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U.N. Considers Sending Peacekeepers to Iraq
Aired August 28, 2003 - 19:13 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR: Talk about Iraq a bit. A top U.S. diplomat is suggesting the Bush administration is now considering ways of introducing a U.N. resolution to support a multinational force into Iraq.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says several ideas are being explored. The U.S. wants the U.N.-backed force under American command but U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says there are some hurdles to be overcome first.
CNN's Michael Okwu has the latest details.
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No final decision has been made, and no draft resolution is on the table, but Bush administration officials have been talking to Security Council nations about a U.N. multinational force for Iraq under a U.S. commander.
PHILLIP REEKER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We keep looking at ideas, exploring some of these ideas that are out there, exploring language.
OKWU: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan made the suggestion last week and it's been done before. U.N. forces worked under a U.S. commander in Somalia, over a decade ago.
U.S. officials say they'd like to move slowly, build consensus, but diplomats say consensus will be unlikely without U.S. concessions on political and economic power. That's a must from France and Germany.
Today, the Russian ambassador said he'd like to see a timetable for the end of U.S. occupation in Iraq before discussing the issue of security. It's a notion quietly picking up steam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States will have to come to the United Nations with an open mind of what the role of the United Nations is.
OKWU: And some countries are beginning to have the same tune on this. Pakistan and India say they're willing to send troops, so long as the United Nations has a vital role in shaping Iraq's political future. For his part, the Spanish ambassador, never for a loss of words, simply said the Americans are showing us a lot of ideas, we like the music they're playing, we just need to see the lyrics -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Michael Okwu, thanks very much from the U.N.
Some figures to tell you about. Talking about the rebuilding of Iraq.
Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney has won more than $1 billion in Iraq-related contracts, but profits for the company are fairly small. As of August 15, Halliburton has made more than $1 billion from logistics support of the military, and as of August 22 the company has made $705 million for repairing Iraqi oil fields.
In Baghdad today, there's mounting evidence of the lawlessness. It is the bodies of the victims, many of them not of war but of mushrooming crime. And as CNN's Ben Wedeman reports, the bodies are piling up.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nowhere is the agony of Baghdad more apparent than here.
The body of anyone who has died an unnatural death in the city is brought to the forensic institute for an autopsy. Doctors say before the war, around 10 percent of the bodies they saw had gunshot wounds. Now that figure has jumped to 80 percent.
Violence is now commonplace, says the institute's director.
DR. FAIK AMIN BAKIR, DIRECTOR, BAGHDAD FORENSIC INSTITUTE: Before the war, if you hear fire and shooting here or there, I mean, it was an unusual situation. But now, you hear shooting here, firing there, and nobody cares.
WEDEMAN: The murder rate has soared.
The reconstituted Baghdad police force is being trained to launch a counteroffensive, but that takes time and as time passes more people die.
The stench of death hangs heavy in the courtyard outside the morgue. It clings to your clothing, sticks to your skin.
By the time relatives can locate and retrieve the bodies of their loved ones -- and it can take days, even weeks in the disorder that is Baghdad -- decomposition is well underway.
The brothers of Brana Falabi (ph) carry away her body. They say a gang of thieves murdered her and 11 other family members, including young children. Brana's (ph) uncle, Rashid, blames their deaths on what he calls the indifference the American troops who control Baghdad and on Saddam Hussein, who released tens of thousands of convicts before the war.
And like many here, is beginning to wonder if things weren't so bad during the bad old days of Saddam.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Baghdad.
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