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Iraq

Nations get a warning from NATO

By wire services
Published July 3, 2004

BRUSSELS - NATO's top civilian official warned Friday that Afghanistan and Iraq were doomed to be failed states if the United States and the international community did not find a way to work together to save them.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO's secretary-general, also sharply criticized the Bush administration for abandoning NATO as an alliance and using it when it suits Washington's interests.

"Can we afford two failed states in pivotal regions?" de Hoop Scheffer said in an interview. "It's both undesirable and unacceptable if either Afghanistan or Iraq were to be lost. The international community can't afford to see those countries going up in flames. There would be enormous repercussions for stability, and not only in those regions."

De Hoop Scheffer's bleak analysis of the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq contrasts with the rosier view of the Bush administration, which has portrayed the countries as well on the road to becoming stable democracies that will serve as models for the region.

Marine from Florida dies; was wounded once before

ORLANDO - A Marine who refused to return to the United States after he was wounded in combat in Iraq in April has been killed in action, his father and military officials confirmed Friday.

Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr., 23, of Orlando died Thursday while fighting in the Al Anbar province, the Department of Defense said in a statement.

"He had to be the best at anything he did," said his father, Kenneth Conde Sr., a former Marine.

A bullet went into his left shoulder during a gunbattle in Ramadi last April. When Conde went down, the cheers of insurgents made him mad, said his father.

"After he fell down, they started cheering and he just got angry and got back up and his platoon kept going forward," Conde Sr. said.

Also . . .

NO SARIN FOUND: Sixteen rocket warheads found last week in south-central Iraq by Polish troops did not contain deadly chemicals, a coalition spokesman said Friday, but U.S. and Polish officials agreed that insurgents loyal to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorist fighters are trying to buy such old weapons or the services of Iraqi scientists who know how to make them.

A SLOW START: Only $366-million has been spent of the $18.4-billion President Bush and Congress provided last fall for rebuilding Iraq, a White House report showed Friday. Despite the administration's initial emphasis on speedy reconstruction in Iraq, the amount is less than 2 percent of the rebuilding money lawmakers provided. The figure, in the latest quarterly report by the budget office, marks the first time the administration has said how much of the money has been spent.

[Last modified July 3, 2004, 01:00:34]


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