COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING
BRIEFER: GENERAL RICARDO SANCHEZ
DATE: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2003
GEN. SANCHEZ: Good afternoon. Let me start out by reading a statement that was made by Ambassador Bremer a short while ago.
"Today, the people of Iraq lost a courageous champion and pioneer for the cause of freedom and democracy, Dr. Akila Al-Hashimi. On behalf of the Coalition Provisional Authority, and all its members, I offer heartfelt condolences to her family, her colleagues at the Governing Council, and to the people of Iraq.
"Through her steadfast commitment to a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq, Dr. Akila Al-Hashimi served as an inspiration to her nation. We mourn her passing.
"Yet even as we grieve, we know that her vision will live on, and that it will triumph. Today we renew our commitment to this vision as we pay tribute to Hashimi's personal courage and dedication to her work on behalf of the Iraqi people."
On a personal note, I would like to add that I share Ambassador Bremer's and the Governing Council's huge sense of loss with the passing of Dr. Hashimi. She had the courage to step forward and assume the responsibilities of office, while she knew there were still a few remnants of the old regime who were determined to oppose her and her colleagues. We will continue to hunt down those who murdered her, and who murder other innocent Iraqis, who now deserve to live in the freedom that they have worked so hard for.
Now, let me continue by expressing my sincere condolences to the family and friends of our dedicated service members who sacrifice their lives for the Iraqi people. Last week we had six killed in action. We had there non-hostile deaths. We also had a total of 41 that were wounded in action.
This week terrorists once again targeted innocent Iraqis and humanitarian workers, whose primary mission here is to help the people of Iraq, and our deepest sympathies are with those families and friends of all those who have been touched by this senseless continuing killing. These people are clearly desperate in trying to stop the progress that is being made here in this country, but we will continue to work with the Iraqi people towards a stable, prosperous and a democratic Iraq.
Let me talk about some good things that happened in the country in the last week. In the area of education, progress and reconstruction continue to make a lot of progress around the country, and during the last week we achieved our objective of having over a thousand schools rehabilitated in time for the school year to begin. The great example of this is the work done by our 17th Field Artillery Brigade right here in Baghdad, at the Al-Diyala (ph) school. This school in the northern Baghdad governate was helped by our coalition soldiers and by repairing structural damage, electricity and water problems. Our soldiers installed an air conditioning system and playground equipment for the children, and there will be a total of about 480 schoolchildren who will benefit from these improvements. And also on the first day of school our soldiers will provide essential school supplies for these kids, with each student receiving a bag of school supplies. And this unit will continue with renovating an additional five schools here in Baghdad.
In the area of our coalition efforts, the Spanish contingent assumed operational control from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Battalion in the An Najaf area, and this completes the transition of authority to the Polish-led sector, and gives us our second multinational division now in charge of the Center-South region. We now have 30 countries, in addition to the United States, that's totally committed and working on the ground toward a safer Iraq.
In the area of civil-military cooperation, the Iraqi authorities and coalition forces continue to work towards recovery of artifacts that were looted during the and in the immediate aftermath of the war, and this week the Iraqi police and the 812th Military Police Company returned a 5,000-year-old Warka Mask to the Iraqi National Museum. Coalition forces participated in this joint investigation that found this mask that had been stolen from the Iraqi museum. This artifact dates back to 3,100 B.C., and is one of the first known marble sculptures from that time period.
In the area of security, we continue our close coordination with the Iraqi security structures and the Coalition Provisional Authority, and we continue to field Iraqi capacity to allow them to take over responsibility for their own internal security, and every day we make progress towards this goal.
This week, in the 4th Division sector, we continued with ICDC training, and in fact we have got civil defense corps training going on just about all around the country, and with the exception of one sector right now, and in the 4th ID zone, we graduated an additional 390 civil defense personnel. These trainees, with their basic soldier skills, will now contribute in providing security under the tactical control of our coalition forces in their zones.
In the area of reconstruction, I think you'll all remember, those of you that were here last week, I got some questions on bridges, and it was specifically on the 14th of July Bridge. And, ma'am, we confirm that mid-October is the date for scheduled opening of that bridge. And this week I'd like to highlight another bridge project in the 4th Infantry Division zone, and this picture that you see up is the Al-Sandia (ph) bridge immediately following the war.
