President Bush expressed unshakable confidence Saturday that banned weapons will be found in Iraq and complained that Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam Hussein's closest deputies, is not cooperating with U.S. forces who have him in custody.
In what CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller described as "an especially intriguing comment," Mr. Bush said of the former deputy prime minister, the most visible face of the former Iraqi government other than Saddam's, "He didn't know how to tell the truth when he was in office, he doesn't know how to tell the truth when he's been a captive.
The president, at a news conference on his ranch with visiting Australian Prime Minister John Howard, predicted the United States will locate the suspected cache of biological and chemical weapons.
"Iraq's the size of the state of California," he said. "It's got tunnels, caves, all kinds of complexes. We'll find them, and it's just going to be a matter of time to do so."
Aziz surrendered to U.S. forces on April 24, after the collapse of Baghdad. U.S. officials had hoped that Aziz, who made Saddam's case before the world when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, could provide information about the deposed president's whereabouts and Iraq's weapons. But Mr. Bush said Aziz was not cooperating.
With a growing number of Iraqi leaders in custody, American intelligence agents are able to check one's claims against others, officials said. They said the United States has a growing body of documents that help verify responses from Aziz and other captured leaders.
Mr. Bush expressed confidence that the United States will learn what it needs from lower-ranking officials and ordinary citizens.
In other developments:
At the news conference, Mr. Bush and the Australian prime minister took turns praising the other. Howard supported Mr. Bush in the Iraq war despite sharp opposition at home, and the president was repaying him by playing host at his Texas ranch.
Howard's decision to send forces to Iraq ignited mass protests across Australia. Eventually, the numbers at antiwar demonstrations dwindled to tens of thousands, and Howard's popularity soared.
As part of the envisioned peacekeeping plan for Iraq, The AP says, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Denmark, the Netherlands and Bulgaria have committed troops to serve under British or Polish supervision.The United States will commit a division -- about 20,000 troops -- for its sector.
At least at the start, the new troops will augment and not replace the 135,000 American troops currently in Iraq, who will focus on rooting out remaining forces of the old regime and other
armed elements. All troops will report to Gen. Tommy Franks, the American