10 September 2003
Wolfowitz Says Defense Funding Increase Is Essential
Testifies to Senate Armed Services Committee September
Two years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Iraq has become the
focal point in the war against terrorism, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Paul Wolfowitz said, and he called on Congress to approve President
Bush's request for increased funding for operations in Iraq and
Quoting from President Bush's nationally-televised speech of September
7, Wolfowitz said "'Iraq is now the central front' in the war on
terror. 'Enemies of freedom,' he said, 'are making a desperate
stand there -- and there they must be defeated.'
"There's no question that a powerful signal will go out to the
terrorists and their allies that defeat in Iraq will be theirs
when Congress acts quickly on the president's request," Wolfowitz
In his prepared statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee
September 9, Wolfowitz asked for three things:
-- Appropriation and authorization for the Defense Department
to train and equip foreign military forces aiding U.S. military
operations against terrorism (he noted that this request had been
deleted from both House and Senate versions of the Defense authorization
-- Ease Defense's ability to convert military into civilian jobs;
-- Fund President Bush's request for an additional $87 billion
to pay for military and intelligence operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
and elsewhere in the war on terror and to help pay for the reconstruction
of both nations.
In giving a progress report on U.S. operations in Iraq, Wolfowitz
specifically point out that:
-- The judicial system is functioning, judges are working and
trials are ongoing with convictions.
-- Politically, local governing councils have been organized.
90-plus percent of major cities have city councils and there is
a national governing council.
-- Over 50 percent of the necessary number of police are on the
job, patrolling jointly with Coalition forces and by themselves.
-- Schools were immediately reopened.
-- The medical system is operating.
-- Local economies are bustling.
-- Public Services are being restored.
-- There are 55,000 new Iraqi security forces on the job, and
recruiting and training for thousands more continues.
In Afghanistan, "We have accomplished a great deal and we recognize
that much more remains to be done to ensure success," Wolfowitz
said. "The war on terror is one aspect of our involvement. ...
The other is our commitment to promoting a functioning moderate
and democratic political order. ... Realizing this vision will
require increased commitment on the part of the United States and
the international community."
The text of Wolfowitz's prepared statement follows:
U.S. Department of Defense Speech
Prepared Statement for the Senate Armed Services Committee:
Helping Win the War on Terror
By Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
September 9, 2003
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: One of the things that
is most important for troops facing danger on the front lines is
the knowledge that their dedication and sacrifice is appreciated
by the people of America. On behalf of the men and women who serve
our country so faithfully and so well, let me begin by expressing
thanks to Congress for the bipartisan support that you give our
The enemy are people who show no mercy toward women or children.
They are people who kill Arabs and Indonesians and Iraqis and Afghans,
not just Americans and Europeans and Australians.
Although they claim to act in the name of Islam, they attack not
only churches and synagogues, but mosques as well. They pride themselves
on being people who love death above life. They fear democracy
because, as one recent al-Qaeda publication makes clear, in their
view, the goal of democracy is to "make Muslims love this world,
forget the next world and abandon jihad." Evidently, they are not
happy that citizens of democracies can freely choose to remain
faithful to their religious beliefs and traditions -- apparently
in their view, religion can survive only if it is imposed by tyranny
America: a Nation at War
It is fitting that, during this week of September 11th, we gather
in this seat of American democracy to take stock of America's efforts
since that tragic day, in the global war on terrorism.
Just two years removed from the most brutal attack on our nation's
soil since Pearl Harbor, we remain a nation at war. We fight a
threat posed by an enemy that hides in the shadows and has burrowed
into scores of countries around the globe. And with the help of
a coalition of some 90 nations, we've gone after that adversary
of freedom wherever he may be found, using every resource at our
command -- including our instruments of diplomacy, intelligence,
law enforcement, financial influence, and, of course, every necessary
weapon of war to destroy and defeat the global terror network.
Like World War II and the Cold War, this war is fought on a global
stage. And like those previous conflicts, the stakes are enormous
and our very freedom is threatened. However, we also need to realize
that this war is different from any previous war. If we react based
on experiences from prior conflicts -- or from prior peacekeeping
experiences -- we are likely to act wrong[ly] in many cases. We
face a new situation and we need to think anew about it.
I've traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq, as have many of you here,
and I think you'll agree, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee,
that the men and women of America's armed forces support this national
endeavor with the greatest pride, their very best efforts, a clear
understanding of their mission, and the strongest possible determination
At the Pentagon, only one year removed from sealing the horrible
gash the terrorists made in its outer wall, the memory of our lost
comrades remains strong; our military and civilian forces have
not forgotten whom we are fighting and what we are fighting for.
They, above all, know what's at stake.
If you go to the Memorial Chapel in the Pentagon, which is located
at the restored site of the deadly impact, you'll find that service
members and civil servants, as well as other Americans who come
to visit, to this very day, write their thoughts into a book there
-- they leave their condolences for those lost at their posts,
killed simply because they were defending America. Visitors put
into words their faith that America will prevail over the forces
that would destroy freedom.
