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 Home > News & Policies > November 2003

For Immediate Release
November 11, 2003

Global Message

From remarks by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Foreign Press Center, Washington, DC, 11/10/03

  • We continue to go after the terrorists and regime remnants, rooting them out, capturing and killing them. We're doing so with the help of a growing number of Iraqis, who are participating in the defense of their country..

  • We will be accelerating the training of Iraqi forces. The objective of going from the level of 118,000 Iraqis under arms today, to somewhere in excess of 220,000 in 2004.

  • Iraqi forces bring capabilities that U.S. forces do not. They speak the language, know the culture, know the people, and can gain intelligence and develop situational awareness that coalition forces serving even for a year cannot hope to achieve. They can also enter mosques and holy sites.

  • The level of Coalition and U.S. forces serving in Iraq next year will depend on the security situation on the ground and the pace at which Iraqi forces, security forces, are able to assume additional responsibilities..

  • The goal is not to reduce the number of U.S. forces in Iraq, or to develop an exit strategy. Our exit strategy in Iraq is success. The objective is not to leave - it is to succeed in our mission.

  • The Iraqis' role is important because they are fighting - and sacrificing - for the freedom of their own country.

  • When young Iraqis study the history of Iraq's liberation, they will read that foreign troops were not the only ones who fought and died for the liberation of Iraq. They will know that Iraqis struggled and sacrificed for their country's freedom. More than 86 Iraqis have been killed in battle during the past few months, and more than 150 have been wounded.