|Name: John Abizaid||Find on Amazon India: Link|
|Nationality: American||Find on Amazon: Link|
Well, the hardest thing to do, as we know from our own experience on 9/11 is protect everything all the time.
Our forces will not be on the sidelines.
It’s clear to me now that we’ve got to reach out to the Arab Sunni community in particular in an effort to cause some moderate political activity to take place so they join the future of Iraq.
It’s also natural in that part of the world to blame what people view as the… as the most important authority in the region, and that currently is the United States of America.
Morale is good; troops are confident; leaders are capable.
Oh, the transition concerns me because as we move towards an important political event, it’s clear to me that the terrorists and insurgents will move as hard as they can to disrupt this process.
So, these political activities will create friction in and of themselves, and in this environment of friction there’ll be additional violence.
Undoubtedly, there are members of the former regime that are cooperating in some fashion and then there are extremists that are within Iraq that are cooperating with them.
In other words, for every 10 enemy you kill you bring on 20 new recruits to their anti-coalition cause then essentially you are working against yourself.
We’ve got to ensure that the quality and the capability of these forces will be good enough to withstand the challenges that the insurgents and the terrorists will present to the new Iraqi government.
Certainly our goal is to leave Iraq, but we can’t leave Iraq with our forces until we know that the Iraqi security forces are capable and efficient enough to defend the sovereignty of the nation.
Well, the reports are correct that we’re conducting very robust military operations on the Afghan side of the border in areas where we think al-Qaida is operating and Taliban remnants are.
You know as well as I do that counterinsurgency is a very nuanced type of military operation.
We’ll try to include Iraqi officers in our staffs. We will do everything we can to empower Iraqi security forces to stand up on their own and operate where they can alone.
But clearly the fact that we’ve gone from zero Iraqi security forces on duty in May to up to 200,000 today is an enormous accomplishment, but it’s not enough.
And so I think that if the person has the funds, the network, and the equipment to do this, and also the experience, which is the key factor, then they can be quite deadly.
As far as Zarqawi is concerned, there is a network of extremists; it’s not just Zarqawi.
I think what actually works best is local-level individual targeting of key leadership nodes.
But all that having been said, you can’t, in a city of a million people like Karbala, or 5 million like Baghdad, you can’t be in all places at all times.
I think you will see a lot of strains develop in the political process that will result in violence everywhere in the country – but it’s controllable, it’s workable and it will lead to a much better future for these people.
But I am satisfied that the information that we have that this is the work of Zarqawi, is accurate.
But the key shift in focus will be from counter-insurgency operations to more and more cooperation with Iraqi security forces and to building Iraqi security capacity.
But the truth of the matter is that there is there is an opportunity for them to participate in the economic and political future of the country and certainly in the security life of the country.
Capturing any member of any terrorist cell or any insurgent cell that we may happen to come across is always very, very valuable, and the thing that interests me is that in most instances after a time people talk and they tell us what they know.
Clearly the Secretary of Defense, my boss, would like nothing better than to get Osama bin Laden and to get… to ensure the complete defeat of al-Qaida, because we know that al-Qaida is planning operations against the United States even as we speak here.
I think you also understand that one of the key things that’s got to be done in Iraq is to build a mentality of understanding that the military needs to be subordinate to civilian control and respectful of its own people.
Being on the run, having to change the way that you do business, being unable to plan in a safe and secure environment, always looking over your shoulder, knowing that some day somebody’s going to knock on your door and it’s going to be your last.