COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY BRIEFING WITH
BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT,
DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR COALITION OPERATIONS;
AND DAN SENOR, SENIOR ADVISER, CPA
LOCATION: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
DATE: MONDAY, MARCH 15, 2004
MR. SENOR: Good afternoon.
Just a couple of items on Ambassador Bremer's schedule. He has spent the past 24
hours meeting with individual members of the Governing Council on a number of
issues relating to next steps in the political process. He attended a full
meeting of the Governing Council this morning, or a partial meeting; I don't
know if -- I know a number of members of the Governing Council are out of town,
but there was a regular business GC meeting this morning that he attended.
Separately, just following up on the announcement of the other day on borders,
we are moving forward with implementation of the program. This was the
announcement to decrease the number of ports of entry along the Iranian-Iraq
border from 19 ports to three. It is to decrease the number of foreign nationals
crossing the border, increase the number of immigration officers at border
points, to install the PISCES electronic computer tracking system, to increase
the number of border patrols, double the number of border police, increase --
decrease the length of stay of foreign nationals crossing the border into Iraq,
and begin to get in motion a process for passport presentation and entry permit
application for foreign visitors.
We are now beginning to look at implementation of all those components of the
program. Some will take immediate effect; for instance, reducing the number of
ports of entry from 19 to three -- that will take place within a few days as I
said, over the weekend.
GEN. KIMMITT: Thanks.
Good afternoon. The area of operations remains relatively stabile. Over the past
week there have been an average of 21 engagements daily against coalition
military forces, four attacks daily against Iraqi security forces and just over
three attacks daily against Iraqi civilian targets. To that end, in the past 24
hours the coalition conducted 1,448 patrols, 15 offensive operations, seven
raids, capturing 52 anti-coalition suspects and releasing seven detainees.
In the northern zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 28 patrols, four offensive operations, and detained 29 anti-coalition
suspects. Yesterday a regional government convoy was attacked in Mosul with
small-arms fire. Two individuals were killed: the secretary of Labor and Social
Affairs, Watsum Abdul Rahim (ph); and his driver. The Iraqi police are
investigating this incident.
In the north-central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 255 patrols, four raids, and captured 10 anti-coalition suspects.
Two days ago, the former Ba'ath Party headquarters in Dawar was attacked by a
missile fired from a vehicle. The missile did not detonate, and no injuries or
damage to equipment were sustained. Also two days ago, an Iraqi Civil Defense
Corps convoy was attacked by two car bombs west of Samarra. The convoy was
transporting the commander of the 202nd ICDC battalion, and it may have been an
assassination attempt on the battalion commander. The battalion commander was
not injured, but two soldiers were wounded during the attack, and they were
transported and are being treated at the Samarra hospital.
Yesterday coalition forces conducted a raid east of Balad. Three targets were
suspected of conducting rocket attacks against coalition forces. Forces captured
six individuals, to include three targets.
In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 561 patrols, 40 escort
missions, and captured six anti-coalition suspects. Yesterday coalition forces
were attacked with a roadside bomb while traveling west of Baghdad. The blast
killed one soldier from the 30th Enhanced Separate Brigade and wounded one
In the western zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted
184 patrols, including 16 independent ICDC patrols, and detained seven
anti-coalition suspects. Two days ago, coalition forces conducted a
cordon-and-search of five target locations near Khalidiya to kill or capture
enemy personnel in the area. The targets were bomb makers and are believed to be
directly responsible for an attack on coalition forces that killed one coalition
soldier on 29 September. The operation resulted in the capture of three enemy
personnel, including the two primary targets.
Yesterday coalition forces conducting another mounted patrol were attacked near
Khalidiya. A small pickup truck crossed the median of the road and aimed his
vehicle towards a moving fighting vehicle and detonated --
Q (Off mike.)
(Q ?) The translation is very quickly.
GEN. KIMMITT: Apparently we're having some problem with the translation. Let me
Q (Off mike.)
MR. SENOR: They're working on it.
GEN. KIMMITT: Is the translation working again? Okay.
MR. SENOR: All right.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yesterday, coalition forces conducting a mounted patrol were
attacked near Khalidiya. A small pickup truck crossed the median of the road and
aimed the vehicle towards a moving coalition fighting vehicle but detonated
before reaching the vehicle The driver dove from the vehicle and was
subsequently hit by several other cars and killed. At the same time, another
bomb was detonated along the right side of the road next to the vehicle in front
of the fighting vehicle that was targeted by the car bomb. A coalition soldier
suffered lacerations to his forehead but was returned to duty.
