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Cheney Notes Security, Political Progress in Iraq

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2006 – The overall situation in Iraq is improving, Vice President Dick Cheney told radio personality Laura Ingraham in a telephone interview today.

Security in Iraq is one of the most notable achievements, he said.

"The biggest difference ... is the extent to which Iraqis are now increasingly taking on responsibility for various areas of the country, and taking the lead now," Cheney said on Ingraham's nationally syndicated radio program. "We've got some 40 Iraq battalions now that actually have the lead in providing security in their respective areas."

The country's political progress is moving rapidly as well, he said. Iraq is moving toward having a government based on its new constitution and the recent vote that brought several million Iraqis out to the polls.

"They're clearly in the midst of negotiating arrangements for this new government based on the election results of last month," he said. "Hopefully we'll have a government here before too long."

Cheney called war "a very difficult proposition."

"And obviously casualties and the cost of war are something that nobody likes," he said.

"I do think there's a basic fundamental support level of support out there in the country for the troops and for what we're working to achieve in Iraq," he said. "I'm confident we will succeed, that the only way we can lose this one is if we quit."

And that, Cheney said, is not an option.

"We're going to complete the mission, and I think you'll find ... that that is the desire of the people most directly involved, and those are the men and women wearing the American uniform (and) fighting on our behalf in Iraq," he said.

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Transcript of Vice President Cheney's Interview

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