What our forces have done, with the help of the 308 Civil Affairs Brigade, we've repaired this 25-year-old bridge, and this allows 10,000 people to cross safely each day, and about a million and a half local Iraqis utilize that bridge on an annual basis. So it brings back some normality to that part of Iraq.
We continue to make progress on all of the initiatives to bring back security and stability to the country. We continue our offensive operations against non-compliance forces, and we continue to help free Iraq in assuming their responsibilities for their own defense.
With that, I will now open it up to your questions. Yes, ma'am?
Q Roslyn Russell (ph) from Reuters. In the light of the death of Dr. Hashimi, is the coalition planning to take any specific further security measures to protect members of the Governing Council and the cabinet?
GEN. SANCHEZ: For some period of time now, well before the attack on Dr. Hashimi, we have been working with the Governing Council in enabling them to stand up their personal security detachments, and providing them assistance in reviewing both their capability of their PSDs, and also have offered assessments of their areas. That work continues on a daily basis, and as a matter of fact there are some meetings that were going on today to try to ensure that they have adequate protection. And that work continues.
Q My name is Mark Martinelas (ph) from -- (inaudible) -- in Barcelona. In the light of the -- recently there are more and more civilians, Iraqi civilians, being injured or killed in engagements. There is certainly a general complaint that your rules of engagement are too focused on protecting American soldiers than -- and maybe the Iraqi civilians are left out. Do you think -- are you thinking about reviewing your rules of engagement?
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, I am not exactly sure what you are referring to that is tied to rules of engagement.
Q Rules of engagement means, you know, your response to a particular action, in case there is an engagement, your response.
GEN. SANCHEZ: I know what rules of engagement are, and I know what my rules of engagement are, but I am not sure what the issue is that you are referring to.
Q Well, I mean --
GEN. SANCHEZ: If I may answer, then you can follow up. My rules of engagement are fairly clear to my soldiers that whenever we get engaged, or we feel that there is a self-defense threat, we will respond with the necessary level of force. If we are engaged by enemy forces, we will bring to bear the maximum amount of combat power that is necessary to defeat that enemy force, wherever that enemy force is located. We constantly review our rules of engagement, given the environments that we are operating in, and that process continues on a daily basis.
Q Just in case, in those cases where there are checkpoints in which you know maybe the Iraqis haven't seen a particular checkpoint, and the way that you respond to this action.
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yeah. We have reviewed our rules of engagement for operations around checkpoints, and we have those procedures in place that allow for warning shots before we take aim and shoot deadly fire at vehicles that we may think are either attempting to bypass our control points or attempting to harm our soldiers. So those rules of engagement are well in place, and they have been trained.
Q Anthony Shadid with the Washington Post. General, do you think the -- I know it's impressionistic at this point, but the bombing at the hotel that houses NBC -- is your sense -- do you have a sense that targets may have been broadened or that journalists may have come under the same threat that we have seen other groups come under?
GEN. SANCHEZ: I think at this point it's still a little bit early to tell what the objectives are. I think it is -- in my judgment it is clear that these terrorist elements are attempting to truly achieve a terrorist objective by targeting the international community, targeting the Iraqi people, and also targeting of course coalition forces. Whether this attack is specifically against the press there in that hotel or not is a little bit uncertain at this point, and I couldn't give you that answer.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yes, of course.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: The question is tied to the arrest of the minister of defense, whether we are going to treat him as we have other prisoners. There were no negotiations with the minister of defense. What we did is there was a letter sent to him that offered treatment according to his rank and stature, if he surrendered to the coalition forces. And it also told him that we would be cognizant of his physical requirements, his medical needs, and that we would properly take care of his medical needs once he was in custody. He will be treated like an enemy prisoner of war, just like the others we have in custody -- and like a security internee.
Q General, John Radlow (ph) from CNN. What makes you hesitant to conclude that this morning's attack was not necessarily a deliberate attack on a Western news organization, given as we understand it NBC was either the only occupant of the hotel, or certainly the major occupant of the hotel, and their presence there was apparently well advertised by a clearly visible live-shot location on the roof?
GEN. SANCHEZ: Because my investigation is not complete at this point.