In the central-south zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces
conducted 114 patrols, established 37 checkpoints and escorted 37 convoys.
MR. SENOR: And with that we are happy to take your questions.
Yes? Go ahead.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: That is an issue that will have to be addressed by the Iraqi Ministry
of Interior, specifically the Department of Border Enforcement and Immigration
Controls. It is something they are considering is issuance of a new Iraqi
passport, or just beginning to issue versions of the, you know, versions of the
old Iraqi passport for new users. But hold up of issuance of passports will not
be an issue, regardless of whether or not they go for a new passport or continue
to use the old one.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, last night at about 23:30 hours we received a report from
the 4th Infantry Division that one of their patrols in the north-eastern portion
of the country, one conducting routine border operations was in fact shot and
fired upon by what is believed to be personnel wearing uniforms resembling those
worn by Iranian border guards. Once being fired upon the soldiers took
self-defense measures, returned fire; soon after that broke contact. And as you
might imagine, we are now trying to ascertain what actually happened at that
scene, and I know that both military and the diplomatic sides of the house are
working on this. And we don't see this as revolutionary nor do we see this as a
MR. SENOR: Yes, Rachel?
Q In today's security briefing about the daily operations, there was a reference
to -- that there had been some attacks on air assets. I was wondering if you
could go into a bit more detail as to when those attacks occurred and what kind
of attacks they were.
GEN. KIMMITT: No, I don't think I mentioned that there were any attack (sic) on
Q This was in the operational -- daily operational briefing that gets e-mailed
out, that gets sent out to the various news organizations.
GEN. KIMMITT: That must have been by one of the particular units. I haven't seen
that report. Do you know which unit it was?
Q I'm sorry. I don't.
GEN. KIMMITT: Okay. Well, let's take that question, and we can talk about it
right after the press conference.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q Can either or both of you comment on the announcement by the winner of the
Spanish election that he's going to withdraw Spanish troops from the operation
MR. SENOR: That -- a response to that issue I would defer to Washington, to the
U.S. Department of State or the White House. I know they're both -- at least the
White House will be holding a press briefing later today, and the State
Department likely will as well.
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah?
Q Richard Beeston from The Times. Sir, can I just follow up quickly on that one,
while we're on the subject? Could General Kimmitt just describe the -- what the
Spanish have contributed here and the value of it and how difficult they might
be to replace?
GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, the Spanish down working in Multinational Division Central
South are doing a wonderful job, like all the other coalition forces here.
They've had some tragedies over the past few months, as most nations here have,
when their colleagues in the Spanish military were attacked on road going down
south to Baghdad.
They, like all the coalition forces here, are conducting routine security
operations. When necessary, they're conducting cordon-and- search operations to
kill or capture enemies of the Iraqi people and the coalition.
We see them as a full partner in the coalition. We certainly see them as no
different than all the other major contributing nations, as providing a
significant presence here. That not only demonstrates our capability to provide
a safe and secure environment, but that this is more than just one or two
nations conducting this operation, but it's a coalition, not only in name but in
fact, of 35 different nations.
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q Sewell Chan from The Washington Post. General, could you tell us a little bit
more about the stabbing of an Army officer early yesterday morning near his
residential trailer inside the green zone? Specifically, has anyone been
apprehended in this stabbing? It is believed to have been conducted by an Iraqi
or by a non-American? And also, what security precautions are you urging
civilian and military employees of the CPA to take?
MR. SENOR: Let me just give you the facts first on the incident. During the
evening hours of March 13th, a CPA employee was attacked while walking inside
the green zone. The victim suffered serious stab wounds to his torso, head and
The victim was transported to the 31st Combat Support Hospital. The victim is a
U.S. Army officer. There is an investigation into this incident. It's under way
right now. The victim has been transported -- was transported last night to a
U.S. military medical facility in Germany and he's in stable condition.
Obviously, as I said, there is an investigation under way right now. So we have
no details -- no certain details about who the individual was who carried out
Q If I may ask a quick follow-up, do you have any information about whether this
is the first such attack within the Green Zone?
