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Published:December 16th, 2006 05:16 EST
Caldwell: We win when they win

Caldwell: We win when they win

By SOP newswire

The Iraqi people and the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) share a vision for Iraq: a secure, stable, and self-governing nation in which Iraqis find solutions to Iraqi problems.  To do this, the Government of Iraq must achieve national reconciliation, rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure to provide basic services, and – in partnership with Coalition forces – defeat the terrorists and extremists seeking to sow the seeds of discord and division among the Iraqi people. 

The best way to achieve this last goal is to transition more authority and responsibility for Iraq’s security to Iraqis.  Iraqi forces have the best understanding of their culture, language, and geography – all skills vital to defeating an insurgency.  Once sufficiently trained, equipped, and mentored, the Iraqi Security Force will be the most effective weapon against the foreign and extremist elements trying to tear apart Iraq. 

For more than thirty years, the Iraqi Army was a tool of oppression.  Three years ago, there were virtually no security forces in Iraq. Today, Iraqis are protected by  a trained and equipped military and police force, a force that will soon number more than 350,000.

Quality is improving with quantity.  Eighty percent of the Iraqi Army is already operating with limited Coalition support.  Recent independent Iraqi operations in Baghdad, Baqubah, and elsewhere have captured senior Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, freed dozens of kidnapping victims, and uncovered massive weapons caches that would have been turned into car bombs capable of killing hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

Challenges remain.  Iraqi forces have deficiencies in logistics, leadership, and in some cases, loyalty.  The best way for the Iraqi Security Force to enhance their capabilities and values is through partnership with Coalition transition teams.  So MNF-I has strengthened how we train and mentor Iraqi forces.  Transition teams combine the best kind of leadership, leadership by example, with the best kind of education, learning through experience.  We are seeing positive results with the way these dedicated troops develop capable Iraqi forces that are loyal to the democratically-elected representative unity government and to all of Iraq’s people. That is why we are creating more Military, Police, and Border Transition Teams, increasing their size, and accelerating their use.   

Exporting military professionalism and developing Iraqi forces is vital to our national interest.  We win when they win.

By Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV
Spokesman, Multi-National Force - Iraq