He and two other Samara men, who said they are in separate guerrilla units, insisted in interviews with The Associated Press that their fight isn't aimed at returning Saddam to power. They said it's about ending the U.S.-led occupation and restoring Iraqi rule.
"I am fighting for my country — not Saddam Hussein — to get rid of the infidels. Very few people are fighting for him. They gave up on him at the end of the war," said one of the men, an unemployed electrical engineer.
Their claims to be active in guerrilla attacks could not be independently confirmed.
The U.S. Air Force used some of the largest weapons in its inventory to attack targets in central Iraq in an escalating crackdown on suspected guerrilla strongholds, the military said Wednesday.
In other developments:
"In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force," Mr. Bush told academics gathered at Banqueting House.
He compared the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's former regime in Iraq to the Nazi aggression, communism and ethnic cleansing that once menaced the European continent. He reminded his audience of the critical work the Allies did to set postwar Germany on the path to democracy — and thanked the British for their help in setting Iraq on a similar course now.
"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people, only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins," he said.
All three insurgents interviewed said their guerrilla groups are fighting without instructions from Saddam or any other contact with Iraq's former leader. They also said there is no shortage of potential fighters among Iraqi males, most of whom have at least rudimentary military training from compulsory army service during Saddam's rule.
The general described the guerrillas as long on enthusiasm and commitment but short on training and organization, and he said they do not coordinate their activities. Nevertheless, they can cause trouble for U.S. troops, he argued, because the Americans go about in small units that are easier to attack.
In an interview arranged by the engineer, the third guerrilla said he mostly coordinates operations of his guerrilla group but has joined in several attacks, most recently on Nov. 9. In that attack, he said, a convoy of "CIA cars" was ambushed with machine gun fire.
"I do whatever I am capable of to fight the Americans," he said at his home where photos of Saddam were plastered on the walls. "I hit anything I can. We Iraqis know everything about weapons — mortars, guns, RPGs, you name it."
The businessman, who said he has 14 children, said his group has about 30 members.
The other two men declined to estimate the number of fighters in Samara. "All I can say is that the number of mujahedeen (holy warriors) is increasing and not decreasing," the general said.
The general said the fighting won't stop until U.S. and other troops get out.
"We don't care who replaces them," he said. "The important thing is to throw out the occupation."
Meanwhile, a video that has surfaced on the Internet apparently aims to recruit militants to fight U.S. troops in Iraq, showing blurred, shaky footage of an American Humvee under fire and an Iraqi praising his brother for launching a suicide attack against U.S. occupiers.
The Associated Press accessed the unsigned video Wednesday on a Web site known for Muslim extremist and anti-U.S. postings. It was unclear when the video first appeared on the Internet. Most of the footage was dated in July.