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U.S. Government Releases Purported Photos of Uday, Qusay

Aired July 24, 2003 - 13:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: First this hour, what the government says is photographic proof that Uday and Qusay are dead. Now, we warn you, these pictures are gruesome. But top officials feel they had to be released to convince Iraqis the ruthless sons of Saddam Hussein are gone for good.
CNN's Nic Robertson standing by now in Baghdad with reaction from there -- Rick (sic).

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, certainly, people have been seeing the pictures here. They've been watching them on some international news broadcast people watch here via satellite television. Also, the coalition authority-run Iraqi television has played the pictures. Interestingly, on the Iraqi television, playing black and white image, rather than some of those graphic color images.

The majority opinion here appears to be that people believe this is proof that Uday and Qusay are dead. A range of opinion branching out from there. Some people say it's a shame that they were killed, that they should have ended up in court. Other people say it doesn't matter. Now that they're dead, it's time to move on. Some saying that perhaps now that they're dead, people will feel better and more ready, less apprehensive, if you will, about coming forward and giving information on Saddam Hussein. Some people saying yes, they're dead, ashamed that the coalition forces killed them, perhaps better that Iraqis would have killed them because a so-called foreigners killed them, this would make them perhaps martyrs.

There are still a few people here, Kyra, who choose not to believe that these pictures are images of Uday and Qusay when they're dead. Some people also telling us that they're finding it hard to make a positive identification because some of the images they saw at first, at least, were a little bit dark -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Nic, I have to ask you how you think this is going to affect the guerrilla war that's taking place in Iraq, where American soldiers are dying almost daily.

ROBERTSON: Well, the initial impact appears, at least, to the deaths to have been an increase in attacks on U.S. troops around Mosul. The night after the attack, one soldier killed. Today, three killed. That's perhaps the most significant death toll of U.S. troops in a single incident we've seen in several months. Certainly, the largest number of deaths in a single incident. What will happen in the future? Will this undermine the resolve of those people carrying out the attacks? Some Iraqis we've talk to have said Look, Uday and Qusay were not involved in masterminding those attacks, so perhaps it won't have an impact. The hope of the coalition authority is that it will show the people of Iraq the coalition is determined to track these people down. That will undermine the resolve of the people carrying out the attacks.

What we've heard, through coalition authorities before is, that things like the audiotape recordings, purporting to come from Saddam Hussein, they think those messages emboldened these attackers, people who attack the U.S. forces. The hope is that this will undermine the people who carry out those attacks.

I think Iraqis, at the moment, really not sure which way it will go. But certainly, a lot of them relieved this current step has happen. They maybe have some reservations that Uday and Qusay ended up dead or the way that they died, but for most people, believing these pictures are a positive identification and believing that this was a necessary step for Iraq.

PHILLIPS: Nic Robertson, live from Baghdad. Thanks, Nic.

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