January 20th, 2007 05:07 EST
British general optimistic about progress
BAGHDAD — Iraqi progress was discussed during a press conference with the Pentagon Press Corps Friday. The event was conducted via satellite at the Combined Press Information Center in the International Zone.
Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb, senior British Military Representative in Iraq and deputy commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, discussed the status of the Iraqi government and security forces.
“We are judged by our actions in this world, and I do see them (the Iraqi people) taking the right actions,” said Lamb.
The difference the Iraqis have made in a short period of time is encouraging and shows that time and efforts have not been wasted.
I’ve been here four times now and each time I’ve come back, there have been small steps toward progress, said Lamb.
If Lamb seems hopeful it’s from the positive outcomes that are being made, not just in the Iraqi military, but in the humanitarian efforts that are going on.
“I look at the megawatts of power that are coming on line and I see some of the reconstruction programs that are going out,” Lamb said. “Now that gives me a degree of optimism.”
The forecast for this year seems to be bright as the Iraqi government gets more involved.
“I see 2007 being a point where we continue to move forward,” Lamb said. “I see a commitment with this government that I have not seen before. “
Despite the positive outlook, there is still a lot of criticism when it comes to how the Iraqi government is handling things.
We need to remember that it’s new ground for this prime minister, new ground for this government; actually it’s new ground out here in the Middle East for what they’re doing, Lamb said.
“And don’t forget,” he added, “they’ve only been in power for, what, some 240 days. It took you (Americans) 11 years to write your Constitution, and we’re (British) still trying to write ours.”
Lamb is also quick to dispel any doubts that Iraq’s security forces are not up to standard.
“We’re embedded with the Iraqi forces to ensure that they are capable,” Lamb said.
The sacrifice and effort that the U.S. military personnel have provided in aiding Iraq during this time of crisis has not gone unnoticed.
“I see American Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and civilians, none of them shrinking from their duty,” Lamb said. “They are in service of your great nation and they deserve the love and thanks of every man and woman.”
(By U.S. Army Spc. Scott Kim, Combined Press Information Center)