Friday, February 27, 2004

Attacks on U.S., coalition and Iraqi security forces in Iraq will not stop the country's march toward self-governance and democracy, a senior U.S. military officer said today.

"Those who attempt to prevent a free and democratic state (in Iraq) will definitely fail," Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 7, told reporters at a Baghdad press conference.

"We remain undaunted," he asserted, against attacks conducted by Saddam Hussein loyalists and terrorists. He pointed out that despite anti-coalition attacks designed to intimidate Iraqis, the numbers of those volunteering for security duty continue to grow.

Training facilities for Iraqi security police forces "are full and are continuing to expand," Sanchez said. And the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps is slated to add 13 battalions to its present 23 battalions by April.

"We expect no problems in being able to man and train those units," Sanchez said, noting that anti-terrorist operations across Iraq are increasingly being conducted by joint and independent Iraqi security forces.

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