We will prevail. We will prevail because we're the sort of people
who meet adversity head-on and come out better for it. When the
terrorists attacked, they seem to have thought we were a weak people,
grown used to comfort, and softened by everything we enjoy in this
great nation. But, since September 11th, they've come to learn
just how wrong they are.
We rebuilt the Pentagon. And the builders who labored so tirelessly
to put it back together made it better than it was before. That's
the American way.
And we fought back. When the time came to make a choice, America
took the fight to those who would rob us and others of our freedom.
We acted decisively to keep gathering threats from becoming even
more deadly attacks on the American people -- because sitting back
and hoping we don't get hit again is not a strategy.
We worked with those dozens of countries, exchanging intelligence,
closing bank accounts to keep funds from moving to terrorists;
sharing information and police records, keeping people from crossing
borders -- to keep applying pressure across the globe. And, of
course, we're working with our coalition partners in Afghanistan
and Iraq and in other regions of the world to root out terrorists.
It's a big job, and it's going to take patience and time and determination.
It will take more than killing and capturing terrorists and dismantling
terrorist networks -- as important as that is. It also requires
winning on what could be called the second front of the war on
terror, what the president called "building a just and peaceful
world beyond the war on terror," particularly in the Muslim world.
We don't start a job we can't finish. And when we do start a job,
we give it our best. That's the American way.
As the president said on Sunday night: "Our strategy in Iraq has
three objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support
of other nations for a free Iraq and helping Iraqis assume responsibility
for their own defense and their own future. First, we are taking
direct action against the terrorists in the Iraqi theater, which
is the surest way to prevent future attacks on coalition forces
and the Iraqi people. ... Second, we are committed to expanding
international cooperation in the reconstruction and security of
Iraq, just as we are in Afghanistan. ... Third, we are encouraging
the orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi
people. Our coalition came to Iraq as liberators and we will depart
Helping Win the War on Terror
To help this nation finish what it has begun and continue to victory
in the war on terror, I'm here today to ask for help in three critical
1. Obtaining the appropriation and the authority to train and
equip foreign military forces;
2. Giving us the flexibility we've asked for to reduce the stress
on active duty end strength by making it easier to convert military
jobs to civilian jobs; and,
3. No single thing is more important or more demanding than supporting
the president's request, expressed so forcefully Sunday night,
for adequate resources to wage and win this war. We need resources
for our military, we also need resources to win that second battle
front, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, to help those people build
new and free countries that will remain free of instability and
terrorism -- and to send the message to the world, especially to
our enemies, that we have the staying power to finish the job.
Training and equipping foreign military forces:
In the Authorization Bill, we asked the Congress to provide us
with $200 million in authority to provide assistance or support
to foreign nations aiding U.S. military operations to combat terrorism.
We intend to use this authority to train and equip foreign forces
that are fighting alongside our forces -- and often in place of
our forces -- in the war on terrorism. Both the House and Senate
deleted that provision from the bill. While we have been asking
on an urgent basis for the Conference Committee to restore this
authority, we will undoubtedly be requesting it again, and probably
on a larger scale, in the supplemental request that the president
spoke about Sunday night. However, I would still urge the conferences
to consider restoring our original request, because it is impossible
sitting here to predict that Iraq and Afghanistan will be the only
places in the world where well-trained and -equipped foreign forces
fighting alongside our own could help our forces be more effective
and save American lives.
To fight the kind of war we face, we need maximum flexibility
to benefit from the effect of foreign military forces who share
our goals. We can't do it alone. Nowhere is this more clear than
General Abizaid and his commanders have said repeatedly that not
only don't they need more troops, they don't want more American
troops. They do want more international troops to share the burden
of providing stability forces and to reduce the political liability
of a U.S.-only occupation. But most of all, what they want are
more Iraqi troops because it is their country that we have liberated
and it is they who need to take over the main security tasks.
In July, the commander of the 1st Marine Division, Major General
Jim Mattis, told me how he'd sent some of his 15,000 troops home
already because he had enough of them to do the job, and he didn't
want what he called the "reverberations of a heavy footprint" that
a large army requires -- the fuel, the food, the equipment, and
all the materials a sizable force in place requires. He said that
if you want more people on your side, don't bring in more Americans.
As General Abizaid mentioned in his briefings here last week,
what we really need are more Iraqis fighting with us. We've begun
recruiting and training Iraqis for an Iraqi civilian defense force
to take over tasks such as guarding fixed sites and power lines.
It is the same with former New York City police chief Bernard
Kerik, who just completed four months helping Iraqis rebuild their
police force. He favors empowering Iraqis over sending in more
American troops. He said: If you triple the number of coalition
forces, you'll probably triple the attacks on the troops. The future
is not in the military but in getting control back in the hands
of the Iraqi people."
