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Monday, April 26, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Iraq Notebook
Kerry criticizes firing of worker over photo


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DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrat John Kerry yesterday criticized the firing of a cargo worker who photographed flag-draped coffins of U.S. soldiers, saying such images shouldn't be hidden from the public.

"I believe that keeping faith with those who served also requires us to understand the sacrifice they're making and to honor it when they come home to the fullest measure," the Massachusetts senator said during a rally for his presidential campaign.

Defense contractor Maytag Aircraft fired cargo worker Tami Silicio and her husband, David Landry, after a photo she took of coffins inside a cargo plane appeared on the front page of The Seattle Times. The photo showed workers at Kuwait International Airport securing 20 flag-draped coffins for the trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

A few days after the photo ran in The Times, a Maytag official told Silicio and her husband, David Landry, they both were fired: Silicio for taking and releasing the photo and Landry for helping to pull off the effort, The Times reported yesterday.

The White House has said President Bush believes family privacy should be respected, but Kerry said the public should see the images.

"We shouldn't hide that from America," Kerry said to loud applause from his supporters. "If they are good enough to go and fight and die, they're good enough to be received home with full honors in America."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a POW during the Vietnam War, said yesterday, "The public has the right" to see the pictures. Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation" program, McCain said, "We cannot hide the realities from the American people."

Oil terminal remains shut after boat attack near Basra

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq's main oil terminal near Basra remained closed yesterday, a day after an unsuccessful suicide boat attack. Exports could resume as early as today. The terminal was not damaged in the attack but was shut down for damage assessment and a review of security. Three U.S. Navy sailors were killed as the three boats exploded when Navy boats approached.

The terminal accounts for around 85 percent of Iraq's 1.9 million barrels per day in exports.

Saudi official supported buying off Iraqi army
 
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WASHINGTON — The Bush administration might have avoided a deadly insurgency in Iraq by buying the loyalty of its former military for about $200 million, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States said yesterday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan was asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether journalist Bob Woodward was correct when he said that Bandar had advised Bush to take $200 million and "buy off, in effect, the Iraqi army."

Bandar replied: "I don't talk about my conversations with the president ... but I believe that would have been the right way to go."

Some of the anger U.S. troops face in Iraq stems from a decision last year to dissolve Saddam Hussein's armed forces and fire thousands of public-sector workers in a drive to cleanse Iraq of its Baath party past.

Four killed when rockets hit hospital, hotel in Mosul

MOSUL, Iraq — Katyusha rockets hit a hospital, a hotel and a police facility in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, killing two hospital and two hotel workers and wounding 13 people, police said.

Anti-U.S. insurgents have regularly fired rockets and mortar bombs at U.S. bases and Iraqi police stations, sometimes hitting residential areas instead.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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