New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 25, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 8A — HeralD-ZBJTUNG — Friday, April 25, 2003
Garner aims for operating government by next week
Photos by K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-Zeitung
As Thursday evening’s Junior ROTC awards banquet comes to a close, Master Sgt. John Medrano prepares to dismiss the seniors in the program one last time.
‘Td rather be in the Marine Corps,” Mehrer said. “Hopefully, 111 do that. In the Marine Corps, you have the esprit de corps. You have, in my opinion, I think, better enlisted personnel — It’s quality over quantity.”
Fellow Cadet Sgt. Michael Menser, a sophomore, said he wanted to go in the Marine Corps after graduating.
He said he wanted to go through the Marine officer candidate’s school while an A&M student, and then get a sniper’s qualification or jump into the data processing field.
But data processing and computers aren’t in Cadet Capt. Jake Saucedo’s plans, although A&M is.
Saucedo, a senior, just received a full four-year Navy Junior ROTC Marine Option scholarship to A&M. He wants to be a Marine infantry officer upon graduation.
“I want to go infantry — it’s challenging and a little more physical than the other jobs,” Saucedo said.
Watching Saucedo and the other aspiring officers were two grizzled veterans.
One, Joe Guzman, the local past commander for Past 179
Winner of several of the most prestigious awards given Thursday evening, Battalion Commander Cadet Lt. Col. Joseph Mehrer (right) accepts the Fernando Diaz Memorial Scholarship Award from Master Sgt. John Medrano.
of the American Legion, was presenting awards for scholastic and military achievement.
He said Marine Corps JROTC was a good program.
“It teaches them discipline and they have a good curriculum that they can learn about our country,” Guzman said.
Guzman also said Marine Corps JROTC was an opportunity to learn all of the goals that are ahead — schools and colleges available once cadets are in the serv ice.
Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. “Ski” Haneiwich, of a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, said the kids learned a lot from the program, and there was more to come for those going in the military.
“I think its great. They get a little more discipline than what they’d get at home,” Haneiwich said. “They learn how to take orders. It teaches them the basics of leader-ship, and if they do go into the service, they’ll pick up more.”
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) — Iraq’s American administrator said Thursday he hopes to get government ministries up and running by late next week, and if necessary “we’ll buy the furniture” for them in this looted and burned-out capital.
Jay Gamer said little, however, in his first Baghdad news conference about the potentially explosive issue of naming a top political leadership for Iraq. In a possible sign of trouble, an important Shiite Muslim cleric said that sect’s highest authority would refuse to meet with the Americans.
U.S. troops, meanwhile, made a new ratch in their pursuit of the top figures in Saddam Hussein’s toppled regime. Tariq Aziz, the former deputy prime minister and one of the most visible members in the leadership, was in custody, U.S. Central Command announced Thursday.
Aziz’s capture meant 12 of the 55 most wanted members of the regime were now in custody, and Sen. Bob Graham, former cha irman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday night the arrest of another top Iraq official, in Syria, would be announced shortly.
In Baghdad’s streets, people pressed on with their daily struggle to restore some normalcy to fife two weeks after the U.S.-British invasion force ousted Saddam, took control of Iraq and set off a rampage of looting and arson by Iraqis.
Electricity, knocked out during U.S. bombing in early April, was only slowly being restored Supplies of clean pumped water, dependent on electric power, remained largely cut off. Almost all shops remained closed. In a still mostly lawless city, looters
picked at buildings not yet emptied of fixtures and merchandise.
“We need security, we need peace, we need law,” a writer and retired English teacher, Youarash Haidou, told Garner at a “town hall meeting” that started the retired general’s day in Baghdad, after he spent two days touring northern Iraq.
The “town hall meeting,” staged in a giant conference hall behind the security of U.S. tanks and combat troops, was attended by no more than 60 university professors and government bureaucrats, all men, chosen in some undisclosed manner.
“My superior came to us last night and said we were required to attend,” one academic confided to a reporter.
The process has been similarly murky for moving Iraq toward an “interim authority,” a provisional government led by a new president that would prepare the way for democratic elections two years or more in the future, in a country divided between Sunni and Shiite, Kurd and Arab.
In Washington, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Tile Associated Press that the “beginning of an interim authority” would come soon, though he added, “I don’t know quite what ‘soon’ means.”
But he said the United States will not allow a religious government, like Iran’s, to take hold in Iraq, as some Shiites demand.
“If you’re suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn’t going to happen,” he said.
A first “all-factions” meeting April 15 in southern Iraq,
sponsored by Garner, was attended by 80 representatives but boycotted by some invited groups opposed to the U.S. military administration. Some believe Washington will force a president on Iraq — Ahmad Chalabi, a longtime exile little known in Iraq who was supported by U.S. government funds in building an opposition movement.
A second meeting will be held in the coming days in the Baghdad area, Garner’s spokesman Nathan Jones said.
Behind the scenes, prominent Iraqis converged on Baghdad for long lunches and quiet talks, jockeying for position in what may be a weeks-long series of U.S.-sponsored sessions to select a national leadership.
“Meetings are going on all over the city,” al-Shabbut said. After decades of rigid one-party rule, “people are getting to know each other.”
Many in Iraq’s Shiite majority, though long suppressed under Saddam, have voiced opposition to the U.S. military presence. In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, a leading Baghdad Shiite cleric said his religious institution would not countenance meetings with Gamer.
“We don’t put our hand in the hand of the foreigners. People should rule themselves by themselves. The Americans should leave our country peacefully,” said Sayyed All al-Kathimi al-Waethi.
Garner said he hoped to have ministries working within days. “By the end of next week," he told reporters, “the governmental process will have Iraqi faces on it.” The Americans are encouraging civil servants to report for work.ALMOST EVERYONE CAN AFFORDA NEW ENERGY HOME... in New Braunfels
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