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Meet the man who will run Iraq:
WASHINGTON (April 15) - The retired U.S. general charged with heading an interim
administration in post-war Iraq expressed concern over what he described as the slow start
of the transition effort in an interview published on Tuesday.
"Actually, I wish I had been in Baghdad a week ago," Lt. Gen. Jay Garner said in an interview with USA Today in Kuwait City. He told the newspaper that he hopes to be in the Iraqi capital this week.
"My fear right now is every day we delay we're probably losing some momentum, and there's perhaps some vacuums in there getting filled that we won't want filled," Garner said in the interview.
Although the main fighting in the war apparently is over, Garner said most of his staff would remain in Kuwait until it is safe in Iraq.
"There are still a lot of pockets of resistance in Baghdad, so the (U.S.) commanders are a bit reluctant to let a bunch of civilians in there." But he said: "maybe we ought to take a little risk and get in there."
About 35 officials from Garner's Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance arrived in the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr last Tuesday. Most of the rest of his team of more than 200 mostly U.S. officials remain at a base in Kuwait.
"By the end of April or beginning of May we will have cells down in every province" of Iraq, Garner said in the interview.
Garner was in the southern Iraqi city of Nassiriya on Tuesday to discuss post-war rule with Iraqi factions in what his spokesman said would be a "test case" for the planned U.S.-led administration that will rebuild Iraq and restore civil services for its 26 million people.
04/15/03 00:47 ET
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