Interview: Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV on Iraq and the Alleged Revenge Killings of GIs

On July 11, 2006, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, spokesman for the Multinational Force Iraq, spoke with ABC News' Terry McCarthy about the state of Iraq after an An al-Qaeda-linked group posted a Web video showing the mutilated bodies of two U.S. soldiers. The group claiming it killed the soldiers in revenge for the rape-slaying of a young Iraqi woman in Mahmudiyah by American troops from the same unit.

Caldwell addressed the video's release, its potential effect on stabilizing Iraq, and a timetable for troop withdrawal, among other issues. Here is a transcript of the interview:

Question: I wanted to ask you what the propaganda effects you see coming from the video of the two mutilated bodies and the claim that it was for the revenge of the raped girl in Mahmudiyah?

Answer: What it proves to all of us here that are serving in Iraq is that we really are against the evil enemy out there. Someone that would take people who are dead and then brutalize their bodies and then show it on TV like that, and on the Internet, just shows a distinct difference in how we approach these kinds of things and how they approach these kinds of things.

Q: You don't fear by using news events of these five men being charged that the insurgents are more media-sophisticated? Because clearly, they had it for more than a month and chose to release it in a news cycle.

A: Well, we don't know how long they've had it available to release. That's probably a question but they've obviously had it. But what I would tell you is this -- when you look at what's happened in Mahmudiya, and the fact that we have identified a situation that occurred down there where there's the death of an Iraqi family, we went ahead and did an investigation. We've found some reason to charge our people and they've been charged. We right now are proceeding forward with a full and open and transparent investigation to that case, that's how we approach it when we see that somebody has done something wrong. Whereas in the case of this anti-Iraqi elements that we're up against, their approach was we'll go out and kill more people, we'll brutalize their bodies, we'll show it on the internet, I mean there's just a -- just a dramatic difference in how they approach life and how we approach life. We're out for justice. They're out for revenge.

Q: Moving on to operation forward together launched with 50,000 troops. How would you assess the effectiveness of the initiative given the violence we are seeing today?

A: Operation forward together was the intent of the prime ministers to reduce the level of the violence in Baghdad. Because as we all know, as goes Baghdad, will go the rest of this country. And so, every anti-Iraqi element is focused there. It is not progressing as well as perhaps we had hoped it would. We clearly had thought that the level of violence would be further down than it is today. But there's so many good things that are also occurring. As long as we're steadily declining in the overall violence, we're having success, we'll keep going out there so we'll keep figuring out how to make adjustments and tweak the plan and make refinements so that we can, in fact, give the people of Baghdad the security, the comfort of knowing that they can be outside their homes and be secure.

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