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DoD News Briefing: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

Presenters: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA
October 28, 1999
MR. BACON: Good afternoon. Sorry for the delay.

As some of you may know, we've just received word that a Blue Angel aircraft has apparently crashed or is down near Moody Air Force Base. The accident took place around 12:30.

QI'm sorry, what air force base?

MR. BACON: A Blue Angel aircraft crashed around Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia -- that's where Moody is -- at approximately 12:30 this afternoon. They were coming in to land, practicing arrival maneuvers, when this happened. We have no other details.

I just did see a report that identified the airplane by number. I hope that you will understand that in situations like this, probably the families have not been notified. The Navy does not yet have a clear picture of what happened. I think it's a time to withhold details until people can be absolutely sure of what happened and who's involved. So it's a time when we require, I guess, attention to detail, and understanding that we should be careful until we know what's right.

I have no other details to give you now, and the Navy will be reporting them as they become available.

QKen, the plane was coming in to crash -- coming in to land at Moody?

MR. BACON: At Moody, yes.

QDid they take off from Pensacola? That's generally where they --

MR. BACON: I don't know where they took off from. I assume. But maybe they -- I don't know where they took off from. The Navy will have all that stuff.

QBut that's where it happened, it was on approach to Moody?

MR. BACON: On approach to Moody, right.

QAnd you don't know whether it crashed in an area where there are homes or --

MR. BACON: I know nothing more than I've told you.

QHow many other aircraft were with it?

MR. BACON: Well, I think it was the -- I don't know whether it was just four or there were more aircraft. The Navy will have all this stuff at the appropriate time.

QBut it was the team?

MR. BACON: It was the team, right.

QAnd we don't know if the pilot ejected?

QWe don't know if -- yeah --

MR. BACON: I have no other details. The Navy will have to provide that as they become available. I mean, obviously, the first imperative is to look after the safety of the pilots, what happened to the pilots, and that's what they've been concentrating on -- search and rescue operations. And other details will be forthcoming later.

QBy pilots, you mean -- it was just one plane, right?

QJust one plane --

MR. BACON: There was one plane. I don't know whether it was one- or two-seat plane. That's one of the things we'll have to find out.

QWhen you say they were practicing an arrival maneuver, does that mean that they were supposed to do a show there?

MR. BACON: I think they were going to do a show on the weekend. I mean, they generally practice ahead of time.

QKen, Iraq has claimed to have shot down an American plane again today. Do you have any information on that?

MR. BACON: All the information I have says that that statement is false.

Let me start with a couple of other announcements.

First, we do have some international visitors from Romania, who are here as part of Freedom House's international visitors program. We welcome you. I think you're here. Romanians there? Yes. One visitor?

QThree.

MR. BACON: Good. Welcome.

A couple of announcements about Africa, and then an announcement about Russia, and then we'll go into the briefing.

The U.S. amphibious ship U.S.S. Carter Hall, with Marines and a Coast Guard mobile training team, will participate in a West African training cruise from the 31st of October until the 30th of November. They'll be stopping at a number of ports, including Cape Town. That's where they start. They'll go to Walvis Bay, Namibia; Lagos, Nigeria; Tema, Ghana; Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, as part of an effort to expand our military-to-military relationships with African navies. And they'll have exercises on oil-spill policing, medical training, and also a number of events called Project Hand Clasp, under which the Navy delivers food and clothing that's been donated by American companies. And as I say, this'll be going on for a month.

Earlier today Secretary Cohen had a very good meeting with the new president of Nigeria, President Obasanjo. One of the things that President Obasanjo requested was that we provide training or assistance to Nigeria in teaching them how to create a civilian-controlled military. As you know, President Obasanjo was elected democratically to replace a military regime in Nigeria. And we will be working, we have been working with the Nigerians to come up with a list of their needs and ways that we can respond to their needs, and there'll be more on that as time continues.

Also next week, November 1st the new Africa Center for Strategic Studies, which we've set up to encourage democracy in Africa, will hold its first seminar in Senegal. And that will last I think for 12 days. And this is a seminar that will deal with such things as democratic civil-military relations, national security strategy, and defense economics, how to support defense establishments. Representatives from 43 African countries will be there, along with six African (sic) [European] countries.

