Rumsfeld 'Convinced' Iraq Has 'Good Crack' at Bright Future
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2004 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today he is "absolutely convinced that the 25 million people of Iraq have a good crack at succeeding and building a bright future."
The secretary said there is good and bad news out of Iraq, but lamented that good news stories "are apparently not as newsworthy, and they seem not to make the press."
He ran through a list of successes to date in Iraq, citing schools being open and hospitals and clinics seeing patients as examples.
"The Iraqi people are free and are moving towards an election for the first time in decades," he said. "The economy is growing. Refugees are coming home; we do not have a humanitarian crisis or internally displaced people."
Other specific examples of Iraq's success include:
- Fielding an Olympic team "which is quite a thing if one thinks about it," Rumsfeld said;
- Fashioning a symphony orchestra; and
- Starting a stock market, "not with a lot of companies on it yet," Rumsfeld said. "But it's there, and it's growing."
Rumsfeld's remarks came outside the Pentagon during a media availability with Danish Minister of Defense Soren Gade.
The two men discussed operations in Iraq and the broader war on terrorism. Denmark has about 500 troops serving in Iraq and has been a staunch ally in the war on terrorism. It was the first country to announce it would not pull troops out of Iraq after Spain withdrew its forces following a March 11 terrorist attack in Madrid, a Defense Department spokesman said.
"We are committed in the fight against terror. We have a job to do in Iraq, and we are going to stay in Iraq," Gade said. "We have a mandate from the Danish Parliament up to the end of this year, and then it hopefully will be renewed."
The minister also expressed his sympathy for America's losses in Iraq. "But I also know that we all have to sacrifice because we have this war going on and we have to win it," he said. "We cannot allow the terrorists to win."