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Pentagon: No Deals for Saddam

Pentagon: No Deals for Saddam

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(AP) Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it was too late for Saddam to seek exile.

"If you're asking if we're still encouraging him to leave, the answer is no," he said.

But while the secretary said it was too late for Saddam or his top aides to save themselves, it was not beyond that point for members of Iraqi's military, and he urged them to stage an uprising.

"Iraqi officers and soldiers can still survive and help to rebuild a free Iraq, if they do the right thing," Rumsfeld said.

"They must now decide whether they want to share the fate of Saddam Hussein or whether they'll save themselves, turn on that condemned dictator and help the forces of Iraq's liberation," he said.

Rumsfeld said there are contacts between the United States and some Iraqi military leaders. "There's still contact, and you never know" when the contacts might bear fruit, he said.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, giving an update on the U.S.-led campaign, said U.S. forces were "on the outskirts of Baghdad right now."

He refused to comment on reports that coalition forces had launched an assault on Baghdad International Airport, about ten miles outside the city.

Asked about the widespread power outage in the Iraqi capital, Myers said the United States had "not targeted the power grid in Baghdad."

Asked if he and other U.S. commanders knew why much of the city was in the dark, Myers said, "at this point we do not."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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