Q In Arabic please. (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay. That was a statement that asked -- said that the roads are narrow and restricting traffic flow, and we ought to look at possibly opening and widening some of those roads. And clearly we are taking that into consideration as we conduct our operations and settle our forces around the city.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: The question is how are universities and schools going to be secured, and the growth was how are you going to secure the schools and universities. The question we ought to be asking is how are we going to secure the schools and universities, because it is our responsibility together to do that. And as we look at the start of the school year, we clearly are working, as you well know, we have increased the police capability. We have got the fixed-site protection services. We have got elements of the Civil Defense Corps. We are and we have at the end of the school year, back in the May, June, July timeframe -- schools that required it were secured, and we are continuing to look at those requirements, and the primary responsibility will fall on the Iraqi security capabilities to provide that security with the coalition in support.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: I don't have any news on him at this point. Sorry.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: You said two. (Laughter.)
Q (Speaks Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, is that the same case you had last week? Did you provide that to my --
Q (Speaks Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, okay.
Q (Speaks Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, I haven't followed up on that. I'll follow up on that and ask the question. On -- just stop, okay?
On the rebuilding of the el-Taji (ph) bridge, we'll -- I'll go ahead and take a look at what the timelines are for that, and I will get back to you. I am not familiar with that specific reconstruction project, okay?
On the -- let me see if I remember your terrorist attacks question. I don't. Why don't you repeat it for me. Sorry. (Laughter.)
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: That is more of a statement than a question, but I absolutely agree that that is a challenge that we have here today in the country. And what we have to do -- and I have been stating this for some time now -- is that the real solutions to this problem will come with both of us working together. It will be the Iraqi people, with your ability to know who is operating in certain areas, to know when people are from outside of the neighborhoods or the villages, and you know where things -- bad things -- are about to happen, coming to us and helping not just the coalition forces, but the Iraqi security forces, to prevent these attacks from occurring, and for us to arrest these terrorists or fundamentalist elements that are operating here in the country. It is clear that they are attacking Iraqis, the international community, and not just the coalition. So it's up to all of us to work together to stop this.
Yes, sir, in the back?
Q (Inaudible) -- News Agency. We knew that four Turkish officers arrived here. The question is could we know what is behind their coming or what are their duties?
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yes. Those are liaison officers that have come in as part of the CTJF at this point. They are part of the CTJF headquarters structure, and they are just liaisons.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, I got four questions, so I get to pick three. Okay? The first one was on the assessment of the new plan for security and the use of Iraqi police forces after midnight in the city. We continue to work with the Iraqi police to come up with joint operational plans that will allow us to maximize the security of the city. We are working closely with them on curfews in the city, to make sure that our operational patterns and timelines are such that we can provide the right levels of security across the city, and working to increase the effectiveness of those police forces that are on duty and that are being paid to bring additional law and order to the city.
We will in fact be looking at shifts, and we are looking at the shifts, to be able to provide that 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, law and order that's necessary here in Baghdad. That's part of our overall assessments.
In terms of the identification card for the people of Baghdad, that has been an issue that has been discussed at multiple levels to attempt to bring back some sort of national ID card that can be issued. Of course that is a fairly intensive, resource-intensive, requirement, if we are to embark on that. And that is still being discussed with the ministries and Governing Council and CPA at this point.
I've got two more here. On the highly-ranked Ba'athists, is it true they are going to get their jobs back? The de-Ba'athification policy has been in effect. There has been no change to the de-Ba'athification policy. There are procedures, as I think everyone knows -- for exemptions that can go to Ambassador Bremer level for some of these members, and those procedures remain in place. But there is no reconciliation that is all encompassing that has been put into place at this point. That is an issue that will have to be addressed by the Iraqi government at the right time. Okay.
Q Two questions. (Speaks in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, I know we are looking at the facilitating access for the press. That's being reviewed at this point. Clearly that message has been coming across for some time, and there are others who have communicated that same desire to us. So we are taking a look at it, and we'll communicate whatever decisions are made at the right time.
On your first question, I'll tell you that if you go to Syria, or if you go to Iran anytime in the near future, you better have your identification papers, because you might not get back in -- okay? Because those borders are controlled. We are turning people back every day. We have imposed constraints or limitations for access from the Syrian border, and those are being implemented and have been for some time now. Same thing up in the north. We have literally thousands of Iraqis that are on the borders manning control points, customs houses. So it is not a wide-open border as you say. I can -- you know, we can take you, and maybe that is something that we ought to do with the press here pretty soon, to take you and show you what is being done on the borders, because there is border control that's ongoing. Are we protecting the 3,500 kilometers of border with Iran? No. You know, that capacity isn't in place yet. But there is control going on there, and that capacity increases every day. And we can take you to the Syrian borders and the Western borders of the country and show you that in fact there is border control going on. But, once again, it is not 100 percent lockdown with total exclusion.
