The strategy to complete the mission in Iraq, said President George W. Bush, has both a military and a political component. The principal military task, he said, is to find and defeat the terrorists.
"And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."
Mr. Bush also outlined three necessary steps for military success. First, partnering coalition troops with Iraqi troops in the field, which allows the Iraqis to experience how professional armed forces operate in combat.
The second step is to embed coalition officers with Iraqi troops. As they live, work, and fight with their Iraqi comrades, they can provide battlefield advice, and impart surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat techniques.
The third step is to help the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense to improve coordination, develop command and control structures, and provide leadership training. The goal, said Mr. Bush, is to enable Iraq's new leaders to manage their own forces in the fight against terror:
"The other critical element of our strategy is to help ensure that the hopes Iraqis expressed at the polls in January are translated into a secure democracy."
Politically, the Iraqis have already held free elections and established a transitional national assembly. The next step, Mr. Bush said, is to write a constitution that protects freedom of speech, assembly, and religion, and provides for equal justice under law. After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will vote on it. If it is approved, Iraqis will then elect a new government.
By taking these critical steps and meeting their deadlines, Mr. Bush said, Iraqis will begin the process of binding their multiethnic society together. The ultimate aim is to establish a democracy that respects the will of the majority and protects minority rights. "The combination of political and military reform," said President Bush, "will lay a solid foundation for a free and stable Iraq."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.