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Bremer: U.S. Faces 'Growing' Terror Threat in Iraq

Paul Bremer, right, speaks at a July 24, 2003, Pentagon briefing as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld looks on.
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Paul Bremer, right, speaks at a July 24, 2003, Pentagon briefing as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld looks on.

With the recent attack on the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, it's clear that U.S.-led forces in Iraq face a "growing threat" of terrorism, the chief U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq says. Paul Bremer says it will take two years to train an Iraqi police force, and postwar reconstruction will cost billions more. NPR's Juan Williams speaks with Bremer on Morning Edition.

Bremer said that while U.S. forces are coming under daily attack, security in Iraq is "not as bad as people think it is. Most of the country is at peace..." But he says the more immediate threat is international terrorists. "That is a growing threat we have to deal with."

Bremer also said that while U.S. troops are responsible for overall security in Iraq, the safety of the U.N. compound was the responsibility of the private security force hired by U.N. officials.

It's unclear how the United States will pay for the additional billions of dollars it will cost to rebuild Iraq. Bremer said the budget situation will be very difficult "even if we succeed in getting oil production back up to prewar levels, which we hope to do by October 2004."

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Juan Williams
Juan Williams, one of America's leading journalists, is a news analyst, appearing regularly on NPR's Morning Edition. Knowledgeable and charismatic, Williams brings insight and depth — hallmarks of NPR programs — to a wide spectrum of issues and ideas.