Q Tori Gazawi (ph), Associated Press. General, can you give us an update on the investigation into the killing of Iraqi policemen in Fallujah?
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yes. Yes, I can. That investigation is complete at this point. It is undergoing final review within my headquarters with release of that report to follow immediately after the final review. The initial preliminary findings are that the soldiers acted within the construct of the rules of engagement.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: No, I do not have any news. I'll tell you that we are not reestablishing any kind of intelligence service or we are not recalling any Mukhabarat personnel at this point that I am aware of. That is not an initiative that CTJF is undertaking.
In the back.
Q Alex Berenson (ph), New York Times. There have been reports that your office and Ambassador Bremer's office have had differences of opinion on whether or not it would be a good idea to use militias, privately-controlled militias, to make up for some of the security gaps that are now taking place. Given that the new Iraqi army has no soldiers right now, and no new police are currently being trained for the Iraqi police, do you have a position on whether or not the coalition should rely more on these private militias, or if that is asking for trouble?
And then my second broad security question is there have been three bombings, fatal bombings, in Baghdad in the last three days. A member of the Governing Council has been assassinated in the last week. In your judgment, is the security situation improving, or is it getting worse at the moment?
GEN. SANCHEZ: Well, first of all, unequivocally we are not going to allow private militias to operate i this country, and there is absolutely no issue. There is not a single bit of difference between Ambassador Bremer's position and mine. And that has been communicated over and over again. And there has been no difference of opinion on whether militias ought to be used. We have repeatedly stated, both from the CPA and the CTJF-7 side, that individual Iraqis are welcome to join the security structures that are in place -- that's the army, ICDC, border Patrol, the FPS -- to contribute to the security of the country. Those are the established mechanisms. That's how we will embrace that capability. But there will not be any private militias that will be allowed.
On your second question, Is it improving or is it getting worse? -- that's clearly a question where you're darned if you do and darned if you don't, right? We have repeatedly stated that there are terrorists that are operating in this country, and there are terrorists that continue to attack the international community, the Iraqi people and the coalition. And I have repeatedly stated that that will continue. When you look at the levels of engagements that are occurring across the country, they are fluctuating, as they have in the course of the past three or four months. They'll dip down into the low teens, and they'll spike up into the 20s or so in terms of engagements per day, and that cycle continues. There isn't a security crisis in the country at this point. We are going to continue -- my estimate is we are going to continue to see some of this terrorist activity over the course of the coming weeks and the coming months. And we have got to work together to identify who these people are so we can eliminate these non-compliant elements.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay, your assertion is that families have been offended and that girls' clothes were tore off during some of the raids that we conducted, and when am I going to issue a statement to stop this kind of action. We've done that. We have already done that. We have repeatedly asked and stated here for our forces to conduct precise offensive operations. We are working to understand better the cultural sensitivities of the Iraqi people, to understand and make sure that we are treating every Iraqi with the dignity and respect that they deserve, while continuing to conduct our military operations that will continue unabated as long as we have this anti-coalition element that is operating in the country. And we are working with the Iraqi police, the Civil Defense Corps, and any other Iraqi capacity that we can out there, to ensure that we have Iraqis that can help us in the conduct of these operations. So this is not something that has gone unnoticed, and we are working very hard that this doesn't happen across the country. And I'll guarantee you that when this has happened, we have taken actions to ensure that military members are properly taken care of. And we will take action. And I reported here in this forum before some of the results of the investigations that have taken place into incidents that have occurred across the country.
In the back.
Q Rory Muholland (ph) from AFP News Agency. Can you tell me about the investigation -- what are the results of the investigation into an incident on August 10th in which two Iraqi policemen were killed in a friendly fire incident by American soldiers? And, more generally, I've been told by the press people that your policy is only to release the results of investigations into such incidents if you are asked a specific question.
GEN. SANCHEZ: I'm sorry, the last part I didn't understand.
Q The press people here tell me that your policy is only to give information about the results of investigations if you are asked specific questions. Otherwise you don't release them.