Currently we have more than 55,000 Iraqis serving with us in providing
security for their country, making Iraqis the single largest member
of the coalition after the United States. These Iraqis are fighting
with us and taking casualties with us. Just a few days ago, one
of them was killed by a suicide bomber attempting to attack our
Their numbers are made up of roughly 40,000 members of the Iraqi
police, as well as members of the new Facility Protection Service,
the new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, and the border guards. By January,
we plan to have 15,000 members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps,
and 20,000 members of the Facility Protection Service.
With additional resources, those numbers could be expanded further,
because there is no shortage of Iraqis willing to serve. We also
have plans to field 66,000 police and 3 divisions of the new Iraqi
Army which could be speeded up substantially with the additional
resources the president has called for.
Iraqis want to do their part to help secure public order and create
a civil society. In fact, some 50 Iraqis have already died and
many more have been wounded working with us to do just that.
We should not find that we are held back by a shortage of money
or authority to give those willing and able to fight on our side
the proper training and equipment to do the job.
Converting military jobs to civilian jobs:
Along with preparing more Iraqis to fight with us, giving us the
flexibility to make it easier to convert military jobs to civilian
jobs -- my second point -- would help relieve some of the current
stress on the active duty force. Right now, the complexities of
putting civilians in the thousands of jobs that don't need to be
performed by men and women in uniform puts unnecessary strain on
our uniformed personnel. Today, as some thousands of uniformed
personnel perform non-military jobs, we are calling up Reserves
to help deal with the global war on terror.
In the current situation, bringing more troops on line by increasing
our end strength is not the answer. It takes time to recruit and
train people, and any increase we put into effect now would have
no appreciable effect for some time to come. And if the current
strains on our military force reflect an inevitable, yet temporary,
spike from an increase in wartime operations tempo, it would be
better to resist increasing forces for the long-term. If it turns
out that an increase was unnecessary, a sizeable increase in personnel
costs would come at the expense of other things our armed forces
What makes more sense -- and can deliver results more quickly
-- are the kinds of things we're looking at to reduce the stress
on our current end strength, including re-examining our entire
global footprint, looking at how best to make adjustments in the
activereserve mix, and most of all, looking at how we can shift
some jobs performed by the military that would be more appropriately
be done by civilians.
We realize that achieving the goal of reforming the Defense Department's
civil service system requires some bold moves to constitute real
transformation. We are asking you now to help us take such a bold
step, and help us with our proposed National Security Personnel
System. That we are fighting a tough and sustained war on terrorism
only makes the need to take that step to reform our personnel system
even more pressing.
Providing the necessary resources:
And that we fight this war to win is why, in his address to the
nation Sunday evening, President Bush announced his intention to
submit a request to Congress for additional funds to pay for military
and intelligence operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere
in the war on terror and to help pay for the reconstruction of
The bulk of the president's request ($66 billion) will be dedicated
to ensuring our men and women in uniform have the resources they
need to complete their missions in the war on terror. The rest
($21 billion) would help build safe, stable and self-governing
societies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In recent weeks, many of you have agreed that even if this is
a formidable venture, even if it costs substantial resources, it
is important enough to our national interests to merit Congress's
As the president said to the nation on Sunday, the undertaking
in Iraq is "difficult and costly -- yet worthy of our country,
and critical to our security." This undertaking is so critical
because, as the president said, "Iraq is now the central front" in
the war on terror. "Enemies of freedom," he said, "are making a
desperate stand there -- and there they must be defeated."
There's no question that a powerful signal will go out to the
terrorists and their allies that defeat in Iraq will be theirs
when Congress acts quickly on the president's request.
For Iraq, the roughly $51 billion of the total amount the president
has requested for military expenses will be key to eliminating
the remnants of Saddam's regime, as well as the foreign terrorists
who've been fighting in Iraq. The president will request $20 billion
to help in Iraq's transition to self-government, and to create
the conditions that will encourage economic investment. Iraq's
infrastructure was badly decayed. It is estimated that between
$50-$75 billion will be needed to address the infrastructure's
decades of malicious neglect. Roughly $5 billion will go to addressing
security, so crucial to overall success, by training people who
can guard borders and enforce customs laws, as well as a new Iraqi
army, police force and local civilian defense corps.
As the president said on Sunday, this victory will require us
to commit "years and resources," just as in the aftermath of the
Second World War, when we helped rebuild Germany and Japan. But
that effort and investment, he reminded us, "has been repaid in
three generations of friendship and peace. America today accepts
the challenge of helping Iraq in the same spirit we have helped
The costs are large, but it is a battle that we can win and we
must win. Because victory in this battle will be a major victory
in the war on terrorism and a major defeat for the global terrorist
networks. As large as these costs are, they are still small compared
to just the economic price that the attacks of September 11 have
inflicted, to say nothing of the terrible loss of human life. And
even those costs are small in comparison to what future, more terrible
terrorist attacks could inflict.
America is behind the troops:
By those actions and what Congress says, you can help us send
the message to the world, and particularly to our enemies, that
America is behind her troops, and has the staying power to fight
this war on terrorism to victory.
