U.S. troops in Baghdad should try harder to bring order to the Iraqi capital and make its hospitals safe, the head of Britain's aid agency said Friday.
''There must be a much bigger effort to stop all this looting and violence,'' international aid minister Clare Short told BBC radio. ''We need a massively bigger effort. It should focus on hospitals.''
The collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime has led to mass looting in Baghdad, a city of 5 million occupied by thinly stretched U.S. forces, and in Basra, where British forces are in charge. Looting also was reported Friday in the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.
U.S. battalion commanders have pledged patrols to at least stop the looting of hospitals, which Short said lacked electricity, drugs and water supplies.
''An occupying power has a duty to make sure that civilians are cared for, to keep order and to keep civilian administration ticking over,'' Short said.
OK -- just as long as we don't have to divert troops from this critical, life-and-death mission:
The Pentagon began moving ground-based equipment into Baghdad last night to allow round-the-clock programming throughout Iraq. Officials said Gen. Tommy R. Franks, head of the U.S. Central Command, took a personal interest in the project and has ordered that a mobile television production studio be delivered to Baghdad as soon as possible so the station can begin carrying local news stories.
Surely you understand that this has to be a top priority:
Soon a TV-radio studio trailer will be flown to Iraq from London, and then fourteen transmission packages, including towers and transmitters, will be shipped, providing, officials say, coverage to nearly all of Iraq within the next 45 days, all part of the effort to convince the Iraqis that the U.S., and George W. Bush in particular, are friends.
--Terry Moran on last night's ABC World News Tonight (transcript mine)
Mission-critical -- obviously.