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yeah, we -- the standard policy -- clearly in the United States we have a Freedom of Information Act, where anybody has the right to request information from the military, and that is reviewed, and it is provided as requested in close consideration of national security requirements. If there's classified information, that gets redacted in whatever can be provided in an open forum is. So that is correct. There is no policy where every investigation that we conduct within the military is made a public document.
In terms of the 10 August friendly fire incident, I think I've got the latest status of that, but those investigations have been completed. There were -- if I remember correctly, there were a couple of incidents that occurred in close proximity to the 10th of August. And in both cases those are complete. I believe in one case we have not finalized the claims with one of the families, because we have not made the final link-up with the family to pay damages. And in the other case we did in fact complete that process to pay for some of the deaths and also some of the property damage that occurred.
Q Sorry, I'm not sure we are talking about the same thing. This is the Iraqi policemen who were killed -- two policemen shot by American soldiers.
GEN. SANCHEZ: I'd have to look. We've got -- I think I've got the investigations here. I can give you -- I can give you an answer afterwards, if you'd like. Okay? Just hold onto it -- I'll use it afterwards.
Okay, yes, ma'am?
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yes, I sure can. We have been involved -- the question was, or the statement that curfew has been a bad thing for the Iraqi people, and whether I can discuss shortening or lifting it. We have been involved for about two weeks now in some discussions, especially here in Baghdad -- but we started the discussion in light of Ramadan -- it's coming here shortly. The discussion is with the Iraqi police, and making sure that any changes that are made to the curfew are done in coordination with the Iraqi police, since they will have to adjust their operating patterns and their work cycles, just like we will have to do that given any changes to curfew.
We are working to initially shorten the curfew here in the city, and then in coordination with the police at some point in the near future to possibly eliminate it. But those negotiations continue today.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Well, to make the statement that people were killed because they violated curfew is I think a little bit of an exaggeration. I don't believe that there was anybody killed because they violated a curfew. They may have gotten involved in some engagement that may have been ongoing, or may not have responded in terms of traffic control points. Those incidents have occurred, and in the specific case that you cite I have no basis to give you a definitive answer, because I have not idea when or where or what may have happened in the case that you cite, ma'am. So, I'm sorry, I can't help you.
Q This is just a follow-up on the issue of investigations. As we understand it, the investigation into the killing of Reuters cameraman Rasadana (ph) is completed, but we in Baghdad haven't been given the details of that investigation. Do we have to submit specific questions to you to get the details of that.
GEN. SANCHEZ: You're referring to the Reuters. Yes. As I stated earlier, there is no mechanism -- or, rather, it is not a standard policy for us to release investigations to the public upon completion. Part of our process is that there is a Freedom of Information Act process that allows the average citizen to access, as security allows, any investigation that is conducted by the Department of Defense, and really by the U.S. government. And that is the process. We understand that in the case of this investigation with Reuters, there is a Freedom of Information Act request on the table, and once we have completed all of the reviews of that investigation, we will expedite the response to that Freedom of Information Act request. Clearly in this case there are rules of engagement issues; there are tactics, techniques and procedures that are addressed based on what our forces are doing in combat. And therefore there will be elements of that that are classified, and that will be appropriately redacted and then passed on to Reuters.
Q General, you referred to the initial preliminary findings on the Fallujah investigation. Does that investigation acknowledge that the police were shot by U.S. soldiers, and is there an explanation of why the shooting began?
GEN. SANCHEZ: In the Fallujah incident? Yeah, the initial reports were very clear that there was some initial fire that took place as that truck of policemen turned around and came back towards the patrol. And once that engagement started, it didn't end. It was about a 30-second engagement that occurred. It ended with that truck full of Iraqis having been engaged, and there was a policeman killed.
Q How many seconds?
GEN. SANCHEZ: It was about a 30-second engagement that took place.
Q General Sanchez, may we know the results of the investigation into al Jazeera's correspondent who was detained at the airport about two weeks ago? And there are also some other investigations, I believe, that were on other journalists working for al Jazeera. Could we get those results, or could I meet with you or your staff afterwards to talk about how to obtain the results of those investigations?
And, also, in terms of the personal security detachment for the members of the Governing Council, who are those people? Are they Iraqis? Are they coalition forces? Were they chosen by the Governing Council? And what's the time on -- when are you going to have that personal security detachment stood up?
GEN. SANCHEZ: First of all, on the investigations and the al Jazeera -- yeah, you can get with my staff, and they can talk to you about getting you information on those investigations.
