Rumsfeld: Thank you very much.
General, it's a privilege for me to be here and to be able to tell you and your team and all the folks here and all of those that you represent spread throughout this area of operations what a truly outstanding job you're doing. It's noticed, it's appreciated, it's important. It's important, needless to say, to the people of Iraq. It's also important to this entire region that we continue and succeed in what it is that you're doing. It's also important to the world and certainly the American people.
I recognize that the circumstance here for all of you is far from perfect and that you've got family and loved ones at home. And that it gets hot here occasionally. We recognize that. But the appreciation that the President of the United States and I and the American people have for the sacrifice you make, for the sacrifice your families make is enormous. I just hope that by being able to be here and look you in the eye and tell you that, how much you're appreciated, the fact that you're all volunteers. You're people who, you weren't drafted, you weren't conscripted, you searched your souls and decided that you wanted to step forward and serve your country. Your service is in many instances tough and difficult. I've visited a lot of your friends and associates in Walter Reed Army Hospital and Brooks Medical Hospital and Bethesda Naval Hospital and I know you've lost still others.
So what you're doing, know it's important, know it's succeeding -- and it is succeeding. We just had a briefing here on the number of raids that have been conducted, the number of people who have been captured, the number of people who have been killed, the number of civil works and reconstruction projects that you've engaged in and contributed to, the millions of dollars that have gone into making this area a recovering area.
I also want to, while I'm here, make sure that you all recognize Ambassador Jerry Bremer down here with a hand up. He's doing a great job just as General Odierno and your team are doing a great job. It's going to make a difference.
So thank you. We appreciate it, we value it, and we have great respect for each of you.