GEN. KIMMITT: To my knowledge, this is the first attack of its kind inside the
Q A question for both of you. Dan, first of all, could you tell us what was the
outcome of Ambassador Bremer's meetings with a Sistani representative in Kut at
And for the general, the 113th mental health unit rotates out today. Could you
tell us what emphasis the Army has been placing on putting combat stress support
up on the front line? Thank you.
MR. SENOR: Ambassador Bremer from time to time meets with regional
political/religious leaders around the country. Certainly there is much activity
on the political track right now, following up to the signage of the
Transitional Administrative Law, and it was just an update meeting to touch base
and provide details and discuss next steps.
GEN. KIMMITT: Regarding the combat stress facilities that we provide to our
soldiers, I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a doctor. But as an operations
officer, as a former commander I can tell you that they provide a significant
battlefield multiplier in those cases where we see individuals who may be having
stress reactions or even indicators of stress while in a combat zone. They are
able to, one, diagnose, and two, treat the early stages of what has been called
in the past combat stress, combat fatigue, by any number of names. And what we
have found as commanders, that the sooner we can get our young soldiers to a
professional who has a chance to diagnose and treat, the better chance that we
have of getting that soldier back to his unit -- his or her unit -- and be able
to provide -- and be able to function within that unit and provide a significant
contribution, as opposed to the times years ago when the soldiers were sent out
of the theater, lost to the unit, lost to their friends. And as I understand the
further away one gets from their unit the less chance there is of that soldier
coming back to the unit.
This way it's capability, remedial action, diagnosis and treatment very, very
close to the unit. And as a result it can be diagnosed quicker, treated better
and the mental health of that individual can be turned around faster so that
soldier can get back on the line, doing what he or she really wants to be doing,
which is working with their buddies and accomplishing the mission.
MR. SENOR: Ali (sp), go ahead.
Q (In Arabic.)
GEN. KIMMITT: Regarding the question that you brought up about the borders, we
are reducing the border crossing points between Iraq and Iran from 19 to three
and looking at other borders with the other countries in the region, and what
effect will that have, can that have on preventing or precluding incidents such
as we had in Kadhimiya here in Baghdad and Karbala. That is one of many actions
that we are taking to try to enhance our capability to identify, preclude these
attacks in the future, prevent these attacks in the future, and in those rare
occasions when they do occur to better investigate them in the future.
But as we've said many times from up here, the borders are just one element of
an overall anti-terrorist, counterterrorist campaign that is being waged in this
country, and sadly in many, many countries in the world, as we've seen most
recently and most dreadfully in Spain. Everybody's got to be involved in this
fight; it can't be left just to the Iraqi security forces, it can't be left just
to the coalition forces. Everybody must come together in a partnership against
terrorism so that we can identify early, grab those that would try to inflict
such horrible damage and horrible casualties on your fellow citizens and my
coalition soldiers. And if we work together on that, that is our best chance and
the best program we have to reduce these attacks from happening in the future.
MR. SENOR: To your other question, I didn't read what Larry Diamond said, but I
can tell you this: Not only did he not put the finishing touches on the interim
constitution, he didn't put the first touches on it. The interim constitution
was drafted by a drafting committee of the Iraqi Governing Council, chaired by
Dr. Adnan Pachachi, and it was unanimously agreed to, article by article, after
much negotiation and much compromise, first by subgroups -- caucuses, if you
will -- of the Governing Council, and then ultimately by the entire 25-member
council. So. I know that Larry Diamond is involved with democracy workshops and
important work around the country in that regard, but I don't recall him having
a direct role in the interim constitution.
Christine, go ahead.
Q Can you just update us on any information about the two civilian CPA people,
if there's any more information on what you know about the investigation. And
also, on this stabbing, was the U.S. military person conscious at the time, and
did he identify an attacker? And was it American or was it Iraqi; do you have
MR. SENOR: On the second question, and General Kimmitt can answer the first, we
do not know at this point whether or not the attacker was an Iraqi or an
American. It's part of the ongoing investigation. We just don't know at this
point. He was not conscious immediately after the incident.
