Iraq Moving Forward to Establish Democracy, Panetta Says

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, July 11, 2011 — Though Iraq has devel­oped the lead­ers it needs to move the coun­try for­ward, form­ing a democ­ra­cy has its per­ils, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta said here today.
Iraq is devel­op­ing a democ­ra­cy that can be an impor­tant exam­ple to oth­er nations in the region, Panet­ta told ser­vice mem­bers dur­ing a talk at the Hope Chapel.

Amer­i­cans must have patience with the nascent Iraqi democ­ra­cy, the sec­re­tary said. 

“We may not agree with every­thing they do. Some­times it’s dif­fi­cult as they work their way through the issues,” he said. “But the nature of a democ­ra­cy … is you’ve got to fight your way through these issues. Peo­ple are going to dis­agree, [and] there are peo­ple that are going to have dif­fer­ent views. That’s got to play out.” 

But wait­ing as these issues play out can be frus­trat­ing, the sec­re­tary acknowledged. 

“I’d like things to move a lot faster here in terms of the deci­sion-mak­ing process,” Panet­ta said. “I’d like them to make a deci­sion. I’d like them to make the deci­sion: Do they want us to stay, or not stay? Do they want to get a min­is­ter of defense or don’t they want to get one? But damn it, make a decision!” 

Still, Panet­ta said, that’s the nature of a democ­ra­cy. The dia­logue will go on, and it is healthy, he added. 

Iraq is mov­ing in the right direc­tion, the sec­re­tary told the ser­vice mem­bers. “I think there’s a lot of hope here,” he said. “Bot­tom line here is the rea­son there’s hope here is because of you guys. Take that home with you.” 

Panet­ta spoke to the ser­vice mem­bers about the changes he has seen in Iraq. 

“The first time I came to this coun­try was as a mem­ber of the Iraq Study Group [in 2006], and this place was in tur­moil,” he said. “As a result of the great sac­ri­fice and work of the Unit­ed States mil­i­tary, this coun­try is on a much bet­ter path.” 

In an era of the Arab Spring — with demands for democ­ra­cy being made from Tunisia to Syr­ia to Yemen — Iraq is a sym­bol for the rest of the nations in the area, Panet­ta said, open­ing up the pos­si­bil­i­ty for “bet­ter rights, bet­ter dig­ni­ty, bet­ter oppor­tu­ni­ties” for their people. 

More work to be done in Iraq, Panet­ta said, and Iraqis and Amer­i­cans must work togeth­er to ensure all the sac­ri­fices that brought the coun­try to this point are not in vain. 

The sec­re­tary point­ed to the sol­diers, sailors and air­men and told them they have made a real dif­fer­ence. “The test in life is whether or not peo­ple look to you and say, ‘That per­son made a dif­fer­ence,’ ” Panet­ta said. “I can look at you and say each of you, in your own way, has made a difference.” 

In hon­or of that com­mit­ment, Panet­ta pledged to the ser­vice mem­bers that he will fight for them in Washington. 

“As you fought here, I will fight in Wash­ing­ton to make sure that you are pro­tect­ed, that you receive the best train­ing [and] the best equip­ment, that you receive the best sup­port in terms of the ben­e­fits that have been promised to you, and that we also pro­tect your fam­i­lies,” he said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →