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Photos of Husseins Important Step to Gaining Peace in Iraq

Aired July 24, 2003 - 11:26   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: On the phone with us, as he has been for some time now, retired Major General Don Shepperd, our military analyst.
And, General Shepperd, how convincing is this evidence to you?

MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, you see the problem looking at photos and the fact that they don't really settle the issue. They're one step of settling the issue with the Iraqi people. But those of us that have been around people who have involved in horrific accidents in wartime, dead bodies don't look like live bodies. And so it sets off as many questions as it does solves. When you see bodies torn apart, there's a lot of bruising, there's a lot of swelling.

Again, just not something that totally settles it, but in the minds of the Iraqi people, they basically wanted to see that this was a true strike, and that there were dead people as a result of it. So Ambassador Bremer, I believe, was the major factor in deciding if the right thing to do was release the pictures.

HARRIS: We believe there could be some questions in some particular skeptical mind after seeing the condition of these bodies. What should come out next, do you think, to further nail it down?

SHEPPERD: Again, I think forensic evidence examination. The X- rays are very important. Remember the 1996 assassination attempt on Uday. Basically a German surgeon put a metal rod in his leg, there's all kinds of medical records of that. The DNA is very important. And all of that, given to the Iraqi Governing Council, and other responsible authorities to spread that word over time that people will be convinced.

HARRIS: Let me ask you something else, General. it just occurred to me that if we're watching these photos so is Saddam Hussein if he's still moving around within Iraq. What do you think is likely going on or could be happening with him in terms of his planning and maybe his plans of moving around and staying hidden here after now having sat down and watched pictures of his two dead sons on international television?

SHEPPERD: Well I hope he's watching them, and I hope he's feeling the sorrow that he brought to the nation and to other people by seeing his own sons dead. I normally don't wish people ill, but he's on the top of my list of wishing ill to. I think this guy is on the lam, I think he's probably scared, I think he knows that his day is coming. I don't think there are many places outside of Iraq that he can go where he would welcomed and sheltered. And so I think it is a matter of time before we find him and I fully suspect in the end that we'll see the same results. We'll offer him the opportunity to come out and surrender, i doubt that he'll accept it. So I think we can expect to see some of these other things and hopefully very soon, Leon.

HARRIS: General Shepperd, let me ask you finally before we let you go, what do you these images now that they have been released -- and they are also, we should say, folks, they're being transmitted throughout the region there on the Arabic news, Arabic language news networks right now. General, perhaps some of those who have been fighting this resistance war, this guerrilla war against U.S. and coalition troops are watching these images as well. What do you think is going through their minds or possibly could go through their minds?

SHEPPERD: Yes, I think everybody in Iraq is certainly watching them who can get to a TV. I basically think that there will be an increase in attacks on the short run here. These people will soon be outed as security spreads across the country. I think they probably are feeling that the end is coming in the back of their mind. But they're probably going to fight on as long as possible.

We've got a long time in Iraq to spread security. It's going to take a long time. Our patience is going to be tested, killing of Americans is going to continue and targeted assassination against those cooperating with the coalition is going to continue. So, Leon, we have a tough fight coming. This is just a step in the long journey of bringing Iraq back into the modern world after 35 years under this terrible regime.

HARRIS: Just a step, but it is an important step, nonetheless.

SHEPPERD: Absolutely.

HARRIS: Retired Major General Don Shepperd on the phone with us. Thank you for that, General.



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