GEN. KIMMITT: With regard to the Hillah killing of CPA employees, that
investigation, of course, is ongoing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is
actively involved in it. Spoke with the agents yesterday. Did not seem as if
there was any new information that had come out from either the investigation or
the recreation of the crime scene, which would, as I mentioned the other day,
indicate that the car of the CPA employees was followed by another car; that
car, the car that held the killers in it, came astride the CPA vehicle, shot
into the vehicle, and then, in fact, went in front of it, slowed it down,
stopped it; and that vehicle, when the shooting was done, veered off to the side
of the road, went into, I believe you mentioned, the gully, and that's where --
and then the lead car, with the killers in it at that point, then took off.
It was later on that the car with the alleged killers in it was apprehended.
Those personnel are still in custody and the interrogation is ongoing. To the
best of our knowledge, there have been no admissions yet or declarations that
have come out of those, but it will still be some time before we have all the
investigation results and as this case is brought forward.
MR. SENOR: Nigel, go ahead.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: In a democracy, one would expect there to be much heated debate and
demonstrations and discussions before an interim constitution is drafted and
finalized, and certainly after, certainly once it's released and publicized. And
the fact that that is going on right here in Iraq we view as a good sign that
Iraqis are thoroughly exercising their newfound freedom of speech. So long as
the protests and the debate are nonviolent, we have made tremendous progress.
Q Hi. General Kimmitt, I was wondering if you could tell us about an attack of
some sort or an incident of some sort near Baqubah where there was a house
destroyed? There's been some reports that five Iraqi civilians were killed, five
wounded, and initial reports from the area are saying that it was a U.S. attack.
Have anything on that?
GEN. KIMMITT: I don't. We'll see what the latest reports have, but that sounds
like one of those reports that would have come in quick and we would have
already had the information on it.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead.
Q (In Arabic.)
GEN. KIMMITT: On the first question, about the number of attacks against
civilian vehicles as they're traveling on the roads in the west from Syria or
perhaps Jordan, we do have a significant coalition presence out there. We do
have significant Iraqi police service presence out there, as well as the border
It is our procedure that if we see an attack going on, that coalition forces and
the Iraqi police services will of course intervene. I'm not sure that at this
point it is flawless out there, that every attack on a civilian vehicle
transiting that area is stopped, nor is it actually -- is there always an
opportunity for the coalition and the Iraqi police to intervene. But that's
probably a process more -- just as we continue to grow the size of the Iraqi
security services in the west, we may have a better coverage of that area.
MR. SENOR: As to your first question, any negotiations about future status of
Spain in the coalition will be addressed in the U.S. capital by the White House
or the State Department. So I will defer to them.
But obviously Spain is valued member of the coalition, as General Kimmitt has
said, that has -- the Spaniards have performed heroically and are critical to
our efforts here. But any process issue relating to their role going forward
will be addressed by others, not by me.
Q Steve Inskeep from National Public Radio. Two-part question, but at least
they're about the same thing. You alluded earlier to the changes in the border
crossings and mentioned that this might prevent attacks like the ones at
Kadhimiya and Karbala. First off, is there any evidence to date that there was
some kind of foreign involvement in those attacks? And secondly, Ahmed Chalabi,
I believe, has been quoted in the last day saying that after June 30th, he would
be inclined to roll back your border changes and reopen the border crossings.
Whose responsibility will the border crossings be after June 30th?
GEN. KIMMITT: With regards to the ongoing investigations of the attacks in both
Baghdad and Karbala, I'm not sure that we are yet at the point where we can as
certain whether this was done by Iraqi citizens or if it was done by persons
that came in from outside.
MR. SENOR: On your second question, most of the security issues post-June 30th
will be issues for a sovereign Iraqi government to address. We will have a
bilateral relationship with the Iraqi government, and we'll work on these issues
with them. Our tools at our disposal will switch from being tools of occupation
to tools of diplomacy, and we will have a very involved relationship in Iraq,
for obvious reasons, not the least of which is, we'll be deploying close to $20
billion just in the U.S. side here post-June 30th. So we'll be very involved.
But our status will be that of an invited guest, rather than an occupier, and so
a number of these issues will have to be made by a future Iraqi government, in
coordination with us. But they will be the lead on it.
Q I mean, statements -- if I could follow up, statements have been made that
substantial security authority will remain with the United States. Do you know
specifically about border control?