The Ba'athist bitter enders and their foreign terrorist allies
believe that if they inflict casualties on us, like in Beirut and
Somalia, we will give up and go home.
We know that Osama bin Laden saw Somalia as an example of how
Americans can be driven out by inflicting casualties. We know that
Saddam Hussein told Ambassador Glaspie in April 1990 that he could
take casualties and the Americans could not.
When the terrorists exploded a bomb outside a shrine in Najaf,
and when they detonated a bomb in the U.N. headquarters, the men
and women killed weren't the only targets.
Terrorists were aiming a blow at something they hate even more
-- the prospect of a country freed from their control and moving
to become an Iraq of, by, and for the Iraqi people. Terrorists
recognize that Iraq is on a course towards self-government that,
once achieved, will be an example to all in the Muslim world who
desire freedom, pointing a way out of the sense of failure that
the extremists feed on. And so, they test our will, the will of
the Iraqi people, and the will of the civilized world.
The sooner these terrorists understand clearly that our will can't
be broken and that the Iraqi people, despite hardship and difficulty,
will persevere in building their new society -- the sooner the
terrorists will come to terms with their defeat.
That is why it is so urgent that Congress pass this supplemental
request to cover ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and
Iraq to ensure our troops have the resources they need to complete
Just as after September 11th, a speedy bipartisan passage of the
supplemental request would send a strong message to our friends
and our enemies -- and to our troops, who are giving us 100 percent.
They need to know we are behind them 100 percent.
View of the Military Front:
Afghanistan was the first arena in the global war on terrorism
and the United States remains strongly committed to success in
that country. Success in Afghanistan entails the establishment
of a moderate and democratic political order that is fully representative
of the Afghan people. Afghanistan has suffered a great deal over
the last quarter century and it has come a long way since the
fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. The United States shares
and supports President Karzai's and the Afghan people's hopes
for a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous country that can serve
as a partner in the region and as a model for other Muslim states.
As part of our ongoing commitment to success in Afghanistan, we
seek to accelerate the progress the United States, our Coalition
partners, and our allies in the Afghan government have been making
to bring lasting peace to the war-torn country. Together, we have
accomplished a great deal over the last two years. The Afghan people
are experiencing restored liberties, some as simple as the right
to education. The Afghan government, under the able leadership
of President Karzai, continues to establish legitimate authority
throughout the country and in the international community as a
respected and recognized member of the community of nations.
Over a million Afghan refugees have returned, and many more continue
to do so with hopes for a better future in their native land after
years of refuge in neighboring countries. Schools, clinics, and
businesses continue to open around the country. The International
Security Assistance Force [ISAF], now under NATO command, continues
to help provide security in the capital, Kabul. NATO's mission
in Afghanistan is testimony to the Alliance's commitment to redefining
its role in the new global era. We continue to support the ISAF
mission in Kabul and look favorably upon possible expansion of
the mission beyond the capital.
The United States continues to lead the international community
in reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, with
close to a billion dollars in 2003 alone. We are assisting the
Afghan government in its effort to rebuild the Afghan national
army. The army has already proven effective in support of the war
We have accomplished a great deal and we recognize that much more
remains to be done to ensure success in Afghanistan. The war on
terror is one aspect of our involvement in Afghanistan. The other
is our commitment to promoting a functioning moderate and democratic
political order that can serve as the foundation for lasting peace
in the country. Realizing this vision will require increased commitment
on the part of the United States and the international community.
Recent weeks have shown that security in Afghanistan must be protected
and enhanced as an important prerequisite to lasting peace. Taliban
forces and their allies operating out of their sanctuaries along
both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border are attempting to regroup
and destabilize Afghanistan. Taliban elements are targeting NGO
[non-governmental organization] workers, Afghan civilians, including
moderate local religious leaders, in an effort to impose their
tyrannical and alien ways on the Afghan people. Afghan national
army forces working with U.S. and Coalition forces continue to
successfully target and neutralize Taliban forces in southern and
eastern Afghanistan. Afghan national army forces have successfully
conducted their first operations in support of their efforts.
President Karzai continues to assert the legitimate authority
of the central government in an effort to improve governance and
security in the provinces. Over the last year alone, he has appointed
new governors to key provinces and has initiated the important
reform of the national Ministry of Defense. The United States stands
firmly behind President Karzai and his administration in their
effort to implement the will of the Afghan people. Afghanistan
will soon usher in a new constitution by the end of this year with
elections scheduled for June 2004. The Bonn Process has been a
vital political roadmap for the country. We remain committed to
its success and we recognize that our commitment will require increased
resources to help the Afghan people realize their hopes for a better
future free from religious tyranny and warlord banditry.
I would like to express my thanks and the thanks of our troops
for the special efforts that members of this Committee have made
to visit Iraq. Your visits have not only been important for the
morale of our men and women. And they also give you an opportunity
to get a much clearer picture of the situation on the ground.
The common experience of almost everyone who goes there seems
to be that, while we can see the problems that are so frequently
reported in the press, we also see a great deal of good news.
