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Iraq Debate Normal in Democracy, Giambastiani Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2005 – The debate on troops in Iraq is healthy and part and parcel of being a democracy, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Nov. 22.

But people must remember that America is in a test of wills with extremists, Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani said in an American Forces Press Service interview.

"Having a debate and a discussion on whether we ought to increase troop strength, decrease troop strength, withdraw, be more involved with international organizations, that's all a part of democracy," he said. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with all of that."

The U.S. military is around to protect people's ability to have that debate, he said. The admiral spoke of an instance when he attended the commissioning of a Trident missile submarine. He said a reporter pointed to protestors pouring blood on the street near the site and asked him what he thought. "I told him, 'I do what I do, so they can do what they do,'" he said.

He said the debates are fine, but Americans must realize that the terrorists are not going away, and the "test of wills is not going to stop tomorrow or next week."

Giambastiani said the United States is not going to lose anything militarily, but the test of wills is key to winning the war. "It's important for all of us to understand that," he said. "And although we have these debates and discussions, we have to go in with our eyes open and understand that it is a test of wills. Then, I think, we'll be all right."

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Biographies:
Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, USN


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