View Full Version : Rumsfeld visits Baghdad, thanks troops

04-30-03, 09:57 AM
April 30, 2003

Rumsfeld visits Baghdad, thanks troops

By Matt Kelley
Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, operating out of a palace that once belonged to ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, promised Iraqis on Wednesday the United States is eager to return the country to their control.
“I am delighted to be able to visit Baghdad and your country and witness the liberation of your country,” he said in a message taped for radio and television broadcast in the Baghdad area.

Rumsfeld said coalition forces are committed to helping restore order and basic services for Iraqis and help them form a new government.

He also called on Iraqis to tell coalition solders about former Iraqi officials and foreign fighters who might still be in their neighborhoods.

“Iraq belongs to you,” he said “The coalition has no intention of owning or running Iraq.”

The defense chief met in the presidential palace with Jay Garner, the retired Army general serving as civilian administrator of Iraq until a new government is up and running, as well as with U.S. military commanders.

Garner told reporters Americans should be proud of the quick military victory in Iraq. “I was planning on having the oilfields torched and facing a huge humanitarian crisis, but the oilfields were not torched and there is no humanitarian crisis,” said Garner.

Lt. Gen. David McKernan, commander of the coalition land forces that took Iraq, also drew an optimistic scenario. “For every one thing that doesn’t look right or smell right, there are 10 things going well,” McKernan said.

Rumsfeld planned to visit an electricity generating plant south of Baghdad that coalition forces helped restart after the war. Garner said about half of Baghdad has electricity.

Rumsfeld and his party flew to Baghdad after a stopover in the southern city of Basra where he met with British Maj. Gen. Robin Brims, commander of the forces that gained control of the city, Iraq’s second largest.

“A number of human beings have been liberated and they are out from under the heel of a vicious, brutal regime,” Rumsfeld said prior to his meeting with Brims. “I’m very pleased that the United States and the United Kingdom worked so well together.”

Brims said he, too, was delighted at how well U.S. and British forces worked together.

“There are exceptional capabilities that your military bring that we are very envious of,” Brim said.

The defense secretary’s visit to Iraq came the day after he announced that U.S. troops in neighboring Saudi Arabia will leave that country by the end of the summer, marking a major shift in the American military presence in the Persian Gulf.

The United States will all but abandon Price Sultan air base at a remote desert base south of the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Only about 400 U.S. troops will remain in the Muslim kingdom, most of them based near Riyadh to train Saudi forces, American officials said Tuesday.

Rumsfeld and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan said the pullout is because, with the war won in Iraq, forces are no longer needed to patrol the old no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

About 100 U.S. planes now remain at the Saudi base, down from about 200 during the height of the Iraq war. All will be gone by the end of August.

Part of Rumsfeld’s mission in the Persian Gulf region this week is to talk to American allies about rearranging U.S. military forces in the area after the Iraq war.

The United States also has troops in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait, which Rumsfeld also visited this week, as well as Bahrain and Oman.

The defense secretary has said he wants to have fewer troops in the Persian Gulf after all operations in Iraq are complete. That process could take years, however. Rumsfeld also has said the United States does not want permanent access to bases inside Iraq.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.



Super Dave
04-30-03, 10:25 AM
I was watching Donald Rumsfeld address the troops, he was saying that all branches of the military took part in the victory. He started naming off all of the branches. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, a loud volley of Ohhh Rahhh rang out, as he was saying Coast Guard. He shot a big smile towards the Marines, after the Ohhh Rahhh subsided, he added Coast Guard. We were the ONLY branch to do ANYTHING when our branch was mentioned. Both Rumsfeld and General Franks enjoyed the Marines response.

Ohhh Rahhh