THIS is what I must have heard

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Posted by Sadie from ? ( on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 at 1:43PM :

For a moment, there, I thought I was going crazy.... Here's the news from yesterday bout vaccines being destroyed in Baghdad, NOT vaccination records. THOUGH, if the hospitals kept patient files/charts on computers & those computers were plundered or the charts on paper were looted, that would be a very bad situation, too. Patient history is crucial, esp. if a child has no parents & can't remember what kinds of immunizations he/she has had.
End of 'Major' Combat, Fall of Tikrit, Anxiety Over Syria

he northern city of Tikrit fell without a battle and American military commanders declared that major fighting in Iraq had come to an end. American forces started to pull out of Iraq and those that remained began a transformation from combat to postwar reconstruction. The work of keeping the peace and forming a new government proceeded slowly, but the victory in Iraq pushed up President Bush's approval ratings at home.

MAJOR COMBAT OVER The Pentagon said that major combat operations in Iraq were over and it began sending some some forces home. Some combat troops are to be replaced by military police officers and civil affairs soldiers.

Air Force officials said the four B-2 bombers that were in the region had already flown home, as had half a dozen F-117 stealth fighters and other warplanes. Navy officials said two aircraft carriers, the Kitty Hawk and the Constellation, had received orders to sail for their home ports. A third aircraft carrier, the Abraham Lincoln, is already on the way home and has been replaced by the Nimitz.

Although they will have to root out remnants of Iraqi forces, troops stationed in Iraq will increasingly assume peacekeeping duties. Other nations may be willing to help. The Netherlands said it might send 600 Dutch Marines to stabilize Iraq.

TIKRIT OVERRUN It was expected to be a fight to the bitter end, but when thousands of marines finally stormed Saddam Hussein's ancestral home, Tikrit, they found empty streets and vacant buildings. Marines entered a lavish presidential compound, one of the grandest of the many palaces that Mr. Hussein had built for himself throughout Iraq.

The opulence of Mr. Hussein's Xanadu stunned Iraqis and Americans alike. Two miles of lush riverfront property with about 90 buildings, all once off limits to the ordinary Iraqis who came by to gape at the extravagance, or to carry off everything that was not cemented down.

Outside the palace, the marines tightened their control of the city, still wondering what had happened to the 2,500 troops loyal to the government that they had expected to encounter. There were a few firefights overnight, but then nothing. "We're not sure where they all went," said Maj. Chris Snyder of the Marines.

TERRORISTS AND SYRIA American intelligence officials said members of Hezbollah, a terrorist group, entered Iraq from Syria in recent days and could threaten a new government backed by the United States. Officials also continued to accuse Syria of taking in members of the former Iraqi government.

Among the Iraqis who American intelligence officials believe have taken refuge in Syria in recent months are scientists trying to avoid questioning by United Nations weapons inspectors. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell warned Syria it could face economic or diplomatic sanctions if it did not stop providing "safe haven" to former Iraqi leaders.

MILITARY AND POLITICAL VICTORY A New York Times/CBS News poll found that Americans overwhelmingly view the war in Iraq as a success, and that has helped push up President Bush's approval rating to 73 percent, compared with 59 percent the week before the war started.

Despite that strong level of support, a majority of Americans remain opposed to a policy of pre-emptive attacks like the one invoked in the invasion of Iraq. And a majority believes that the White House, emboldened by the victory in Iraq, is now more likely to consider attacking North Korea, Syria or Iran.

The poll, taken over the weekend, also found that for the first time a majority of Americans believes that the nation is winning the war on terrorism.

POLICING BAGHDAD To help solidify the return to order in Baghdad, 20 Iraqi police officers patrolled neighborhoods in East Baghdad jointly with marines. They reportedly arrested several looters. It was but a small step toward normality in the sprawling city, and mayhem persisted in many areas. In the Iraqi Health Ministry, vandals ripped out and hauled away the large refrigeration units that held Iraq's entire supply of vaccines against polio, German measles and other childhood diseases.

With criticism mounting over the looting of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, Mr. Powell said the United States would help recover the priceless antiquities and assist in rebuilding the museum.

REMAKING IRAQI POLITICS Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, picked by the Bush administration to run postwar Iraq, flew to Nasiriya for meetings with more than 70 Iraqis and exiles who were invited by American officials to help establish a representative government.

One of the most prominent exiles, Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, will not attend the meeting but will send a representative. American military commanders have not given General Garner the go-ahead to set up his operation in Baghdad because the city is too dangerous.

-- Sadie
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