BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier has been killed by guerrillas in Iraq as
one of the key U.S.
architects of the war to topple Saddam Hussein toured the chaotic and lawless country.
With U.S. troops being killed every week in Iraq, the United States is considering
returning to the
United Nations to try to persuade countries to send in soldiers or share costs, running about $4 billion a
But at this stage, diplomats at the United Nations say, no one has any idea
what kind of a U.N.
resolution would bring in help and persuade nations to send soldiers. Exactly what role the United
Nations could assume is unclear, they said.
A military spokesman in Baghdad said the soldier was attacked with small arms
and rocket propelled
grenade fire early on Saturday as he guarded a bank in Baghdad's Mansur district.
The military had initially said the attack was on Friday.
The spokesman also said one U.S. soldier was wounded when a convoy came under
attack on Friday
from guerrillas with guns and grenades in the town of Miqdadiya, northeast of Baghdad.
Another U.S. soldier was killed on Friday when his Humvee drove over an explosive
device in the
restive Sunni Muslim town of Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad.
The deaths brought the number of U.S. troops killed in combat to 149 -- more
than the 147 killed in the
1991 Gulf War. Since President George W. Bush declared major combat over on May 1, 35 U.S. soldiers
have been killed in hostile incidents.
Most of the guerrilla attacks on U.S. soldiers have been concentrated in Baghdad
and in Sunni areas
to the north and west where support for Saddam is still widespread.
The United States, which is now facing a high cost in cash and casualties as
it tries to control Iraq,
said on Friday it was open to giving the United Nations a bigger role in Iraq, especially if other
governments respond by offering more to peacekeeping and reconstruction.
"We're open to this prospect. We're indeed talking about it with other
people, but at this point I can't
draw to a conclusion," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is touring Iraq to see for himself
the conditions in the
country. Many Iraqis say Washington has failed to restore order and basic services after the fall of
Saddam, and anger is growing.
But Wolfowitz said in an interview published on Friday that no amount of planning
could have foreseen
the collapse in law and order after Baghdad fell.
"The so-called forces of law and order just kind of collapsed. There is
not a single plan that would
have dealt with that," the Los Angeles Times quoted him as saying.
"This is a country that was ruled by a gang of terrorist criminals and
they're still around. They're
threatening Iraqis and killing Americans."
NO SIGN OF BANNED WEAPONS, OR SADDAM
Wolfowitz is deputy to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and is seen as one
of the most pro-war
figures in the Bush administration, arguing military action was essential to rid Iraq of weapons of mass
destruction and of Saddam.
But no banned weapons have been discovered, and Bush has been under attack
from Democrats who
said he used faulty intelligence to justify war.
To defend itself against the charges, the White House on Friday released declassified
said there was "compelling evidence" Iraq sought uranium for nuclear weapons.
Saddam has also not been found, a fact that U.S. officials concede is fuelling
guerrilla attacks against
American soldiers. An audiotape said to be made by Saddam was broadcast on Arabic television on
Thursday, urging Iraqis to launch a jihad, or holy struggle, to oust occupying troops.
A U.S. intelligence official said analysis by the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) had found the tape
was probably the voice of Saddam and could have been recorded in recent days.
The U.S. military said on Friday it had detained 611 people, including 62 former
"regime leaders", in its
latest operation aimed at eliminating armed Iraqi resistance.