And in the case of Iraq -- where the only news for 35 years has
been bad news -- the remarkable amount of good news is indeed
I had an opportunity to get some of that good news firsthand in
July when I visited the troops of the 1st Marine Division in the
Shi'a holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. The Marines achieved some
stunning success in those cities in Iraq's Shi'a heartland, success
that can be perceived even despite the recent bombing in Najaf.
That event was, of course, a terrible tragedy and it has contributed
to unease and fear in Iraq. However, it doesn't take many people
to plant a car bomb or truck bomb. They've done that here in United
States. To me, the real news has been the relative calm and restraint
that Iraqis have shown in the wake of this horrible provocation.
Some hundreds of thousands of people came out to witness the funeral
procession of Ayatollah Hakim, with no major violence reported.
Fears have been expressed that this horrendous act could lead to
revenge attacks by Shi'a and Sunni, but so far at least that hasn't
Last week, General Abizaid told reporters that, after being in
the United States a week and a half, overheated news reports on
the conditions in Iraq could lead someone to think he should go
back to Iraq "to find someone to surrender to." Yet when he talks
to our troops -- well-informed by first-hand knowledge -- he said, "They
are so confident and so positive that it takes me only about 30
minutes to understand we've got this under control."
Secretary Rumsfeld has just returned from Iraq, and reports that
the general is exactly right. Our troops do have the situation
under control. We must ensure they have the tools, the resources,
and the moral support back home, to keep it that way.
There are still many challenges remaining for our troops in Iraq.
And, as our commanders consider military operations in Iraq, there
are at least two things they tell us they would like more of. Number
One is Iraqis fighting to secure their own liberty, which I mentioned
Their Number Two critical item is forces from other countries,
and we're making substantial progress there. So far, close to 30
nations have sent close to 23,000 personnel to Iraq. Over 40 nations
have pledged more than $3 billion in assistance. In southern Iraq,
Polish forces have assumed command of an international division,
and we are hoping to add another division above and beyond that.
The president's request will provide some $800 million to support
the troops of our coalition partners with limited resources who
are interested in providing support.
In that same multinational division, the Spanish brigade has taken
charge of the other major holy Shi'a city, Najaf. Further south,
under the British multinational division, an Italian infantry brigade
-- which will include some 400 carabinieri -- who will be performing
security and stability operations.
We are actively pursuing the option of a U.N. resolution, which
would lead other countries, whose laws or domestic politics require
such a resolution, to contribute more.
We want these troops not merely to supply additional military
manpower and to relieve the pressure on our own forces. More importantly,
their presence will demonstrate to the Iraqis and to the world
that the transformation of Iraq is of importance, not only to the
U.S., but to the entire international community.
The other critical item that General Abizaid wants more of is
actionable intelligence. And the key to getting more intelligence
is cooperation from Iraqis. That cooperation has been increasing
substantially. One example of that cooperation was the Iraqi who
turned in the Hussein brothers. That event itself has led to a
large increase in the amount of intelligence that Iraqis are bringing
to us -- indeed such a large increase that we now have the challenge
of sorting out the wheat from the chaff.
As many of our commanders have told me and told the Congress,
in Iraq, it is now mostly a battle for intelligence. And, as General
Mattis has said, "any victory we get is brought to us by the Iraqi
people." Such victories are all a matter of building trust. And
here are some examples of how the Marines of the 1st Division did
One of the division chaplains suggested that his Marines bring
cold water to the Iraqis they encounter, because when it's 115
degrees, it's hard to hate someone who's giving you cold water.
The troops employ what they call "wave tactics" -- when they see
Iraqis, they wave. And when the Marines are talking to people,
they take off their sunglasses. It's quite common for young children
to run quite a ways to meet up with the Marines, and take their
hands as they patrol the streets. A young corporal or lieutenant
gets credit for this next idea -- when Marines see an Iraqi funeral
procession, as the body passes by, they stop and present arms to
show their respect. This practice has spread throughout the country,
because it's working.
In these ways, and many more, our troops are breaking through
the walls of that ghastly prison Hussein built, and they are earning
the trust of the people they have liberated. And, I would add,
they're gaining valuable intelligence, one of the sure keys to
winning this fight.
A Varying Picture, Region by Region
While many Iraqis may still remain in the grip of fear conditioned
by the old regime, our troops, our coalition allies and the new
national and local Iraqi councils continue to make other significant
progress in lessening its iron hold.
The Governing Council of Iraq is easily the most representative
body of governance ever formed in that nation, and is rapidly gaining
real powers and responsibilities, such as appointing ministers,
representing Iraq to the international community, and beginning
the process of drafting the first-ever Iraqi constitution.
This transfer of power to the Iraqi people is taking place at
the local level as well. Over 90 percent of Iraqi towns and provinces
now have their own governing councils, including the holy Shi'ite
cities of Najaf and Karbala.
