Testimony as Delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Transition in Iraq

U.S. Department of Defense Speeches, June 25, 2004 | Go to article overview

Testimony as Delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Transition in Iraq


Testimony as Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, Friday, June 25, 2004.

SEN. WARNER: The committee meets today to receive testimony on the transition to sovereignty in Iraq, now just days away. We welcome our witnesses, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, General Richard B. Myers. Out witnesses are well qualified and well experienced to discuss this topic, as they've been intimately involved in it now from the very beginning. Secretary Wolfowitz, in addition, has just returned days ago from his most recent trip to the region and made your own assessment of this transition.

In five days the sovereignty of Iraq will pass to an interim Iraq government as Iraq continues its path to elections and a hopeful democratic future. The past few months have been very challenging, how well we all know, from the continuing evolving violence against the coalition military forces, against the new Iraqi government and against innocent civilians, their own people. We're reminded that Iraq remains a very dangerous place.

In addition, we have witnessed evidence of abusive misconduct by some very small number of our troops involved in detention facilities. Our committee will continue to look into these instances and work with the department to ensure that corrective measures are taken. We cannot allow the misguided actions of a few to tarnish the honorable efforts and achievements of the vast majority of out service persons in Iraq and around the world.

We're ever mindful of the risks our troops face every day and the sacrifices made by the families that support them and indeed the communities that support them. The recent brutal murders of innocent civilians, including Americans and other foreign nationals in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, remind us, remind the world of the cruel, depraved nature of those who oppose us in the global war on terrorism.

Those who have been removed from power in Iraq and Afghanistan are seeking to delay their inevitable defeat and prevent others from realizing their hopes for freedom and democracy.

We mourn every loss of life, every loss of limb, and salute those who serve and continue to face courage in the cause of freedom with the support of their families and with our support.

The timeliness and importance of this hearing cannot be overstated. We're at a critical juncture for coalition efforts in Iraq. The passage two weeks ago of a new U.N. Security Council resolution, 1546, provides the appropriate means to continue our support for efforts to stabilize and democratize Iraq and to encourage increased participation by the rest of the international community in this extraordinary, important endeavor. As part of this resolution, the U.N. and the new interim government of Iraq have requested the continued presence of a U.S.-led multinational force to assist in establishing security and stability in Iraq so that a democratic political process can continue.

The progress made by our armed forces, together with their coalition partners, presents an opportunity to fully defeat violence and terror in Iraq as nations--whose previous ruler had perpetrated violence and terror on his population, his neighbors and was a threat to the world. The cycle of violence that has gripped this part of the world must end if we're to win the global war on terrorism and make America and the world a safer place. Any deviation, any hesitation from our current course will only embolden those who are intent on fomenting instability and anarchy and terrorism.

We've achieved, I think, extraordinary successes in a relatively short period of time. Saddam Hussein and the threat he posed are gone. A new Iraqi government will soon assume power. Infrastructure and institutions are being rebuilt. The future is hopeful for the Iraqi people. How encouraging this morning, the polls showing the Iraqi people reposing confidence in this new government. …

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