In September, Iraq's Eighth Army Division will be going to operate on its own. U.S. Army Brigadier General Dana Pittard, chief of the Iraq Assistance Group, said it is a significant development because the division will no longer be under the tactical control of the U.S.-led coalition.
The Eighth Army Division, according to General Pittard, will establish the path for the rest of Iraq's new army to follow. General Pittard says the transition to Iraqi control is part of the plan to, "set the conditions for the Iraqi people and the government to be successful." He says much of the rest of the Iraqi army will reach a high state of readiness by the end of 2006. Even after some coalition forces leave Iraq, says General Pittard, some military advisers might be left behind.
In a newspaper column, Samir Sumaida'ie, Iraq's ambassador to the U.S., explained what Iraqis are fighting for. "Those in the new government and leaders of civil society in Iraq are putting their lives on the line every day to advance a democratic society," he wrote. "And it is this that our enemies are most afraid of – not U.S. forces but a real democracy in the Middle East that would showcase human rights, women in politics, and the rule of law." Ambassador Samaida'ie says Iraqis, "thirst for normality and a chance to build a future in freedom and dignity. They are fighting and dying for it everyday."
President George W. Bush says the U.S.-led coalition is not going to leave Iraq, "before the mission is complete":
"We're going to stand with this government. Obviously, I wish the violence would go down, but not as much as the Iraqi citizens would wish the violence would go down."
"One thing is clear," says President Bush, "the Iraqi people are showing incredible courage."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.