National Security Adviser Outlines Progress in Iraq
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2005 The U.S. is already on the road to complete victory in Iraq, the president's national security adviser told Sunday talk show hosts today.
"We do have a strategy and we think we're making progress" on the president's National Strategy for Victory in Iraq, Stephen Hadley said on "Fox News Sunday." He added that "this is a difficult thing that's being done."
Hadley said the subtitle of the strategy, unveiled Nov. 30, defined what the Bush administration considers a complete victory: "Helping the Iraqi People Defeat the Terrorists and Build an Inclusive Democratic State."
Hadley said Saddam Hussein loyalists, terrorists and rejectionists still try to derail the political process in the run-up to the elections on Dec. 15, "because they know the political process will be the end for them."
He added that with each election, more and more Iraqis have voted. "That's progress," he said. "That is the strategy for victory -- that and the training of the Iraqi security forces."
Hadley said progress got a boost from an unexpected source: wanted Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Zarqawi claimed his terrorist network was responsible for the Nov. 10 hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, that killed 63 people and wounded hundreds. Those attacks raised the ire of the Muslim world and have changed the thinking of some Iraqis, Hadley said.
"Zarqawi's attack in Jordan has been a real catalyst in making clear the true methods of the terrorists and it has resulted in ... an increasing rejection of Zarqawi and the terrorists by Iraqis, he said on CNN's "Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer." "That's a very good thing. That's progress."
Everyone involved, including the Iraqis, would like to move to the next level, Hadley said on ABC's "This Week." He was very clear, however, that any decision by the president to withdraw troops be conditions-based. One condition is an Iraqi security force capable of securing its own country, he said.
"We think that if trends continue and we continue to make the progress, and the Iraqis continue to make ... progress, we will be in a position sometime next year for the commanders on the ground to make their assessments," Hadley said. "And it may be at that point that they will come to the president and say, 'We want to make some adjustments.'"
At the end of the day, Hadley said the U.S. can help the Iraqis defeat the terrorists and establish an inclusive democratic state. Ultimately, however, they've got to take the reigns, he said.