[T]he political progress we're seeing in Iraq, that's going to be the key. And as the current government reaches out to Sunnis, which they're doing, trying to make them more a part of a constitutional process, that progress in the political front is going to be key to progress against the insurgency. And it's happening. (Transcript)
Gen. Richard B. Myers
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
GEN. RICHARD B. MYERS:
SUMMARY OF WEEKEND INTERVIEW COMMENTS
Insurgents continue to fail to derail progress in Iraq, despite switching their centers of gravity.
First the insurgents tried to drive the Coalition from Iraq. We're still there.
Next they focused on keeping Iraqis from joining the security forces, but Iraqis continue to sign up in record numbers.
The insurgents then attempted to intimidate Iraqis from going to the polls for the Jan. 30 elections, and Iraqis voted in tremendous numbers.
A poll conducted this month shows 85 percent are going to vote in the constitutional referendum scheduled for this fall.
Iraqi security forces are taking greater charge of their country's security.
Thousands of Iraqi security forces are now rooting out terrorists in Baghdad in Operation Lightning.
The ministries of interior (police forces) and defense (military forces) are coordinating their efforts in this operation; such integration is an important signpost of progress.
One hundred Iraqi security force battalions are trained and equipped.
Twenty-five can currently conduct independent or near-independent operations; the number increases each week, as does the number of operations with Iraqis in the lead and Coalition forces assisting.
There are 35 operations in progress that involve Iraqi Security Forces.
The al-Qaeda movement will continue in Iraq even if Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is captured or killed.
The Pentagon is inclined to believe that al-Zarqawi is injured, as alleged on his website.
The Coalition will continue to put 24/7 pressure on al-Zarqawi and his organization.
Efforts have been successful: more than 400 of his followers have been detained, and hundreds have been killed, including some of his closest lieutenants.
The Operation Tribute to Freedom website now contains a database of ready-made speeches available for the use of all Soldiers and Army civilians, active and retired. Once maintained on the Army Public Affairs website, the new location is www.army.mil/otf/speakers.