The Iraqi people have endured bombings, kidnappings, assassinations, and other terrorist acts since the U.S.-led coalition that liberated Iraq handed over sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government on June 28th. The violence has been carried out by foreign terrorists and remnants of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime. But, as Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar said, “Time and place are on our side.” And U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in Baghdad where he met with Iraqi officials, says Iraq’s leaders are acting with “determination and courage”:
“I also reaffirmed our determination and commitment to keep working with the interim government as they go about the process of establishing democracy on the basis of freedom and human rights in Iraq. We are facing challenges in the weeks ahead but we are determined to overcome [them].”
Iraqi forces are beginning to play a larger role in keeping their country safe. There are now about two-hundred-twenty-thousand Iraqis serving in the police force, the National Guard, the Infrastructure Protection Service, the Border Patrol, and the army.
President George W. Bush says that the U.S.-led coalition has “a clear, specific and continuing mission in Iraq”:
“As we train Iraqi security forces, we’ll help those forces to find and destroy the killers. We’ll protect infrastructure from the attacks.... Operating in a sovereign nation, our military will act in close consultation with the Iraqi government.”
The U.S. “will stay as long as the stability of Iraq requires,” says President Bush, “and only as long as their presence is needed and requested by the Iraqi government.”