In terms of the personal security detachments, we have resourced the Council. We have provided training capability, and we have got the training programs. We have got the resources in terms of dollars and equipment for those PSDs, and there's a variety of capability that is out there by the Governing Council members, and you'd have to ask them individually as to who exactly they are. But they are trained, and validated and equipped in coordination with the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: Yes, I do know that we are in the process with MCPA, Mr. Slocombe's office, and the National Security Directorate is looking at the reopening of military colleges. I am not aware of us looking at those students who were about to graduate, but I can ask those questions for you. But I do know that we are in fact looking at how is it that we embrace some of those young men and get them back into the security structures again.
Q Again question about an investigation. If an investigation ends up by saying that American soldiers acted according to rules of engagement, do the families killed in a friendly fire incident have the right of compensation?
GEN. SANCHEZ: That -- I wouldn't even venture to give you an answer from the podium. I think I'd have to get some lawyer help with that one. Okay? But we can answer your question. Okay, we'll take that on and provide you an answer.
Q Thank you.
GEN. SANCHEZ: Okay. In the back.
Q General, the 82nd Airborne Division was engaged in the village of Al Sidjar (ph) the last few days. I wondered if you were familiar with that incident, if you could tell us something about that incident. Is there an investigation ongoing? What's the status of that investigation? Will there be any compensation given? Our understanding is that the 82nd Airborne called in close air support and there were six missiles fired into a farmhouse --
GEN. SANCHEZ: That's correct.
Q -- and TV pictures showed a lot of wailing women. Can I ask something also about this? These kinds of incidents in some sense make your job more difficult, because although you may be defending -- your troops may be defending themselves, they are also generating a lot of ill feeling in the community, if there should be some kinds of mistakes made and people attacked who perhaps were not involved in initially shooting.
GEN. SANCHEZ: The answer is yes. First of all, let me tell you what occurred on that incident. There was an engagement. There was some initial -- there was a return of fire on the part of the 82nd that if I remember correctly it killed one or two Iraqis. There was a group that broke contact and went into this building. And at the point in time where an individual opens fire on U.S. forces they become a hostile force. It is our mission, and it is within our rules of engagement to pursue that hostile force until he either surrenders or he is defeated or destroyed. And that is exactly what the 82nd did in that circumstance when that enemy force, that enemy hostile force, had gone into that building and they responded with overwhelming combat power to defeat that enemy force. Is it likely that there may have been other individuals in that building? Possibly. And when, as I've stated before in this forum, when that occurs, and there are innocent Iraqis that are either killed or wounded, we go back and we take care of those incidents.
Q Is there further investigation in this incident, or not?
GEN. SANCHEZ: At this point in time I did not initiate an investigation into that incident. That was clearly a hostile force that was attempting to break contact with my forces, and the application of force at that point was appropriate, and from my perspective demanded.
Q (Question in Arabic.)
GEN. SANCHEZ: I couldn't give you an answer. The question is when are we going to judge or put on trial the high-value detainees, the top 55. I couldn't give you an answer on the exact timelines for doing that. And then the follow-on is will you be allowed to view the trials. Once again, that will depend on the right mechanisms being set up and the right procedures having been set up, and at this point they have not been. I know that there's discussions with the Governing Council that have occurred, at least very preliminary questions being asked about what is the right timing, what are the right forms, what are the right court structures that may be used for this. Okay? But no substantive, final proposals that I'm aware of.
Q General Sanchez, I just want to make sure I have the rules of engagement correct. If an enemy force fires one shot at a U.S. patrol, and then one man goes into a building that you know is filled with women and children, under our current rules U.S. soldiers have the right to destroy that building? Because that's what it sounded like you said.
GEN. SANCHEZ: That's -- what I said was that we will use the force that is necessary to defeat an enemy force that has been declared hostile. And when an individual engages our force, he is now a hostile -- he or that enemy is a hostile force, okay? And -- but I'll tell you that my soldiers on the ground every day are making decisions to engage or not engage, and to capture or kill people. And it is a commander on the ground or a leader on the ground that makes that decision based on the circumstances. And if he decides that he needs that aircraft, that close air support to come in here to defeat the enemy that is in that building, and he makes that decision, I support it.
Q Whoever else is in there?
GEN. SANCHEZ: If there is an enemy force in there that is attempting to kill my soldiers, yes.
Okay, one more question. No more? Okay, great. Thank you all very much. Have a great day.