(posted by Katherine Long)
A scientist who claims to have worked in Iraq's chemical weapons program for more than a decade is telling an American military team that Iraq did away with its chemical weapons and biological warfare equipment just days before the war started, the New York Times says. The scientist led Americans to a site where he helped bury chemicals used to make weapons of mass destruction. Officials called it the most important discovery to date in the hunt for the banned weapons.
On the day that retired U.S. Gen. Jay Garner arrived in Baghdad, the New York Times looks at the difficulties of running the Iraqi capitol, especially given the challenge of identifying a group of Iraqis to help run the city. (A Shiite muslim dissident has already proclaimed himself mayor, but his appointment has not been recognized by the U.S. military.)
The newspaper reports that "the country seems to have entered a new period in which there is a general recognition that Mr. Hussein's government is gone for good and the jockeying to fill the power vacuum among has intensified. There is also a growing struggle for influence by outside powers like Syria and Iran, whose agents are already operating inside the country.
"American military commanders say the success of their campaign will depend on how the United States deals with these challenges. The war was decided in Phase Three, but ultimate success will depend on Phase Four of the campaign plan: stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq."
Iraqis are finally discovering the fates of loved ones who disappeared long ago, the Washington Post reports.
"The fall of Hussein's government has broken a terrible silence here. Across the country, the relatives of the disappeared are speaking of their loved ones for the first time -- pouring out memories of their terror and helplessness as an all-powerful state swept up its victims at the slightest utterance of dissent and gagged those left behind." According to human rights groups, at least 300,000 people are missing -- a number that includes people who went missing 25 years ago and others who were dragged away in the middle of the war.
Some Iraqis who survived the old regime's torture chambers are returning to the places where they were imprisoned to try to heal the scars, the New York Times reports.
"Across the country, the collapse of the Hussein government and the unmasking of intelligence service centers like Al Hakemiya is bringing out scores of people...who have returned in freedom to the places of their captivity. They are engaging in a great national catharsis, confronting the black heart of Mr. Hussein's rule and proclaiming its depravity for everyone to see."
How does it feel to go back home when the war is over? A Boston Globe reporter reflects on what it was like to be embedded in a unit of artillery soldiers during the war -- and the courage the troops showed in the heat of battle.