U.S. Forces Conducting Raids in Fallujah
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 6, 2004 U.S. forces have been conducting raids in Fallujah and have captured a number of high-value targets, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Norfolk, Va., today.
Rumsfeld and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer held a joint press conference following a seminar at the headquarters for NATO's Allied Command Transformation.
The secretary said Marines have cordoned off Fallujah, a hotbed of anti- coalition activity and the site of the killings and mutilation of four U.S. security contractors March 31. "(U.S. forces) have captured a number of people over the past 36 hours," Rumsfeld said. "The city is isolated. A number of people have resisted and been killed. And it will be a methodical effort to find the individuals who were involved."
Rumsfeld said the Marines will be discriminating. "Clearly, all of the people of the city of Fallujah were not involved in what took place," he said.
The secretary said he will listen to the advice of coalition military leaders in determining whether to add more troops in Iraq. He said he will not second- guess commanders in Iraq from Washington. "Both the president and I frequently ask the military commanders if they have all they need -- if they have what they need not just in people, but equipment and support," Rumsfeld said.
Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Iraq, have the ultimate responsibility for making recommendations to the civilian leaders of the military. "They are the ones whose advice we follow on these things," the secretary said.
About 135,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, due to the troop rotation occurring now. The plan was for some overlap "so that you would end up transferring the knowledge and the situational awareness that's so important," Rumsfeld said.
Commanders are using the excess forces created by the overlap, Rumsfeld said.
"They will decide what they need, and they will get what they need," he said. "At the present time they've announced no change in their plans. But they could make such a request at any time, and needless to say we've asked them periodically if they feel they have the capabilities they need, and that's something that they review on a fairly continuous basis."