The bodies of more than fifty Iraqi men, women, and children, reportedly taken hostage by terrorists, were recovered from the Tigris river, near the town of Madaen, forty kilometers south of Baghdad. Nineteen other Iraqis were found shot to death in a football stadium in the town of Haditha, two-hundred kilometers northwest of Baghdad.
Appearing on television to mark the anniversary of the birthday of the prophet Mohammad, Jalal Talabani, Iraq's new president, said terrorists with "Iraqi blood on their hands" would never receive amnesty. There are now more than one-hundred-forty thousand police officers in Iraq and the new Iraqi army has some ninety-thousand soldiers. White House spokesman Scott McClellan says that despite setbacks, "There is a lot of important progress being made in Iraq":
"I think you're seeing that Iraqi security forces are stepping up more and more to assume responsibility for their future...for defending and protecting the Iraqi people from those who want to derail the transition to democracy."
President George W. Bush says that the U.S. will continue its efforts to "prepare more capable Iraqi security forces":
"As those forces become more self-reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its coalition partners will increasingly be in a supporting role."
"In the end, Iraqis must be able to defend their own country," says President Bush. And the U.S. "will help that proud, new nation secure its liberty."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.