Those military commanders I talked with in Iraq who also have
experience in the Balkans all said that, in Iraq, we are far ahead
of where we were in Bosnia and Kosovo at comparable times, and
in some cases, we are ahead of where those places are today.
Lieutenant General Ric Sanchez, the outstanding new commander
of Combined Joint Task Force 7 and a veteran of Kosovo, told me
that things are happening in Iraq after three months that hadn't
happened after 12 months in Kosovo. I asked him to elaborate, and
off the top of his head, he jotted down a list of 10 things. Included
on the general's list of developments are these:
-- The judicial system is functioning at a rudimentary level.
Investigative judges are working and misdemeanor trials are ongoing
-- The political infrastructure is functioning. Neighborhood,
district and city councils have been stood up. Over 90 percent
of major cities have city councils and there is a National-Level
Interim Governing Council.
-- The police force is at more than 50 percent of the requirement.
Police are conducting joint and unilateral effective operations.
-- Schools were immediately stood back up. At all levels the school
year was salvaged.
-- The medical system is operating.
-- Local economies are bustling, including oil, agriculture and
-- Public Services -- electrical, water, sewage -- are nearly
up to pre-war levels.
-- Recruiting and training for new Iraq security forces is underway
-- and, as already noted, we have gone from zero to 55,000 in just
In fact, despite the terrorism, the entire south and north are
impressively stable, and the center is improving day by day. The
public food distribution is up and running. We planned for a food
crisis, but there isn't one. Hospitals nationwide are open. Doctors
and nurses are at work. Medical supply convoys are escorted to
and from the warehouses. We planned for a health crisis, but there
Oil production has continued to increase, and recently it has
averaged between 1.5- and 2 million barrels per day.
We planned for the possibility of massive destruction of this
resource of the Iraqi people, but our military plan helped preserve
the oil fields for the Iraqis.
The school year has been salvaged. Schools nationwide have reopened
and final exams are complete. There are local town councils in
most major cities and major districts of Baghdad, and they are
functioning free of Ba'athist influence.
There is no humanitarian crisis. There is no refugee crisis. There
is no health crisis. There has been minimal war damage to infrastructure.
There has been no environmental catastrophe, either from oil well
fires, or from dam breaks.
However, Saddam's legacy of destruction and decay is another story
In the South, the Marines made wonderful progress. General Mattis
has told us how effective his battalion commanders -- typically
lieutenant colonels -- have been as the hub of activity in the
cities. They have stressed creating a supportive environment,
by parking their tanks out of sight, and getting in among the
people to win their trust and confidence. In one example I mentioned
earlier, the Marines gave out chilled water to demonstrators
at political rallies. Whenever the Marines have rebuilt a school
-- and in Karbala alone there are nine such schools -- they present
a brass bell with the inscription: "To the children of Iraq from
the First Marine Division."
Our Army Civil Affairs teams are equally impressive. They have
created functioning local governing councils free from Ba'athist
influence. The governor of Karbala captured this development best
when he told me: "We Shi'a have theological ties to Iran, but we
refuse to be followers of any country outside Iraq. I want to stress,
we aspire to independence and democracy. We want to heal the wounds
from the past regime's atrocities. We want to build factories,
bring in the Internet, practice our religious rites in freedom,
and have good relations with our neighbors and the world. The Marines
in Karbala -- commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Lopez -- work day
and night with our Governing Council to provide security and services."
Of course, the peace in the South was recently shaken by the bombing
at the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf. While this attack was a particularly
heinous and outrageous act, even by the standards of Middle Eastern
terrorism, it is not representative of greater instability in the
South any more than September 11th was a symbol of instability
in the United States. It was what it appeared to be -- the desperate
act of evil men.
Yet as the funeral marches for Shaik al-Hakim illustrate, hundreds
of thousands of Iraqis were able to come out together without incident
to pay respects to this spiritual leader. Despite the large numbers
of people, and the intense emotion aroused by the bombing, the
funeral processions were generally peaceful overall.
Stability in the north is another success story. General Dave Petraeus
and his troops of the 101st Airborne arrived in Mosul on 22 April
and over the next 30 days they put together this impressive list
-- Met with community leaders;
-- Agreed on an election plan;
-- Established an elected interim city council;
-- Re-opened hospitals, schools, banks and businesses;
-- Set up a Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC);
-- Repaired the strategic bridge on the Mosul-Irbil road;
-- Fixed the benzene and propane shortages;
-- Opened the airport to humanitarian assistance flights;
-- Signed the Makhmur harvest accords between Kurds and Arabs;
-- Completed the wheat harvest;
-- Re-opened the border with Syria so trade could resume;
-- Set up the new Mosul newspaper;
-- Paid government workers;
-- Re-established train service;
-- Established Task Force Neighborhood and Task Force Graffiti
and helped clean up the city; Task Force Pothole employs Iraqis
and improves the roads;
-- Conducted joint police patrols;
-- Began training a new police force;
-- Diplomatically removed Peshmerga forces from disputed areas
to back above the green line;
-- Average 300 day, 300 night, and 90 joint sector security patrols
(U.S. with local police); and have established air and ground quick
reaction forces to respond to Ba'athist attacks.
