Iraqi People, Government Will Win Victory in Iraq, Rumsfeld Says
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
BALAD, Iraq, July 12, 2006 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived here today on an unannounced visit to meet with U.S. troops. He was then to travel to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and senior U.S. military leaders.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks to troops at Camp Anaconda, in Balad, Iraq, July 12. Photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew Oquendo, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Coalition forces will win in Iraq when they help the Iraqi people take the fight to the terrorists and achieve their own success in the country, Rumsfeld said at a town hall meeting of U.S. military members at Logistics Support Area Anaconda here.
"Success ultimately will be won by the Iraqi people over a period of time, and they're invested in it, let there be no doubt," he said.
The Iraqi people have shown their commitment to their country by supporting the new government, providing tips to coalition forces to facilitate the capture of terrorists, serving in security forces, and voting, Rumsfeld said. U.S. servicemembers have made it possible for Iraqis to participate in their government by placing their lives on the line every day, he noted.
"Each of you is playing an important role in this critical effort," he said to the troops. "You're making history every day, and I thank you for it."
Rumsfeld said that each time he comes to Iraq, he sees changes and important progress. Seeing the troops from different services work together at bases such as this reminds him of the importance of a joint future for the military, he said. "Here in Iraq, you're making 'jointness' a reality," he said.
The coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved many successes in Iraq, and the terrorists have suffered many setbacks, but that doesn't mean they will stop fighting, Rumsfeld said. They know that a free, prosperous Iraq will mean certain defeat for them, and they will never give up their cause of terrorizing free people, he said.
"These enemies are not going to quit -- not in Iraq, not in Afghanistan or elsewhere," he said. "The question of our time is ... whether we fight the enemy on their terms or on ours, on our territory or on their territory."
Terrorists know they cannot defeat coalition forces in battle, so their only option is to try to break the will of the American people, Rumsfeld said. But their efforts on that front have failed as well, he noted, because Americans know the fight is important.
"Fortunately, I think the American people have got a darn good center of gravity," he said. "We wouldn't be the country we are today if the American people didn't have a good center of gravity."
Rumsfeld's visit to Iraq comes after stops in Afghanistan, where he met with U.S. troops and commanders, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and in Tajikistan, where he met with national and defense leaders to bolster military-to-military relations between the United States and that country.