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US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned today that violence in Iraq could worsen, comparing insurgents to desperate Nazi SS officers and Japanese kamikaze pilots at the end of World War II.
Insurgents were desperate to stop political progress in Iraq, Mr Rumsfeld said, following one of the bloodiest weeks for US forces since the US-led invasion in 2003.
"I think it's reasonable to expect that violence could, again, increase for a time, as it did during the last elections," Mr Rumsfeld said, looking ahead to a referendum on a new constitution in October and elections in December.
"As allied forces (pushed) forward in both the European and Pacific theatres in World War II, the enemy's tactics, such as the cult of death among SS forces and the kamikazes in the Pacific, led to some of the bloodiest fighting of that war," Mr Rumsfeld said.
"But those deadly acts, and they were deadly, proved not to be harbingers of victory."
Mr Rumsfeld cautioned that observers should not "draw the wrong conclusion" over any spike in violence.