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Saddam a no-show on Iraqi television

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- It's Day 12 of "Where's Saddam?"

Since Sunday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and other senior DoD officials have noted that no one has seen Saddam Hussein since the operation to open the war.

So many military and civilian personnel in the Pentagon watched a bit more intently when the news networks started announcing Hussein would make an appearance at noon today.

Noon came and instead of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi television put on Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed Sahaf. He read a statement purportedly from Hussein, calling for jihad against the invaders.

But Pentagon officials said the time and conditions would be ripe for the Iraqi dictator to appear. Coalition land forces are less than 50 miles from Baghdad. Coalition air forces have total air dominance over every square inch of the country. The southern oil fields are protected and coalition forces are delivering humanitarian supplies to the Iraqi people.

"If there was ever a time for Saddam to appear and exhort his troops and people, it is now," said Marine Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. "And despite the promise that he was going to appear, he didn't. The fact remains that there hasn't been a verifiable current picture of Saddam Hussein since this began." (American Forces Press Service)

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