Toma-
hawks, said Marine Col. Tom Bright of U.S.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, announced that the
number of American troops killed in the war so far
has risen to 46, up three from Monday. Of the
total, 38 are categorized as hostile deaths and eight
The non-hostile category includes troops who
died in accidents, for example. Sixteen service
members are listed as "duty status whereabouts
unknown" - a status similar to missing in action
- and seven are prisoners of war.
The Republican Guard units defending Bagh-
dad include the Medina, Hammurabi and Bagh-
dad divisions south of the capital and units of the
Nebuchadnezzar division, which is normally sta-
tioned far north of Baghdad, which have moved
south as reinforcements.
Soldiers' letters from Ira rin
<'d ,t :j ove ones reassurance, conifort
The Associated Press
The letters arrived regularly from
Marine Cpl. Randy Rosacker.
Some were homemade postcards,
fashioned from empty containers of
prepackaged food. Others were longer,
private thoughts from a son in Kuwait
to a family awaiting his return.
They were his last words. The 21-
year-old from San Diego was killed
March 23 in an " amb6h near
For some, the last letters of those
killed in the War have becdme''a source
of comfort, full of words of love, grati-
tude and reflection. For others, they are
mementos to be shared years from now
when small children have grown or
when somebody asks about a son or
daughter lost in battle.
"They're a gift, I guess," said
Rosacker's father, Navy Command
Master Chief Rod Rosacker of Bre-
merton, Wash. "Something to
remember him by, something to
Most letters are filled with
descriptions of camp life and hor-
rendous sandstorms. Some contain
wishes for CDs and candy. All offer
declarations of love, wishes for
quick reunions and an understand-
iig of the danger ahead.
Rosa Gonzalez said the letters
from her son, Marine Cpl. Jorge
Gonzalez, gave her a sense of peace
and that nothing was left unsaid.
"He didn't hold back anything.
Everything he felt, he would tell
me," she said.
A letter from Gonzalez, 20,
arrived at his parents' Rialto, Calif.,
home two days after his March 23
death. Written in Spanish while he
was still in a desert camp, the letter
contained good news - and a wish.
He had just spoken to his wife by
phone and learned about the birth
of their son.
"If you can wait a little longer,
we'll see each other in summer.
God willing," he wrote.
Looking at the letter with her
son's neat handwriting, his mother
said, "I was waiting for you, my
Letters from Cip. Randall Rosacker including a postcard written on a Meal's Ready
to Eat carton lies on a sofa at his father's Silverdale, Wash., home.
Businesses, citizens of
Baghdad struggle to
continue amid airstrikes
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Huge explosions
shattered the silence across Baghdad early
today, with blasts rocking the center of the
city and a plume of white smoke rising from
the southern end of the Old Palace grounds
in the capital.
More explosions hit Baghdad in the 30
minutes after the first blast at 3 a.m. The Old
Palace, the ceremonial seat of government on
the west bank of the Tigris, is also home to a
camp for Saddam Hussein's vaunted Republi-
The palace, which was rarely used openly
by Saddam, remained a frequent target of the
nightly aerial attacks on the city of 5 million
Explosions and the
wail of air raid sirens "They are rac
have become a staple of.
Baghdad's nights since are indiciii
the campaign began gj]]ing people
with a missile attack on
March 20. a iCivlian pla(
But by day, despite - Mohammec
two weeks of attacks Iraqi Info
and damage to dozens
of local sites and land-
marks, the Iraqi capital
maintains the appearance of a functioning
The targets have varied greatly, from presi-
dential palaces to residential areas and at
least five telephone exchanges. But the city's
power supply remains intact and street lights
come on at night.
The phone exchanges have provided the
city's residents with the most graphic scenes
of destruction. Strewn among the wreckage
are thousands of wires, as well as furniture,
computers, metal cabinets, chairs and the
sponge used to fill in false walls and ceil-
The exchanges were struck in remarkably
accurate hits, taking out the target and large-
ly leaving everything around it intact. Some
homes lost windows or more, but so far there
apparently aimed at Republican Guard units
Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed
Saeed al-Sahhaf said 56 people were killed
and 268 wounded overnight yesterday,
including 24 dead in Baghdad. He said nine
children, including an infant, were killed yes-
terday morning in the town of Hillah, about
50 miles south of the capital.
