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Rumsfeld: Iraqi Constitution Vote Expected to Succeed

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

FORT IRWIN, Calif., Aug. 30, 2005 – The draft constitution submitted to the Iraqi National Assembly will not be voted down by the public, even if some Sunni groups don't agree with the document, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said here Aug. 29.

Speaking at a town hall meeting with soldiers and family members, including 32 Purple Heart recipients and a brigade of the 4th Infantry Division deploying to Iraq in December, Rumsfeld stressed the difficulty of the process the Iraqis are going through right now.

"That's tough stuff they're doing," he said. "They're trying to get a piece of paper that will impose order. What a leap of faith."

Rumsfeld compared the Iraqis' process to America's constitutional process many years ago, saying that establishing a democracy is not easy, and the media has not recognized the magnitude or the difficulty of the work being done.

"Everyone would like it to be perfect, but life isn't perfect and democracy is not perfect," he said. "It's not efficient; it takes time."

Despite the difficulties, Rumsfeld said he is confident the Iraqis will come up with a constitution that the public will accept when it goes to a vote. That constitution will not be perfect, he explained, but will be a starting point for the new government in that country.

The role of the U.S. in Iraq is now shifting to training Iraqi security forces and preparing them to take over the defense of their own country, Rumsfeld said. In addition to providing their own security, the Iraqis must operate independently in their political situation as well, he said, and find answers to the problems they are now facing.

"It's the Iraqis' country; they're going to have an Iraqi solution," he said.

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Donald H. Rumsfeld

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