On November 30th, President George W. Bush outlined a comprehensive strategy being used by the United States and its coalition partners to ensure Iraq's transiton to democracy and the defeat of the terrorists. The strategy focuses on three major areas: political, economic, and security.
"On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies. So we're helping the Iraqis build a free society, with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq and to marginalize those who never will. On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives. And On the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq."
Crucial to this effort, says Mr. Bush, is the training of Iraq's military and security forces:
"At this time last year there were only a handful of Iraqi battalions ready for combat. Now there are over one-hundred twenty Iraqi army and police combat battalions in the fight against the terrorists, typically comprised of between three-hundred-fifty and eight-hundred Iraqi forces. Of these, about eighty Iraqi battalions are fighting side by side with coalition forces, and about forty others are taking the lead in the fight. Most of these forty battalions are controlling their own battle-space, conducting their own operations against the terrorists with some coalition support. . . .We're also transferring forward operating bases to Iraqi control. . . .From many of these bases, the Iraqi security forces are planning and executing operations against the terrorists and bringing security and pride to the Iraqi people."
On December 15th, Iraqis will go to the polls to elect a new government that will lead them for the next four years. "With each ballot cast," said President Bush, "the Iraqi people have sent a clear message to the terrorists: Iraqis will not be intimidated. The Iraqi people will determine the destiny of their country."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.