"They are racist. So they are indiscrimi-
nately killing people," al-Sahhaf said. "Hillah
is my hometown. It is a civilian place."
Some of the attacks, mostly by Tomahawk
cruise missiles, left government buildings
smoldering for a day or two. Others, like one
next to the Planning Ministry, were gutted.
Another notable sight in
st So they the capital is the Al-Salam
presidential palace, a Bagh-
dad landmark because it
flM ..S has four busts of Saddam
,, on each corner of the main
palace building, a square-
Saeed al-Sahhaf, shaped structure with a
nation Minister dome sitting atop. The
busts are visible from the
road, together with a gaping
hole in each side of the
found, army and
WASHINGTON (AP) - American troops yesterday res-
cued Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who had been held as a prison-
er of war in Iraq since she and other members of her unit were
ambushed March 23, the Defense Department announced.
Lynch, 19, of Palestine, W.Va., had been missing with 11
other U.S. soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company.
The unit was ambushed near Nasiriyah after making a wrong
turn during early fighting-in the invasion of Iraq. Five other
members of her unit were later shown on Iraqi television
answering questions from their Iraqi captors.
U.S. troops rescued Lynch near where her unit was
ambushed, said Jean Offutt, a spokeswoman for Fort Bliss,
Texas. The 507th Maintenance is based at Fort Bliss.
Lynch had been listed as missing in action but was identi-
fied by the Pentagon Tuesday as a POW She was not among
the seven U.S. soldiers - including the five from the 507th
shown on television - formally listed as prisoners of war.
Offutt said she did not know whether Lynch had been
wounded or when she might return to the United States.
The rescued soldier's hometown erupted in celebration at
"They said it was going to be the biggest party this road
had ever seen," Lynch's cousin Sherri McFee said as fire and
police sirens blared in the background.
"Everybody was really worried ... but we all remained
hopeful and knew she would be home," McFee said.
Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks at Central Command headquar-
ters in Qatar announced that a U.S. POW had been rescued
but refused to provide any further details.
In a brief statement, Brooks said: "Coalition forces have
conducted a successful rescue mission of a U.S. Army prison-
er of war held captive in Iraq. The soldier has been returned to
a coalition-controlled area."
Central Command officials in Qatar, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said Lynch was rescued from a hospital in Iraq.
Fifteen other Americans are formally listed as missing. The
other POWs include two Army Apache helicopter pilots cap-
tured March 24 after their helicopter went down.
The 507th Maintenance was attacked during some of the
first fighting in Nasiriyah, a Euphrates River-crossing city
where sporadic battles have raged since U.S. troops first
reached it. Troops and military officials have said much of the
fighting there has involved members of the Fedayeen Saddam
and other Iraqi paramilitaries who have dressed as civilians
and ambushed Americans.
Lynch, an aspiring teacher, joined the Army to get an edu-
cation and take advantage of a rare opportunity in a farming
Many of the buildings hit in the air bomb-
ing are still standing. Some may need repairs
to be usable again, others not.
Yesterday, the old headquarters of the Iraqi
air force, which has in recent years been used
as an officers' club, was gone. Nothing
remained except a heap of gray rubble and a,
In addition, U.S. military officials said
allied aircraft bombed a complex that serves
as the office of the Iraqi National Olympic
Committee, where Saddam's son Odai is said
to run a torture center. Human rights activists
have accused him of jailing and brutalizing
athletes who failed to please him.
The lower four floors of the nine-story
Olympic building were severely damaged.
Navy Corpsman Gentry Lloyd of Montgomery, Ala., searches an Iraqi woman as
marines question civilian detainees after an engagement yesterday afternoon.
Navy scours harbor
for underw ater mines
ABOARD THE USS PONCE (AP) - Ships, divers, helicopters and dol-
phins are all here looking for the same thing - mines that are clogging the
waters of southern Iraq and blocking aid shipments.
The first boatload of supplies arrived last week at the strategic southern
port of Umm Qasr, but a naval officer acknowledged Monday that navigat-
ing the surrounding waterways still poses dangers to regular aid convoys.
"There's still a lot of work to do," said Royal Navy Cmdr. Brian Mair, one of the
officers heading up the U.S.-led coalition's mine-clearing efforts. "If you don't want
mistakes and accidents to happen, you have to be slow and methodical."