GEN. KIMMITT: The Department of Border Enforcement will continue to receive
policy and -- from the follow-on to the Coalition Provisional Authority, working
with the Ministry of the Interior. For the time being, as the coalition forces
continue the process of manning, training and equipping the Iraqi border police
service, they will continue to work with the coalition forces, under their
control, through agreements that we would expect to be completed before June
Q Hi -- (name inaudible) -- from CBC. I just have two questions, one with regard
to implementation of checkpoints and traffic re-routing around the city and the
countryside. In discussing these sorts of things, these sorts of protection
things for the Iraqi people and soldiers, in implementing these checkpoints is
there any discussion about whether the cure might be worse than the problem?
Whether in implementing these checkpoints and traffic re-routings that you might
sort of create additional sort of frustrations for people that might indeed make
them more hostile toward you?
And also, what's up with Saddam? I mean, what's -- where is the guy? I mean,
what's he doing? What's happening with him? Thank you.
GEN. KIMMITT: Let me tell you what's up with Saddam. He is currently in
coalition custody in a safe location.
With regards to the question about traffic control points, checkpoints,
re-routing of traffic, I've read that there is an old Arab expression, "Don't do
a good thing and then throw it into the river." We have to be very careful about
balancing the security needs on a day-to-day basis to ensure that the people of
Iraq and the coalition forces aren't attacked by terrorists, aren't attacked by
IEDs, aren't attacked by gunmen along the roads. To do that, you need to be out
there, you need to be visible, you need to be present and you need to be taking
action. At the same time, you don't need to turn it into such a totalitarian
highway system that the people of Iraq can't get from point A to point B and get
on with their lives.
Where is the balance point? That balance point is what our troops and our
soldiers are out there every day trying to establish. And understanding with the
people of Iraq that these inconveniences are not done for any other reason than
for their protection; that these impediments to their travel are to ensure that
that travel is safe. And I hope that every time you pass a coalition soldier who
is doing his or her duty that they have a smile on their face and they
appreciate that you along with them are sacrificing for the betterment of this
MR. SENOR: Yes?
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: To your first question, there can be changes and amendments so long
as a majority of Iraqis support it in a referendum and the only thing that could
prevent majority support -- sorry, the only thing that could prevent majority
turnover of any provision within the interim constitution is if two-thirds of
three provincial governates vote the opposite direction and that it provides to
some of these key elements within the interim constitution.
To your second question, we have no doubt that there will be some violators of
the new border policy, but that is no reason to not get aggressive in enforcing
our border policy. And because some individuals will slip through the cracks and
we'll continue to have an illegal cross-border problem, we still must move and
forge ahead to address this issue. And we believe this policy that we've
announced will do more to improve the situation than less. It will be a net
Q (In Arabic.)
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, on the first issue, of the inconveniences that are borne by
the people of Iraq as coalition forces are conducting their operations, as I
said earlier, the issues of blocking the roads, this is one of those balance
points that we need to find providing security but also providing liberty.
GEN. KIMMITT: But on the second point, about the killing --
Q Excuse me, sir, but I mean -- (off mike) -- Baghdad, not -- (off mike).
GEN. KIMMITT: And I'm talking about throughout the entire country.
Q (Off mike.)
GEN. KIMMITT: And they certainly do. And of those accidents, we have a very good
claims procedure, where any minor accidents -- or any major accidents, for that
matter -- where a citizen of Iraq believes that there have been some problems
and they are seeking compensation, they are able to make claims to the coalition
forces through the Iraqi security forces. Many of those claims, over 5,000 of
those claims have been determined and have been finalized. Right now I believe
the number is somewhere on the order of 4 billion Iraqi dinars have been paid
out in compensation.
In those unfortunate incidents where there are shootings, as we peel back -- as
we say, peel back the onion, we understand -- all of us must understand the
frustrations of driving the roads that have a significant amount of checkpoints,
convoys going past and forth, that we all must be very calm and very careful on
those roads so that frustration and that aggression that is building up does not
lead to an unfortunate incident where, because of the speed, because of the
aggressive nature of the driving, that the coalition forces don't mistake that
frustration with an attempted car bomb coming at them, because they will have to
act in self-defense.
So, we all need to work together on this to just try to avoid and try to
mitigate as much frustration and aggression as there is out on the roads so that
we can get on with our lives, both the coalition and the Iraqi security forces
can do their job, the citizens of Iraq can get on with their lives, and we can
reduce the amount of tension and the amount of violence to an absolute minimum.
