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Myers: Coalition 'Definitely Winning' Against Insurgents

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2005 – The highest-ranking military official in the United States said today the coalition is "definitely winning" against insurgents in Iraq.

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers said all the trend lines in Iraq show progress. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke during a Pentagon press briefing along with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The chairman said that progress is measurable on the political, economic and security fronts. The Iraqis have held elections and are forming a government, he said. "It, by all reports, looks like it's going to be one that involves all sects and ethnic groups in Iraq, so it will be a balanced government, which gives you some hope that when they get into the development of their constitution, that that's going to be a good process," he said.

The insurgents have very little stock in Iraq, Myers said. Many local citizens are turning in the insurgents. He said that it was local Iraqis who turned in the 10 men arrested for shooting down an Mi-8 chopper that killed 11 people April 21.

"Almost any indicator you look at, the trends are up," he said. "So we're definitely winning."

Rumsfeld reinforced Myers' statements, but emphasized that it is the Iraqis and not the coalition that will ultimately defeat the insurgents.

"The Iraqis will do it not through military means solely, but by progress on the political side, and giving the Iraqi people a sense that they have a stake in that country; that they're going to be protected by a piece of paper called a constitution, for the first time in their lives; and that that paper will protect them and, therefore, they are willing to stay together as a single country and have reasonable confidence that their rights and their circumstance will not abused by any of the other elements in the country," the secretary said.

Economic progress will work against the insurgents, especially when the Iraqi people see clearly that the insurgents are actively working to retard economic growth and destroy the infrastructure.

"The Iraqis will prevail in the insurgency also because over time, it will become clearer and clearer that the insurgents have no plan; they have nothing other than killing people," Rumsfeld said. He said the insurgents are simply interested in power and returning the Iraqi people to the "ideal" life of the Caliphate, or single Islamic rule.

Finally, the Iraqis will prevail against the insurgency "because the insurgents are a mixture of unlikes," Rumsfeld said. The former regime Baathists just want power back. The terrorist followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi want to turn the clock back to the Middle Ages. The criminal element has still other objectives. "At some point, there will be a division," Rumsfeld noted.

Myers said there remain many challenges ahead, and combating an insurgency takes a long time. He said the coalition and Iraqi government must remain patient and steadfast against the enemy.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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