Rumsfeld: Iraqis Will Secure Their Country
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 13, 2006 The solution in Iraq is not only a military one; it will take political will to convince the Iraqis to take responsibility for securing their own country, outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a radio interview yesterday.
Speaking on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Rumsfeld emphasized that this is an unconventional war that requires adapting the military forces, and it will require political reconciliation to bring lasting peace to Iraq.
“Normally, the center of gravity of a war is on the battlefield. But in this case, we can't lose a battle, and it's not possible for the military alone to win the struggle because it's a long struggle and it'll take time,” Rumsfeld said. “Our task is to help the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces get to the point where they can provide for their own security.”
Rumsfeld acknowledged that the war is not popular with Americans, but he pointed out that no war has ever been popular, except after it’s been won. “I think the people generally have a pretty good center of gravity, and they tend to find their way to right judgments over time,” he said. “And this is going to take time. It's going to take perseverance.”
This is the first conflict being fought in the 21st century, with new media and technology available, Rumsfeld said. The management of communication and information is much different because of this new media reality, but the U.S. hasn’t done the best job it could have in adapting to that, he said.
The coalition has done a good job training Iraqi army and police, and the Iraqi army has been performing well, Rumsfeld said. The police aren’t performing consistently, he said, and he stressed that it would take time to fully develop the security forces.
“It's not going to take us to be there for 12 years, but it is going to take some time for us to get the Iraqi and the Afghan capabilities sufficient,” he said. “And the real difficulty with it is people are putting it in the context of Iraq period or Afghanistan period instead of this global struggle against violent extremists, and that is the real issue.”
Rumsfeld leaves office Dec. 18, when defense secretary designee Robert M. Gates takes over.