U.S. forces captured Baghdad on Wednesday, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In the capture, two new issues have arisen for U.S. forces – first, they seek to find Saddam Hussein, if he is indeed alive. The next objective, which will involve many more troops, is to capture regions under rebellion within Baghdad.

Although both the city and Iraq have been defeated, American sources believe that there are still some rebellious pockets and that U.S. troops should proceed with caution. Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Aldouri, also admitted defeat.

Shortly after Iraq was liberated, the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Firdos Square as civilian onlookers cheered. Children even pounded the statue with their shoes. “Freedom’s taste is unquenchable,” White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, according to CNN. “You’re seeing what you see in mankind everywhere, given a chance to be free.”

Some critics of U.S. actions disagree. Many concerns have arisen over talk of financial aid from American sources to Iraq.

Japan has decided to give Iraq nearly $100 million dollars to provide food, medical assistance and repairs to the water system.

U.S. has first set the goal of finding Saddam Hussein, who is believed by Iraqi officials to be alive. Rumsfeld questions the validity of Iraq’s claims. “He’s either dead, or he’s incapacitated, or he’s healthy and cowering in some tunnel to avoid being caught,” Rumsfeld said according to CNN.

U.S. officials are sure that some of Hussein’s top leaders are now dead, and some of his sons may either be injured or also deceased.

The concern now lies in reports that Syria may be offering protection for Hussein and his top advisers.

According to Rumsfeld, the United States must first deal with Iraq before worrying about offers Syria may be making.

At this time, Rumsfeld sees these objectives to be very short term. Reconstruction plans will be implemented. U.S. troops must first secure Baghdad and ensure that any rebellious pockets have been eliminated.

A meeting is scheduled for April 15 to set up a form of government within Iraq. Iraqi officials have been informed of the meeting and are invited by U.S. officials. “The game is over. I hope peace will prevail and the Iraqi people at the end of the day will have a peaceful day,” Aldouri said.

Information provided by www.cnn.com.

Tanner can be reached at rtanner@campustimes.org.

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