WASHINGTON – The United States soon will release photographs of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's sons to prove they are dead, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld (search) said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill after briefing members of Congress, Rumsfeld said he had not decided precisely when the photos would be released.
"I said, soon," Rumsfeld said.
Some skeptical Iraqis have called on U.S. authorities to prove that Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed in a shootout with American forces in the northern city of Mosul Tuesday. U.S. officials had debated whether to release the photos, likely to be gruesome because of the way Saddam's sons were killed.
"The disbelief runs very deep, and it goes to the level almost of paranoia," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz (search) said Wednesday on PBS' NewsHour. "One of the great effects of yesterday for Iraqis is to demonstrate our seriousness. But we need to make sure we believe this."
Wolfowitz and other Bush administration officials said Wednesday that the deaths would probably lessen, but not eliminate, attacks against American troops in Iraq. Proving Uday and Qusay are dead would help press the point that Saddam no longer has any influence in Iraq.
"Now more than ever all Iraqis can know that the former regime is gone and will not be coming back," Bush said.
Saddam probably is helping to coordinate those attacks, Wolfowitz said.
"If he's alive, I think he's contributing to it," he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Wolfowitz said American officials underestimated the strength of resistance in Iraq by Saddam's supporters and have done other "stupid things" there.
"It was difficult to imagine before the war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue fighting, fighting what has been sometimes called a guerrilla war," said Wolfowitz, the second-ranking official at the Pentagon.
Separately, the head of the U.S.-led occupation force in Iraq said he plans to have electricity, water and health care back to prewar levels in two months.
L. Paul Bremer (search), the U.S. administrator of Iraq, said his plans also call for 1,000 Iraqi schools to be rehabilitated by fall and millions of textbooks to be stripped of Saddam's Baath Party ideology.
The admission of mistakes by Wolfowitz was a departure from the Bush administration's efforts to put events in Iraq in a positive light.
"Some conditions were worse than we anticipated, particularly in the security area," Wolfowitz, returned Tuesday from a five-day tour of Iraq, said at a Pentagon news conference.
He named three: First, no Iraqi military units "of significant size" defected to the American side during the war.
"Second, the police turned out to require a massive overhaul," Wolfowitz said at a Pentagon news conference.
"Third, and worst of all," he said, was the underestimation of resistance.
Many Iraqis also expect the impossible from the Americans, Wolfowitz said.
"Sometimes it's nice to have the reputation for being almost godlike, but, frankly, I think it produces this phenomenon that if something isn't happening, it must be because the Americans don't want it to happen, and they begin to invent the most elaborate reasons to explain it," Wolfowitz said. "And the fact is -- you know it -- we often just make mistakes. We do stupid things."
Bremer presented his plans to President Bush and members of Congress earlier this week and to reporters at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Rebuilding Iraq's economy will take at least three years and billions of dollars, Bremer said. Enhancing Iraq's electricity and water systems to meet its citizens' needs will cost an estimated $13 billion and $16 billion, respectively, Bremer said.
"That's obviously a lot of money, even in Washington," Bremer said. "I do believe the American taxpayer will almost certainly be asked to send more money so we can consolidate the rebuilding of Iraq."
Bremer said it was impossible to tell yet how much the U.S. share of the bill would be. The World Bank is assessing the situation and will come up with a cost estimate before an international conference in October, when countries will pledge money to help in the reconstruction effort.
Bremer said his plans call for having a battalion of the new Iraqi army trained at the end of 60 days. He said he hopes to have eight battalions of a new Iraqi civil defense corps trained in two months, as well as restoring an Iraqi border guard, reopening a police academy and training judges for a new criminal court system.
Elections could be held in Iraq as soon as next year, but that timetable depends on how quickly Iraqis can decide on a new constitution, Bremer said.