CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Live Report from Pentagon Updating War Progress
Aired April 5, 2003 - 06:25 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are just over a half-hour away from the next briefing in this part of the world from CENTCOM, but in anticipation of that let's go ahead and check in with our Kathleen Koch, who is doing overnight duty at the Pentagon.
Kathleen -- hello.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Daryn.
Well, you know, this building is populated with realists, and military officials here keep saying the worst is yet to come. But still, you've got to admit that they are certainly pleasantly surprised at the lack of truly coherent resistance that they're encountered thus far in Baghdad.
Southwest of the city, though, army units are still lurking to solidify their hold on Baghdad Airport. Marine forces advanced to the southeastern outskirts of the city almost as part of this strategy to throw a loose cordon around Baghdad, letting civilians and humanitarian aid pass through, while squeezing the die-hard supporters of Saddam Hussein into ever-shrinking sections of the city.
The Pentagon's No. 2 military officer says that the plan is on track.
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GEN. PETER PACE, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: It's really a matter of timing between our air power and our ground power. We will not pause. We will continue, as we have for the last 13 or 14 days, to use a combination of airstrikes, very precise airstrikes, and then ground maneuver. So there is not going to be a waiting period. We will continue to take the fight to the enemy, both in the air and on the ground.
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KOCH: The Pentagon remains concerned, though, that the Iraqi regime could still resort to chemical or biological weapons, and then there is also that issue of hidden caches of weapons or tanks that they have found already on the road to Baghdad in cities tucked in places like schools and mosques and hospitals. They expect that same tactic could be used in Baghdad.
Back to you.
KAGAN: Kathleen, a couple of questions for you. First of all, when the rescue took place of American POW Jessica Lynch, there were 11 bodies found in that same room where she was. I understand there's news of eight of those bodies, and it's very sad news for some American families.
KOCH: Quite sad news. Nine of those 11 bodies were identified as Americans. They were taken to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where we've now learned that eight of them have been conclusively identified, seven of them as members of the 507th Maintenance Company that was with Jessica Lynch, the former POW, when they were ambushed on March 23 near Nasiriya. And then one of those soldiers also being identified was with the 3rd Infantry Division, and he was missing from Fort Stewart, Georgia -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Kathleen Koch at the Pentagon. Kathleen, thank you so much for that.
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