Rumsfeld: Baghdad Terror Attacks Target Iraq Successes
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2003 The recent spate of deadly bombings and other terrorist actions in Iraq are likely the result of U.S. and coalition successes in the post-Saddam Hussein era, the U.S. military's top civilian said Oct. 27.
During a live interview with television reporter Lisa Thomas-Laurie of WPVI News in Philadelphia, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld observed from the Pentagon that it was uncertain "whether there'll be a continued escalation" of anti-coalition violence in Iraq.
While noting insurgent attacks in Iraq have increased in recent weeks, the secretary also pointed out that "a number of successes," such as the establishment of a new Iraqi police force, have taken place as part of efforts to stabilize the country.
"The terrorists seem to be targeting those successes," Rumsfeld said, noting insurgents have "attacked police academies' graduating classes," as well as several Iraqi police stations that were hit during the Oct. 27 Baghdad bombings.
Subversive elements, the secretary pointed out, murdered one of the members of Iraq's governing council. And, insurgents in Iraq even "have attacked the Red Cross," he noted.
Rumsfeld offered his condolences for the victims of terrorist attacks in Iraq. "Our heart goes out to them and their families and their loved ones, whether it's an American or a coalition member or an Iraqi," he said.
The attacks haven't dampened U.S. resolve "in capturing and killing these terrorists, which is what ultimately has to be done," the secretary declared, noting U.S. forces in Iraq "are doing a superb job."
Noting that the Philadelphia area is home to thousands of reservists and National Guard members, Thomas-Laurie asked Rumsfeld what he would say to those service members whose tours in Iraq have been extended.
Rumsfeld replied that America's active, Guard and reserve troops are people who had joined the military of their own free will, and who said, "We're willing to volunteer for this mission" in Iraq.
"And, our country is deeply in their debt," Rumsfeld declared, noting that although duty in Iraq is tough and difficult, U.S. service members there "recognize the importance of their mission." Rumsfeld emphasized that he "and certainly our country are deeply appreciative and grateful to them."