BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein (search) is moving around to avoid capture and is unable to direct attacks against American forces, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer said Sunday.
Gen. Richard Myers (search), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited 4th Infantry commanders in Tikrit and later told reporters in Baghdad that Saddam "was too busy trying to save his own skin" to lead the insurgency against American forces.
"He is so busy surviving he is having no impact on the security situation here," Myers said. "It's a big country, but we'll find him."
Hours earlier, a U.S. soldier was killed south of Baghdad (search). The military provided little information about the 2:35 a.m. attack, which brought to 48 the number of U.S. forces killed in combat in Iraq since President Bush declared major combat over on May 1.
So far, 163 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, 16 more than were killed in the 1991 Gulf War.
The U.S. military is undaunted by the wave of guerrilla attacks, Myers said.
"We understand that there are going to be casualties," he said. "The most important thing is to understand why we're here."
American forces focused their hunt for Saddam Hussein around Tikrit, his Tigris River hometown, and reported a near-miss Sunday in a raid to capture his new chief of security -- and perhaps the ousted dictator himself.
Myers said the deaths of Saddam's sons Qusay and Uday, who were killed July 22 in a shootout with U.S. troops, has prompted more Iraqis to come forward with information with tips about the possible whereabouts of the former dictator.
"More Iraqis now are feeling freer to come forward," Myers said. "You wouldn't dare come forward in the past without fear that your children or that some member of your family would be tortured or killed or dragged off to jail."
Myers met with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, and planned to leave Monday.