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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Pentagon to Release Pictures of Uday and Qusay's Bodies

Aired July 23, 2003 - 19:08   ET

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have some new information just coming in from the Pentagon. The Pentagon, of course, earlier today decided to release photos of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons.
With more on this late breaking story let's go to senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that today on Capitol Hill that the Pentagon, after some considerable deliberation, would release photographs of Uday and Qusay Hussein in order to convince a skeptical Iraqi public they were, in fact, killed in that raid yesterday.

Now, the photographs, according to officials who have seen them, show head shots of the two after the -- in the aftermath of the attack. The -- both of them are pretty badly shot up.

The photographs do show that both of them apparently altered their appearance in growing more facial hair. Qusay has a beard and so does Uday. Uday also has a shaved head in the photographs, which are quite graphic. And they are going to be released sometime soon.

In addition, there is what appears to be some kind of an exit wound on the back of Uday's head. Some people have suggested that perhaps that shows that he may have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But the official I've talked to who has seen the photographs said he's not at all sure that the evidence is anywhere near conclusive on that.

But people will get a chance to see them themselves when the Pentagon releases photographs. Although we're not entirely sure these are the photographs they'll release, there is an autopsy going on on both bodies and it's possible after the bodies are somewhat cleaned up they may be re-photographed and those kind of photographs will be released instead. So we'll just have to wait and see.

But again, the Pentagon has decided to release photographic evidence that would, they hope, show conclusively that both Uday and Qusay were killed.

COOPER: All right. Jamie McIntyre, appreciate the new information. That's the first time we've heard descriptions at least of the photographs. We've just have to wait and see them for ourselves.

Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, thanks.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson joins us from Mosul.

Nic, why did U.S. forces decide to kill Uday and Qusay instead of capturing them? Or did they decide? Did it just happen?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, General Sanchez said that the operation was to kill or capture. Those were the orders that the officers here on the ground were operating under.

They tried to capture them by announcing that they'd come to the building, telling them to come outside of the building. That didn't happen. There was a gun battle that ensued. It was necessarily escalated by the U.S. forces because they were -- Uday and Qusay were barricaded inside the building.

And according to General Sanchez, the efforts of the commander in the field were completely concurrent with his orders and they found it ultimately necessary to kill them rather than capture, because they were barricaded in and kept returning such intense fire. That's what General Sanchez said earlier, Anderson.

COOPER: Yesterday, Nic, we saw pictures of euphoria in the streets. What's the feeling today?

ROBERTSON: I think there's still euphoria in some areas. This is an area, quite perhaps a Ba'athist area, where there would be support or formerly would have been a lot of support for Saddam Hussein.

That's what we saw here earlier this morning. People criticizing the U.S. troops for killing them, saying why did they kill them? They didn't need to. These two men weren't going to come back to power.

But I think that if one looks broadly across the majority of Iraqis throughout the whole country, the majority feeling is that the country is better off without these two people.

There certainly are questions, though, about why it was necessary to kill them. Some people saying, look, we're Iraqis; we cannot condone killing other Iraqis -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Nic Robertson in Mosul. Thanks very much, Nic.

With Saddam Hussein's dead U.S. officials say they have reached a turning point in efforts to suppress remnants of Iraq's old regime. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saddam Hussein's sons were responsible for torture, maiming and murder of countless Iraqis. Now more than ever all Iraqis can know that the former regime is gone and will not be coming back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, if, in fact, U.S. forces have reached a turning point in Iraq what lies ahead. That's one of the questions we're going to put now to Samuel Berger, President Clinton's national security adviser.

Mr. Berger, thanks for being with us.

First of all, let's talk about these photos of Uday and Qusay Hussein. Do you think it's a good idea, important to release them?

SAMUEL BERGER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I think it's probably a good idea to release them in some form to convince the Iraqi people, who are it deeply suspicious of these things, that they are dead, that they are gone, and that they're not coming back.

COOPER: You have released a report today in which you say -- I'm going to put this on the screen for our viewers to see -- quote, "The administration must be honest with the American people about the costs and risks involved" -- you're talking about Iraq -- "tens of thousands of military personnel, between $178 billion and $245 billion over the next five years, and years of effort."

You say the administration must be honest. Do you think they're being dishonest now?

BERGER: Well, I think that there hasn't been a full discussion with the American people about what is involved here and a very, very long and difficult road ahead. Both with respect to security, which is costing $4 billion a day, and with respect -- a month, and respect to reconstruction.

We have to prevail here. We have to stay the course. But that's going to be long and expensive and the American people need to understand that clearly.

COOPER: I have to ask you a little bit about this continuing controversy about the president's State of the Union address. The deputy national security adviser has taken responsibility for his part in that.

Do you accept that explanation? I mean, you worked in the White House. You know how these State of the Union addresses get put together. Have you heard all you need to hear? Are you ready to move on?

BERGER: Well, Steve Hadley, the deputy national security adviser, is enormously dedicated and capable public servant and I believe what he said, which is that this was a screw up on his part.

But there is, I think, a larger question here that does need to be cleared up. As to whether or not there was a kind of a hurry up offense here with respect to the war, that perhaps precluded us gaining the kind of allies that we could have used in the war, certainly could use in the peace.

So I believe there still are questions that need to be answered, although I think the central question we need to remain focused on is what's happening in Iraq, how we get other countries to join us so that we're not so disproportionately carrying the burden.

COOPER: And you see a role for the U.N.?

BERGER: I think that -- right now we're 93 percent of this force. We're almost 100 percent of the casualties. This is in my judgment, even with the very important development yesterday, it's going to take a long time. And it's going to be hard to sustain if we're by ourselves.

And therefore what I would encourage the president to do is to shift here to a U.S. commanded, NATO-led, U.N. endorsed force. That would enable the Europeans to come into this, it would enable the Indians to come into it and other countries so we would not be carrying 93 percent of this load.

I think that's going to be a difficult burden over the long haul and I think that we've got to organize ourselves for the long term.

COOPER: All right. Samuel Berger, appreciate you joining us. We're going to end it there. Thank you very much.

BERGER: Thank you.

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