-- They are currently supporting 10 major CPA-funded reconstruction
General Petraeus said they have invested in water, electricity,
roads, schools, hospitals, banks, agriculture, summer youth leagues,
community swimming pools, orphanages, and kids' amusement park
projects. He believes there are reasons for continued optimism
in the north. They include: the quality of interim government leadership;
citizen trust and confidence in Coalition forces; a good university
and school system; functioning food and fuel distribution systems;
access to trade with Turkey and Syria; relatively good infrastructure;
natural resources (water, oil, farm land); growth of small businesses;
educated, hard-working, entrepreneurial populace; and as the locals
have said, there is a "thirst for democracy."
Center and Northeast (4th Infantry Division):
General Ray Odierno has a more difficult security challenge in
the predominantly Sunni areas and in areas close to the Iranian
border. He understands the nature of the Ba'athist and foreign
terrorist threat and how that interacts with and affects his
civil-military programs. He said they have incredible tactical
intelligence on the Ba'athist cells and are making solid progress
in defeating this threat. Operations like Operation Peninsula
Shield, Operation Sidewinder, and Operation Soda Mountain have
been effective in rooting out Ba'athists and foreign terrorists.
He said as we capture or kill the foot soldiers, it is becoming
increasingly difficult for the mid-level Ba'athist financiers
to organize, recruit and maintain an effective force.
As Odierno deals more and more effectively with the Ba'athist
forces, he too has been able to complete an impressive array of
civil-military projects in his area of responsibility. In Kirkuk,
the northern part of his area of responsibility, General Odierno's
troops have established battalion commander "safe houses" to more
effectively interact with the population. They have stood up and
are training a police force.
My meeting in July with the Kirkuk Interim Governing Council members
was one of the most heartening of all. Many of the 18 members spoke
of their gratitude to President Bush and our troops for their liberation.
The word "liberation" was used repeatedly by the members. An Arab
member spoke eloquently of the need to return Kurdish property
to their rightful owners. "All Iraqis were victims of the last
regime," he said. Others spoke of American troops working with
us "in a nice way to help solve our problems," that "doors are
always open to us" and that "we found out the Americans are our
brothers who came as liberators not as conquerors."
One member said: "Please tell President Bush thank you for his
courageous decision to liberate Iraq. Many American soldiers have
volunteered their lives [for liberation]." The Turcoman member
asked that I convey to President Bush the Turcoman communities'
thanks for liberation. Another member commended the "tireless efforts
of General Odierno and his army" in helping the Iraqi people. And
finally, a member, speaking English, asked me when the U.S. government
was going to "confront Arab television for their incitement to
That council member's question suggests something else we don't
hear reported enough: the vast majority of the Iraqi people are
This fundamental truth was reflected in the statement issued on
the occasion of the Najaf attack by the Iraqi Governing Council: "This
type of criminal act will only make our people more determined
to move forward in building a new Iraq so that security and prosperity
Iraqi People are With Us
The people of Iraq are not only looking ahead to the day when
they have their own representative government, they are taking
active steps to make that happen now. There are some who still
ask the question: Is democracy possible in Iraq? There are even
some who doubt that democracy could ever take root in the Arab
world. But, the people of northern Iraq, beyond the reach of Saddam
Hussein and his regime, over the course of more than a decade demonstrated
an impressive ability to manage longstanding differences and develop
relatively free and prospering societies.
The mayor of Karbala expressed his personal gratitude, telling
us they would never forget that America saved us and delivered
us from the regime." He added: "We want to establish a national
government and maintain relations with America."
My meetings with Iraqis convinced me that they are looking to
do the same thing. We attended a meeting of the Mosul city council,
which was instructive in debunking the myth that Arabs, Kurds,
Turcomen, Assyrian Christians and Yezidi cannot live and work together.
The mayor of Mosul -- who is a Sunni Arab and former army commander
who spent a year in prison and whose brother and cousin were murdered
by the regime -- said life under the old regime "was like living
in a prison." He described the regime as "a ruthless gang that
mistreated all Iraqis." Now that that regime has been removed,
he and his council can turn their attention to more ordinary problems.
Investment and jobs, he said, are their top priorities. He credited
the wisdom of General Patraeus in improving the security situation.
He added that jobs and investment will follow.
When I asked the mayor if ethnic differences will prevent people
from working together, the Turcoman assistant mayor immediately
said: "We have never had ethnic problems in the past. Saddam created
them. We have always considered ourselves members of the same family.
It never crossed our minds that the next person is different." To
that, the mayor added: "What caused this great [ethnic] gap was
Saddam. Throughout our history we have had no problems. This has
happened only in our recent history. We consider ourselves one
garden with many flowers of different colors."
Even though the enemy targets our success, we will win the peace.
But, we won't win it alone. We don't need American troops to guard
every mile of electrical cable. The real center of gravity will
come from the Iraqi people themselves -- they know who and where
the criminals are. And they have the most at stake -- their future.
