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10/19/03 - RUMSFELD ON THE COALITION IN IRAQ - 2003-10-20


Since Iraq’s liberation, some eighty-thousand Iraqis have been working with coalition forces to provide security. “Now, as Basel Misfer, an Iraqi police lieutenant, points out: “We [the Iraqis] make the decisions.” As U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says, these Iraqis “are not simply observing or helping”:

“These eighty-thousand Iraqis since May 1st, working closely with coalition forces, have suffered sixty-seven killed in battle, and they’ve suffered more than one-hundred-fifteen wounded in action. So they, too, are on the front line in the global war on terror, as they should be.”

The coalition and Iraqi forces are fighting the remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime and terrorists who have come to Iraq from other countries. The Iraqis are being assisted in their efforts to restore security by the thirty-two nations that comprise the coalition. And some of these countries, says Mr. Rumsfeld, “have just recovered their own freedom”:

“Consider some of the countries that are contributing troops in Iraq today: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. They all have forces in Iraq assisting the coalition.”

Iraq’s recovery will take time. Iraq suffered from thirty-five years of Saddam Hussein’s misrule. Iraqis are going to have to rebuild their country themselves. What the coalition has to do, says Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, “is help them get a political process going, so that sovereignty can be transferred...help them kick-start their economy, and give them some assistance.”

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