Also on November 1st, we will open up a new center called the Security Assessment and Training Center outside of Moscow in Sergiev Posad, Russia. And this is part of the cooperative threat reduction program that is set up to help the Russians reduce their nuclear arsenals under the START agreement and also to secure their existing arsenals. And this center will concentrate on developing and distributing, installing security technologies and procedures to help improve both internal and external security of nuclear weapons in Russia. This is obviously an important initiative that we've been working on for some time. Secretary Cohen visited Sergiev Posad in January of 1998. Some of you might have been there. They had a demonstration of how they transport nuclear weapons and components in rail cars and other ways, how they transport them safely.

And with that -- .

QAnd the dollar figure associated with that?

MR. BACON: We'll get you a dollar figure. I don't have it at the tip of my tongue or on my brief. We'll get it for you.

QHow many people -- is this a little bitty thing, three people in an office, or a hundred people or what?

MR. BACON: No, actually it's part of a very broad weapons protection effort. And I don't know how many people will be there, but we'll get you some details on that.

QIs this the Clinton-Yeltsin initiative, or is that something separate, on the anti -- on the missile initiative?

MR. BACON: No, this is --

QSetting up a permanent missile office in Russia, is this something -

MR. BACON: No, no. You are talking about the Shared Early Warning Center. That's a separate initiative entirely, another important initiative. Ted Warner's briefed you on that.

But this is a separate initiative under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that is one of a number of steps we are taking to help them improve the security of their own nuclear weapons.

QCould you change the subject?

MR. BACON: Sure.

QCould you fill us in on the training that is going to begin for the four Iraqis next week in Florida? (Inaudible) -- what it is and what it entails?

MR. BACON: As you know, the Iraq Liberation Act, which I think was passed at the end of last year, sets aside $97 million to help develop and support opposition to Saddam Hussein. This is to basically develop and support forces for democracy, for a move to democracy, within Iraq.

And we have just made -- the administration has just made its first two decisions to start using some of that money.

The first decision is to spend $2 million on equipment that will be used to set up a headquarters by the Iraqi opposition movement. There is an umbrella organization, called the Iraqi National Congress, that represents seven groups that the president has selected, or he issued a presidential determination in January selecting seven groups with which we'll work to develop as a more effective opposition force.

And the umbrella organization for them is the Iraqi National Congress. We've been dealing with that group as the representative of all the other groups. So $2 million to buy desks, fax machines, telephones, computers, file cabinets and other office infrastructure that's necessary to set up and man a headquarters. Second, $3 million has been earmarked for training support. This will be spent over a period of time. And it will be spent on six types of -- I'm sorry, five types of training. This is leadership training; management and administration training for setting up a civil society; legal issues; that's human rights, peacekeeping, basic legal approaches to setting up a democracy; and what we would call political opposition skills, which involve everything from organizing to communications to media training.

QExcuse me. Is that all military or is that military and civilian -- training for military and civilians?

MR. BACON: This is to train people to be able to set up a democratic movement, essentially. We want to train people in the mechanics of democracy. We want to train people who can be prepared to do two things. One, to begin working to build a democratic movement outside of Iraq -- we hope that sometime it can begin to operate in Iraq, as well -- and to train people who would be ready to set up a democracy and operate a democratic government when a change of government comes in Iraq.

We all agree, we agree with our allies, friends in the region. And P.J. Crowley is here. He has just come back from the region and will talk to you briefly about some of Secretary Cohen's discussions on the trip about Iraq. But we all agree that Iraq -- the Iraqi people would be better off with a different leader other than Saddam Hussein. And this is an opportunity for us to begin to work with people outside Iraq to develop an Iraqi movement for democracy.

QBut their training at Hurlburt Field is non-lethal --

MR. BACON: It's all non-lethal.

QBut this training at Hurlburt Field is being provided by the military. Will all of this $3 million be provided by the military, or will that be both State Department and military programs?

MR. BACON: I think most of it will be provided by the military, but some of it could be provided by the State Department. We have a series of schools that you could say includes the new African Security Center; we have a series of schools here and around the world designed to train people in how to operate in democracies, how to run militaries in democracies, and to give them the basic skills they need to begin to introduce democratic government to a country.

QJust one quick follow-up. Where will this center be set up by the Iraqi National Congress?

MR. BACON: That's for them to decide. They're holding a meeting this weekend in New York. I think it's one of the questions on their agenda as to where they should set up this headquarters.

QIs this the first time that these schools have accepted students that aren't sponsored by a sovereign government? And doesn't this set some sort of a precedent?

MR. BACON: That's a very good question, and I can't answer it for sure. But certainly most of the students are sponsored by sovereign governments, and I can't say for sure that there have never been other non-government-sponsored students there.

