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WASHINGTON Local and state officials wrangled Wednesday over whether to forcibly evict the thousands of people who were refusing to leave the crippled and contaminated city of New Orleans. Military leaders said that despite a mayoral order, they had no intention to force people out.
At the Pentagon, Lieutenant General Joseph Inge, deputy commander of the U.S. Northern Command, said that "regular troops would not be used" in any evacuation. For now, he added, "it's not clear to us what the exact state of the mission is."
Compass later made clear that no one would be forced out just yet. "We have thousands of people who want to voluntarily evacuate," he said. "Once all the voluntary evacuations have taken place, then we'll concentrate our efforts and forces to mandatorily evacuate them."