Rumsfeld: Fallujah Offensive 'Will Deal a Blow' to Terrorists
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2004 The Defense Department's top civilian today predicted victory for U.S., coalition and Iraqi forces as they launched large- scale attacks on insurgent positions in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld noted at a Pentagon news conference that he couldn't imagine that the Fallujah operation would be terminated before achieving victory over the insurgents.
Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi gave the green light for the assault, and U.S. Marines, U.S. Army soldiers and Iraqi forces have advanced into the city while pounding insurgent positions with air and ground fire.
Insurgents and extremists have been using Fallujah as a base and haven for their anti-government operations.
The Fallujah insurgents "have chosen the path of violence" instead of participating in a negotiated, peaceful outcome, Rumsfeld said.
This is "an important time" in the history of the new Iraq, Rumsfeld observed, noting, "No government can allow terrorists and foreign fighters to use its soil to attack its people."
Success in Fallujah "will deal a blow to the terrorists" in Iraq, Rumsfeld predicted, and "should move Iraq further away from a future of violence to one of freedom and opportunity for the Iraqi people."
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, who accompanied Rumsfeld at the press briefing, extended his condolences for the families of U.S. servicemembers who had fallen so far in the Fallujah operation, as well as to those who had died in earlier campaigns.
America's military members "are making a big difference in this world" as the war against global terrorism continues, Myers said.
Over time, Myers said, "people will reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave American servicemembers and remark about how they changed the course of history -- and changed it for the better."