Yes, Jim?

QCan you rule out that these classes might move on to military skills when you get finished with civics lessons and fax repair?

MR. BACON: Well, all I can tell you is that right now the plans are to focus on the skills needed to learn about government and to govern; the skills needed to set up an effective opposition. Right now, of course, this opposition is all outside of Iraq, or generally outside of Iraq. There are some -- maybe there are some elements operating within northern Iraq in the Kurdish area. But what we're trying to do is work with an umbrella group that represents Kurds, it represents Shi'ites in Iraq, and also Iraqi Sunnis. The dominant religion in Iraq is Shi'a Muslim, but the ruling religion in Iraq -- the greatest number of people are Shi'ites, but the ruling coalition, Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, are Sunnis. So we're working with people across the religious spectrum and also from the Kurdish community to develop an effective opposition.

P.J. tells me that all the money is DOD money and it basically comes from draw-down authority under the -- $98 million -- under the Iraqi Liberation Act, the Iraq Liberation Act.

QDoes draw-down authority mean that you are using old equipment and you're pulling stuff out of warehouses? So are the paper and the copying machines and stuff coming out of military warehouses?

MR. BACON: I think it is -- I think it probably is not all new stuff. Could be stuff that we have around from old DFAS centers or something like that.

QThe training is taking place at Hurlburt Field and other places, are you saying--

MR. BACON: Right now, the only training that has been specifically identified will start on November first, Monday, and that will be at Hurlburt Field. That is -- there will be four people who will go through a two-week course in civil military strategy for internal development, which means, basically, democracy -- how to communicate with people, how to organize, how to get your ideas across, how democracies operate, that type of thing.

QAre those four people civilian -- I mean, I guess it's kind of --

MR. BACON: Well, I think two are -- well, obviously none will be in the active duty Iraqi military. I think that's fair to say. (Laughter.) Two of them are former military officers in the Iraqi armed services.

QKen, do we envisage any kind of military combat training in the future? I mean, it's kind of unbalanced, isn't it? You're preparing them for a military in a democracy when they really don't have an army yet at this point to--

MR. BACON: We've put a lot of effort in the last year into trying to develop a unified coherent opposition unit, and Secretary Albright has met with Ahmed Chalabi and other leaders of the Iraqi opposition. She's met with Kurdish leaders. Other people in the government have been meeting with these people. We are trying to get the movement focused and unified so they can work effectively. That's what we are doing right now.

And right now, the only plans we have are for this type of training that I identified in the five categories; leadership, management, et cetera.

QAt this point?

MR. BACON: At this point.

Now, it's conceivable that later on, we could get involved in certain types of humanitarian training that might involve medical training for instance, or engineering or some training on communications capabilities. But that would be a next step. And now all we are looking at is this type of training.

QWait a minute. These are all such benign kinds of things you are describing. The U.S. might also be involved eventually in training them how to fight. Wouldn't that be part of the --

MR. BACON: I am not going to rule that out. All I am saying is that now the training is of the type I have described; it's basically working on organization-building. And we think that's a very important first step.

As you know, from the very beginning, there has been a concern, in Congress and elsewhere, that you have to be able to walk before you can run; you have to be able to organize before you can fight. And we have put a lot of attention into working with the elements of the Iraqi opposition group to make them as effective as possible. That's what we are continuing to work on right now.

Yes, Pam?

QWhat's the growth path for this? It's four people now. Do you have waves of more people coming in?

MR. BACON: Well, we will; I mean, a lot will depend on this meeting in New York over the weekend. And obviously, we have taken a very important first step by allocating money, by finding two programs we are supporting.

And we have got the $3 million for training. Now, that includes the cost of getting people here, the cost of supporting them during the training, et cetera. But still, it's going to take a long while and many people to exhaust that $3 million. So there will be additional training as time goes on.

QSo you don't have any predictions as to how many people --

MR. BACON: I don't at this stage, no.

Yes, Jamie?

QKen, the Navy now has released information that the two pilots were killed in the crash of that F/A-18 assigned to the Blue Angels. And I am just wondering, will there be any sort of broader investigation of the safety record of the Blue Angels, in particular because -- I think there were some questions last year about a stand-down of the Blue Angels? Do you know what kind of investigation will result now?

