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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Arab World Will Remain Skeptical on Photos

Aired July 24, 2003 - 11:57   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's wrap things up if we can right now with our military analyst retired Major General Don Shepperd who has been listing all of this on the phone. He is in Los Angeles.
General, I want is to ask you if you're listening to the conversation we had here moments ago with the reporter from Al Jazeera expressing basically that there was still going to be doubt about what happened in Iraq in the Arab world. What do you make of that?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Absolutely and I think he's right on the mark. These pictures do not settle the issue.

What you're going to be believing is shaped by your culture, by your beliefs and all sorts of things, by your economic situation. And so you're going to believe in the end whatever you're going to believe despite any of the evidence and the pictures themselves (UNINTELLIGIBLE) doubt as well as certainty to this.

I do think, however, Arabs are very intelligent people and over the time they will understand that basically this regime has come to an end. The important thing is not just the Arab world, but what the people in Iraq need. And that judgment was made by (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Ambassador Paul Bremer, who I think basically fought the battle and said for Iraq or what we need to do in Iraq, we need to release these pictures there and then the Arab world will react over time.

It's going to take a lot of time in Iraq to set things straight, Leon. Took 35 years to set them wrong, going to take a long time to set the right.

HARRIS: All right, so in the meantime here, do you think there's going to be more discussion at the Pentagon about releasing anymore information, any more photographs, any more forensic evidence here while we're waiting to see what the next step in Iraq is going to be?

SHEPPERD: Yes, I think the Pentagon is naturally reluctant to release these photos. On the other hand, it's been done now for overriding reasons. I suspect if we come against Saddam you will see the same debate again but probably the same results. if he ends up dead and there are pictures they'll want those pictures released.

On the other hand, the idea of releasing pictures of dead bodies is basically repugnant to America and to its soldiers. It's not -- it makes us like other people and that's not something we want to do.

HARRIS: Understood. Major General Don Shepperd, retired, thank you very much. Appreciate that insight.

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