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Rumsfeld On Iraq

Most of the violence in Iraq is confined to three provinces that are home to approximately one-third of Iraq's population of some twenty-seven-million people.

U.S. Army spokesman Major General Rick Lynch says that today in Iraq, "Seventy-five percent of the attacks. . . .take place in [the provinces of] Baghdad, al-Anbar, or Salaheddin. And in the other fifteen provinces," says General Lynch, "they all averaged less than six attacks a day, and twelve of those provinces averaged less than two attacks a day."

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says there might be fewer terrorist attacks if Iraqis had "been able to fashion a government at an earlier time":

"A good government, a competent government, a government that's seen as inclusive, and seen as governing from the center, that gets about the task of serving the Iraqi people, I believe that that would be a good thing for the country and would reduce the level of violence. So, to the extent that isn't happening, obviously the level of violence continues and people are being killed, and that's unfortunate."

Mr. Rumsfeld says that after decades of misrule, some Iraqis are hesitant about forming a new government:

"Anytime you have a regime as vicious and repressive as the Saddam Hussein regime was, it was not a formula for creating bold, entrepreneurial people. Anyone who stuck their head up got popped and thrown in jail or killed, put in one of the mass graves. So it does take time for people. . . .to do something they've not done before, and that's to politic and negotiate and compromise."

"There's no question but that the terrorists are trying to prevent the establishment of the government," says U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. But he says, the Iraqi people "have demonstrated a lot of courage."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.