MR. BACON: Well, Jamie, since you were -- while you were out gathering that information, I've been in here talking about the fact that we don't have much information on this. But I can tell you this: that we investigate every plane crash very thoroughly. We try to learn as much as we can from why it happened, in order to prevent it from happening again. I can't speculate at all, based on the little I know, as to what caused this crash. I don't think the Navy knows at this stage. And there will be a full investigation.

Obviously, if any sort of procedural or maintenance problems are revealed by the investigation, they will be addressed aggressively by the Navy. This is its premiere flying team, a team that performs to the amazement and pleasure of crowds all over the United States. And you can be sure that the Navy will do whatever it can to make sure that this team is at the very top of its ability to fly.

I say that without prejudging the causes of this accident at all, because we don't know what caused it. And I hope we can find out relatively soon, and then the Navy will begin doing whatever it has to in response.

Yes?

QAnother topic?

QOh, okay, thank you. Ken, the Russians in Chechnya are rolling toward Grozny from three directions, gobbling up villages and inflicting civilian casualties in Grozny. And President Yeltsin said that he would not stop the -- the troops would not stop their offensive until they, quote, "destroyed the center of international terrorism in Chechnya."

Have you any comments on the way things are going there? And what do you suspect is the international center of terrorism?

MR. BACON: Bill, I don't have much to add, beyond what I said Tuesday on that. We have urged restraint on both sides. We have made it clear that we believe that a political or diplomatic negotiation is the best way to resolve this problem. But I've also said that Russia has responded to what it considers to be a legitimate terrorist threat: a number of bombings in Russia, hundreds of people killed. They believe this terrorism emanated from Chechnya.

Now, as I said, we believe that negotiations are the best way to settle this. And we have urged restraint and actions that lead to a minimum of civilian casualties on both sides. And that remains our policy.

QAre American military liaisons talking to the Russians about what they're doing? Would this be a time when our people would be in touch with the Russians?

MR. BACON: Well, we have communications with the Russians all the time. We're clearly not providing any sort of advice on this particular issue. This is an internal issue to Russia.

Yeah.

QKen, just about Vieques, is there going to be a meeting next week with the Puerto Ricans here in the Pentagon, and when is the secretary going to make his recommendation to the president?

MR. BACON: As you know, after the Rush commission report was completed the secretary asked Undersecretary Rudy de Leon to open a dialogue with the Puerto Ricans over the recommendations in the report. And that will happen on Monday, when Rudy de Leon will meet with the chief of staff of Governor Rossello here at the Pentagon in -- I think it's 2:00 they're meeting. And I would expect we'll have some sort of a readout after the meeting. But this is just a meeting to begin to address the issues that were brought up in the report.

QThe secretary won't be involved.

MR. BACON: Yeah. It'll be with Undersecretary de Leon.

QTo follow that, the governor's office says that the one thing they won't negotiate is their position that there's not to be one more bomb or one more artillery round fired at that range. If that's their position, what does the Pentagon have to negotiate about?

MR. BACON: Well, I think the report raised a number of issues, and we'll just have to see what the Puerto Rican position is from these discussions we have with them. I am very aware of what the governor said. He's said it many times. He said it before Congress. He said it in innumerable interviews. This is an issue that has equities on both sides, obviously. And that's what will be discussed.

QIs the secretary willing to meet with the governor personally?

MR. BACON: Well, I think we need to see how these talks evolve first. And certainly the secretary isn't ruling anything out in order to produce the best possible report and set of recommendations for the president. That's what the president has asked him to do, and he'll do what it takes to get to that position. But right now we're in the early stages of this, and we'll have a better sense, I think, after the meeting on Monday.

QSenator Warner suggested to General Shelton that perhaps he and other members of the chiefs should go down and see the Puerto Rican representatives directly. Is there any consideration being given to that?

MR. BACON: Well, we'll consider all reasonable suggestions, and that's certainly a reasonable suggestion. I think that we need to see how this meeting goes on Monday. And the secretary and Undersecretary de Leon will have to decide what the best course of action is. If we think that something reasonable could come from such a meeting, that's something we would certainly consider doing. But I think we need to know a little bit more about how the Puerto Ricans would respond to that, and we'll learn that from the meeting on Monday.

QThere is an Army team in South Korea now looking into the beginning steps of how they would cooperate with South Korean officials on Korean War massacre stories. When is the DOD team going? And who will end up heading it? Do you have a date yet?