When inevitable challenges and controversies arise, we should
remind ourselves that most of the people of Iraq are deeply grateful
for what our incredibly brave American and coalition forces have
done to liberate them from Saddam's republic of fear.
When we've shown Iraqis we mean to stay until the old regime is
crushed, and its criminals punished -- and that we are equally
determined to give their country back to them -- they will know
they can truly begin to build a society and government of, by and
for the Iraqi people.
In many ways, the people of Iraq are like prisoners who endured
years of solitary confinement -- without light, without peace,
without much knowledge of the outside world. They have just emerged
into the bright light of hope and fresh air of freedom. It will
take time for them to adjust to this new landscape -- but, all
things considered, they are doing rather well.
Today, we are fighting a war on terror --a war that we will win.
As the council member's question about the incitement to violence
he saw on Arab television suggests, however, the larger war we
face is the war of ideas -- a challenge to be sure, but one that
we must also win. It is a struggle over modernity and progress,
pluralism and democracy, and real economic development.
When I was in Iraq, General Mattis told us that the two groups
who fought most aggressively during major combat operations were
the Fedayeen Saddam -- homegrown thugs with a cult-like attachment
to Saddam -- and foreign fighters, principally from other Arab
How do we know this? For one thing, the terrorists themselves
tell us. General Mattis and his men found foreign passports on
many of the enemy they killed, some of which stated openly that
they had come to Iraq for the purpose of fighting jihad.
Today in Iraq, we still face that poisonous mixture of Ba'ath
regime loyalists and foreign fighters.
Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, the commander of the Army's
1st Armored Division, recently described those foreign fighters
as "international terrorists or extremists who see this as the
Foreign terrorists who go to Iraq to kill Americans understand
this: if killing Americans leads to our defeat and the restoration
of the old regime, they would score an enormous strategic victory
for terrorism -- and for the forces of oppression and intolerance,
rage and despair, hatred and revenge. As the president told members
of the American Legion recently: "Terrorists know that a democratic
Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would be a further defeat
for their ideology of terror."
Iraqis understand this. Alongside us, they are working hard to
fight the forces of anger and hopelessness and to seize this historic
opportunity to move their country forward.
When I met with General Abizaid during my trip to Iraq, he placed
into larger perspective the battle in Iraq. He said, "The whole
difficulty in the global war on terrorism is that this is a phenomenon
without borders. And the heart of the problem is in this particular
region, and the heart of the region happens to be Iraq. If we can't
be successful here, we won't be successful in the global war on
terrorism." Success in Iraq, said the general, offers "a chance,
when you combine it with initiatives in the Arab/Israeli theater
and initiatives elsewhere, to make life better, to bring peace
to an area where people are very, very talented and resources are
abundant, especially here in Iraq."
Each time terrorists have achieved a tactical success, whether
in New York or Bali or Riyadh, or more recently in Najaf and with
the U.N. bombing in Baghdad, they've temporarily shaken people,
but each time they've aroused people.
In fact, the statement released by the Iraqi Governing Council
following the Najaf bombing decried "the brutality and descent
into insanity of the criminals who target a person while he is
worshipping. This type of criminal act will only make our people
more determined to move forward in building a new Iraq so that
security and prosperity will prevail. The evil hand that struck
Ayatollah Bakr al-Hakim and his brilliant record in confronting
the buried regime will not be able to prevent the realization of
Hakim's legitimate goals and supreme humanitarian values."
Based on his experience training the new Iraqi police, Bernie
Kerik is reported to have said that attempts to frighten the new
police force -- such as in the bomb blast at the Iraqi police academy
in Baghdad that killed one and wounded a dozen others -- won't
work. He said, "They're not going to intimidate them. They are
courageous people who have been fighting for 37 years and now they
finally have a chance to win."
America's troops and those of our coalition partners -- among
whom we would emphasize are the Iraqis themselves -- are determined
to win. And they will win, if we continue to give them the moral
and material support they need to do the job. As the president
said recently, our forces are on the offensive. And as Army Vice
Chief of Staff General John Keane said in congressional testimony, "They
bring the values of the American people to this conflict. They
understand firmness, they understand determination. But they also
understand compassion. Those values are on display every day as
they switch from dealing with an enemy to taking care of a family."
I've seen the troops in Iraq, as have many of you here. And I
think you'll agree that General Keane is absolutely right.
The president on Sunday clearly stated the mission and the stakes
involved, exactly as our troops understand them: He said, "We are
fighting the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today, so that we do
not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities."
America's armed forces will not be deterred from their mission
by desperate acts of a dying regime or ideology. And there is no
question that America's commitment to secure a peaceful Iraq --
back home -- must be at least equal to the commitment of our troops
and to the stakes, for it is related to nothing less than our security
and that of our children and grandchildren.
We look forward to doing our part to work with the members of
Congress to help support our Armed Forces throughout the world
who are doing their part to make America and her people more secure.