- (AP) -- US officials underestimated the strength of resistance
in Iraq by Saddam Hussein supporters and have done other "stupid things"
there, Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said today.
- "Some conditions were worse than we anticipated,
particularly in the security area," said Wolfowitz, the second-ranking
official at the Pentagon, who returned yesterday from a five-day tour of
- He named three: First, no Iraqi military units "of
significant size" defected to the American side during the war.
- "Second, the police turned out to require a massive
overhaul," Wolfowitz said at a Pentagon news conference.
- "Third, and worst of all," he said, was the
underestimation of resistance.
- The admission of mistakes by Wolfowitz was a departure
from efforts by President George W Bush's administration to put events
in Iraq in a positive light.
- Many Iraqis also expect the impossible from the Americans,
- "Sometimes it's nice to have the reputation for
being almost godlike, but, frankly, I think it produces this phenomenon
that if something isn't happening, it must be because the Americans don't
want it to happen, and they begin to invent the most elaborate reasons
to explain it," Wolfowitz said.
- "And the fact is - you know it - we often just make
mistakes. We do stupid things."
- Separately, the head of the US-led occupation force in
Iraq said he plans to have electricity, water and health care back to pre-war
levels in two months.
- Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority
in Iraq, said his plans also call for 1,000 Iraqi schools to be rehabilitated
and millions of revised textbooks - without Saddam's Baath Party ideology
- to be given to students by fall.
- Bremer presented his plans to Bush and members of Congress
earlier this week and to reporters at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
- "The plan sets out ambitious timetables and clear
benchmarks to measure progress and practical methods for achieving results,"
Bush said in a White House appearance with Bremer and Defence Secretary
Donald H Rumsfeld today.
- Rebuilding Iraq's economy will take at least three years
and billions of dollars, Bremer said. Enhancing Iraq's electricity and
water systems to meet its citizens' needs will cost an estimated $US13
billion ($20 billion) and $US16 billion ($24.6 billion), respectively,
- "That's obviously a lot of money, even in Washington,"
Bremer said. "I do believe the American taxpayer will almost certainly
be asked to send more money so we can consolidate the rebuilding of Iraq."
- But Bremer said it was impossible to tell yet how much
the US share of the bill would be. The World Bank is assessing the situation
and will come up with a cost estimate before an international conference
in October, when countries will pledge money to help in the reconstruction
- Both Bremer and Wolfowitz said they believed security
in Iraq will improve with yesterday's deaths of Saddam's sons, Uday and
- Both also warned that the attacks on US forces won't
end completely, however.
- "As long as we're going to have forces on the ground
in Iraq, we are going to have attacks, and we are going to have casualties,"
- Bremer said his plans call for having a battalion of
the new Iraqi army trained at the end of 60 days.
- He said he hopes to have eight battalions of a new Iraqi
civil defence corps trained in two months, as well as restoring an Iraqi
border guard, reopening a police academy and training judges for a new
criminal court system.
- Elections could be held in Iraq as soon as next year,
but that timetable depends on how quickly Iraqis can decide on a new constitution,
- A protester briefly disrupted Bremer's National Press
- "Bremer, you're a liar!" the man shouted before
being hustled out of the room by a security guard.
- "If he tried that in Iraq three months ago, he'd
now be dead," Bremer said.
- Copyright 2003 News Limited.