MR. BACON: Well, the Army team in South Korea is just going to be there for -- now it's Friday in South Korea. They will be holding their meeting later today and coming back. There will be more going later, and there may be some Koreans coming here, as well, to look at archives or records. I don't think I have a -- there will be a task force leaving on Saturday, a larger task force.

Q (Inaudible word) -- or Army?

MR. BACON: This is a -- (pause) -- this will be a broader task force that will go over there to review the situation. And they will -- (pauses). We are in the process of putting this task force together, and we will have more information for you later; probably not until Monday.

QThis is not the de Leon Group, the steering group, or whatever you called it?

MR. BACON: Yeah, this will be the steering group that will go over there, and they'll be briefed on the way out by the Army team, and then they'll do some discussions over there on their own.

QDo you know who is the head of that?

MR. BACON: We haven't announced the --

QI thought you did.

MR. BACON: No, we haven't announced it yet.

QYeah, that's what I was asking.

QKen, who --

QWait a minute. Has the Defense Department figured out when you or Army people involved in all this begin to talk to American veterans, are you just talking to these veterans, are you deposing them? Can what they say be used against them in later legal proceedings? What are the rules of the road? Because the veterans that we have talked to are pretty confused.

MR. BACON: Well, we have been very clear about what we're trying to do. We're trying to get to the facts; we're trying to figure out what happened. And we have made no preconditions. We are going out to talk to people who are willing to talk to us. We're reviewing records. We're going to talk to people in Korea and obviously people back here. We'll do a very extensive record review; that's already started and is well underway. And we'll try to establish the best possible factual account of what happened that we can, and that will involve both what happened, if anything, and why it happened; the circumstances under which it happened, the general context for what happened, if anything did happen, and present that report.

QAnd can the statements that a veteran makes to your review panel be used against him in a later legal proceeding?

MR. BACON: Well, this is not a legal proceeding. And it is a fact-finding mission, and I think we should be very clear about that. Those questions, we have made no determination on that. So it will -- obviously, people felt free to talk to the Associated Press. We think -- we hope that they will feel free to talk to our team trying to find out exactly what happened.

QBut by "no preconditions," you mean no decision's been made on whether or not to grant any immunity to people talking to investigators?

MR. BACON: No immunity has been granted.

QNo immunity.

QHas been what?

MR. BACON: Has been granted.

QGranted?

MR. BACON: Granted.

QIs it possible to grant immunity anyway, because you are dealing with two different sets of laws because the Korean War --

MR. BACON: I don't think --

QAnd even if you wanted to, could you?

MR. BACON: That has not been a fundamental issue of this review. What they are trying to do is assemble the facts and find out what happened. They have not looked at questions that go beyond the facts.

If appropriate, they'll have to look later at a whole range of issues. One issue that's been raised is compensation. No decision has been made on compensation. Whether or not there is any compensation will depend on what the facts turn out to be.

But we are a long way from having a complete picture of what happened yet. And I think it's premature to talk about all these other issues until we find out what the facts were.

QBut it's not premature if you're an aging veteran and suddenly realize that what you say might in the future, be used to prosecute you; it's not premature. For them, they are potentially in legal jeopardy by opening their mouths to you.

MR. BACON: Well, that's not -- as I say, right now, the goal is to learn the facts. And it's premature to talk about any sort of legal liability or jeopardy at this stage because we don't know what the facts were. When we learn the facts, we'll be able to make other decisions.

QCan I clear this up, though?

MR. BACON: Sure.

QIf it turns out through this fact-finding investigation, that there is the potential of criminal culpability by members of the American Armed Forces at that time, would then a criminal investigation --

MR. BACON: That question -- I can't answer that question. It's hypothetical, and it's premature.

Right now, we are trying to find out what happened. And that's our first step and our biggest responsibility. And Secretary Cohen has made that clear in his statements on this, as well as his letter to President Kim Dae Jung. We will just have to see where the facts take us. But the most important thing is to find out what those facts are.

QThank you.

MR. BACON: I just wanted to have P.J. give you a brief on -- to go back to the -- Iraq and talk briefly about Secretary Cohen's comments with the Middle Eastern leaders. So if you can give P.J. that --

MR. CROWLEY: Just very briefly, the secretary returned Tuesday night from a 10-day, nine-country trip. Some of your colleagues were on that trip. Iraq obviously was a major topic of discussion.