MR. SENOR: Go ahead, sir.
Q (In Arabic.)
MR. SENOR: I think there will be an announcement within the next couple of weeks
on the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The Iraqi Governing Council, several months
ago, Dr. Pachachi announced -- I think it was when his presidency was winding
down, in his final press conference announced that there would be the
establishment of a Ministry of Defense. And in the next several weeks there will
be more information on it. It will be primarily a civilian policy-making
ministry. And as the transitional administrative law dictates, Iraq will now
have civilian control of the military.
We've got time for one more. Someone who hasn't asked a question.
Go ahead, sir.
Q General Kimmitt, you had mentioned earlier about this balance point that
you're trying to achieve. We're coming up on an anniversary here of combat
operations, and wondered if you could elaborate -- you and Mr. Senor -- on where
you think that balance point is right now, both in security and in terms of the
aftermath, the plan that was to be put in place after combat ceased.
GEN. KIMMITT: Well, let's talk about the security situation. It is certainly not
where we want it to be. Any time you have coalition soldiers getting killed,
wounded, attacked by car bombs, attacked by roadside bombs, you know you've got
some more work to do before we could satisfied with the security situation.
But if we also put this in context of where we were six months ago, nine months
ago, 12 months ago, and recognize that the character of the security situation
has changed so dramatically because of the work that is now being done by the
Iraqi security forces -- zero on the job a year ago, almost 200,000 on the job
now -- the character of the security situation is such that it is becoming more
and more Iraqi as a percentage of the total coalition; that coalition, which
includes the coalition forces from outside and from inside this country. So
we're -- as the security situation is not where we want it to be. Any time you
lose an American soldier, any time you lose a coalition soldier you can't be
satisfied, but we are absolutely determined to continue to try to maintain a
safe and secure environment in this country alongside of our Iraqi security
partners and continue to build up the Iraqi security capacity for them to
conduct those operations, when one day the coalition military forces from 35
nations have departed.
MR. SENOR: I would just add that what we have seen over the past year is a
dramatic decline in sort of random acts of violence, the looting that we saw in
the early days following the end of major combat operations. And what we have --
the most dominant form of violence is much more targeted. It is much more
purposeful. It is much more politically motivated. It is terrorism. And we have
been saying for some time that Iraq is now the central front in the war on
terrorism and that those engaging and organizing these attacks are trying to
turn back a tide that is moving very quickly towards democracy, towards
sovereignty, towards Iraqi political and economic empowerment. And as that
progress is made and as we surge forward and as the Iraqi people assume more and
more power, it is expected that there will be more attacks.
And the terrorists recognize that the stakes are high in this country. There was
a document that we recently released drafted by Mr. Zarqawi that talks
specifically about the clock ticking; that time is not on the side of these al
Qaeda types; that, as we move closer and closer to June 30th, they must engage
in more and more attacks because once June 30th comes and goes, they will lose
their pretext -- they will lose their excuse -- for wreaking havoc in this
country. And so the attacks we are seeing sadly are directly linked -- in direct
response to the progress we are making.
GEN. KIMMITT: But more important, you asked a question simply about security,
but what we are doing here is far more that just about security. You look at the
major lines of operations: where we are, where the economy has come to in the
last year, where the infrastructure has come back over the past year. The oil is
pumping. The electricity is flowing. The schools are opening. We often lose
context, as we look at it in day-by-day basis, of how much this country has come
along in the past year. We have a free, open and very friendly press corps here
that asks tough questions. That couldn't have been heard of 18 months ago.
Children in the schools right now are learning from books they never could own
18 months ago. The economy is coming back into a free market, not a statist
Are we satisfied? No, we're not satisfied yet. We know we still have work to do.
Are the people of Iraq satisfied with the conditions? They shouldn't be
satisfied, because the future is going to be better than it is today.
So as we talk about the security situation and as we grieve for every one of
those soldiers that we've lost, it's important for us to understand that those
soldiers did not die for fortune, they did not die for oil, they did not die for
land. They died so that they could bring this country to a condition that hasn't
been seen ever but we certainly hope for the people of Iraq, which is a free,
democratic and sovereign Iraq at peace with its neighbors and able to enjoy the
same types of freedoms and liberty that I, as an American, am allowed to enjoy
MR. SENOR: Thanks, everybody.