I think, coming out of the trip, the secretary has a view that there really is a shared vision within the region as to how to proceed to help reintegrate Iraq into the international community and allow Iraq to resume its, you know, rightful place within the region. These were leaders that actually know Saddam best. They're his neighbors. They share our view that hopefully sooner, rather than later, we'll have a regime change in Baghdad, and that will go a long way towards restoring regional stability.

I think the secretary found in his trip that there is still obviously great sympathy for the Iraqi people. It's a sympathy that we share, which is why we've pushed so hard within the U.N. Security Council to try to make sure that as we keep Saddam contained, we work hard to make sure that there is a great deal of humanitarian assistance that flows through the oil-for-food program. They talked at great length about the Dutch-UK resolution, which everyone agrees is the -- provides the best opportunity to restore the inspection program that we need inside Iraq and at the same time make sure there are a wide range of humanitarian assistance that goes to the Iraqi people.

But obviously, within the context of regime change, the secretary did brief leaders, when the issue came up, about what we are doing within the Iraqi Liberation Act to provide this kind of political assistance to help build a stronger voice for the Iraqi opposition within the region and also a better source of information to the Iraqi people, so that they really know that there is a viable alternative to the repressive regime that Saddam Hussein represents in Iraq. So it was one of, you know, the major components of the discussion that the secretary had in his various meetings with the regional leaders.

I think, finally, at the same time, the secretary made clear that until we see that day of change in Baghdad that we, the United States, have a long-term commitment to the region. We are going to maintain force levels at roughly their current size. There is, as is always the case, a constant review within military circles to kind of review, Do we have the right kinds of forces, are they in the right place? There could be minor adjustments as we go forward in terms of the placement of forces, but basically the force levels will continue as we continue to contain Saddam Hussein. The secretary forecast there'd be no major changes in our force posture in the region.

And I think the leaders responded very favorably to that. There was a great amount of agreement that Saddam needs to be contained. The force posture we have there right now is effective in doing that, and then the secretary took the opportunity to brief them on how we are working in other ways to create greater political momentum within the region starting, as Ken said, outside of Iraq but eventually evolving to greater pressure within Iraq to create a better climate so that perhaps at some point in the future this regime change can take place.

QWhat's the decision to put supplies and equipment for another U.S. brigade on barges or ships in the region rather than on land? Was that our decision? Was that our initial position, or did that come about because of political sensitivities raised by the other governments?

MR. CROWLEY: Not at all. That's basically our decision. It's still a process that is ongoing. I think General Zinni and CENTCOM have been working -- for example, we have the brigade set in Kuwait. We are about 80 percent complete in finishing preparations for the -- and finishing work so that you have a complete brigade set in Qatar. We have one brigade set afloat and General Zinni indicated during the trip that it would be his recommendation to the secretary to have a fourth brigade set also afloat, which gives you increased flexibility in terms of how you might be able to respond -- you know, where, when, how -- in the event that there is a future contingency. So that his thinking right now is that the fourth brigade set would be afloat.

QWhat can you tell us about military -- counter-Saddam military groups, dissidents, outside Iraq -- I take it all of them are outside of Iraq. But what about what's going on up in the north with the Kurds?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we've invested a great deal of time and attention. There have been at various times conflicts between the PUK and the other group in Iraq. We've negotiated with them so that really there is really peace in the north. And I think one of the things the secretary mentioned to regional leaders was the fact that the UNICEF report that just came out recently showed that because there's unity in the north, in an area that Saddam does not control, you're seeing vast increases in the health and welfare of those people compared to in the south where Saddam still has more or less complete control. And that's where you see that he has manipulated the system, and the health levels for children and other groups is not as good. So he did make that point, you know, to various leaders.

But there is right now a relative, you know, stable situation in the north. They're better off because of it. And we continue to work with them within the umbrella of Iraqi opposition groups to try to make their efforts as effective as possible; inside the region -- build up better political support inside the region, and then ultimately inside Iraq so that they know, the Iraqi people know that there's a viable alternative to Saddam Hussein.

QThank you.

MR. BACON: I need to correct one thing that I said. There is not another team on its way to Korea. I misread my chart here. We will set up a group, steering group, of outside experts. They will meet with the Army inspector general when he comes back from South Korea, after his meeting tomorrow in South Korea -- I mean tomorrow our time; today their time. So that will happen early next week. But we are not sending a new team there yet; we will at the appropriate time. One of the things we want to do, of course, by sending the inspector general there is to get an idea of where we should go, what the schedule should be, et cetera. And then the steering group will meet with him and get a readout. We will announce more about the steering group next week.

Thanks.

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