Rumsfeld said that it is important to put Iraqi violence in context. He noted that Saddam killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis while he was ruling Iraq. Violence and mass murder are not a new thing to Iraqis. The current violence, though horrible, is small potatoes compared to what Iraqis have been through. In fact, that's one of the reasons they have been able to show such courage in the face of violence that is daunting to us.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: . . . what we're seeing there now is a conscious effort by the terrorists and the insurgents to incite a civil war and sectarian strife. Those same people tried to stop the election last January 15th and they failed. They tried to stop the drafting of a constitution and they failed. They tried to stop the referendum on the constitution last October 15th and they failed. They tried to stop the election December 15th and they failed. Twelve million Iraqis went out and voted notwithstanding the violence, notwithstanding the threats and the intimidation. Now they're trying to stop the formation of a new government. I think they're going to fail again.
To date terrorists and insurgents have had a string of major defeats in their use of violence and threats to derail free government in Iraq. As Secretary Rumsfeld points out:
- they failed to stop the election January 15, 2005
- they failed to stop drafting a constitution
- they failed to stop the referendum on the constitution October 15, 2005
- they failed to stop the election on December 15, 2005
It's a good reminder that the Iraqis have already shown in spades the sort courage and resilience that is at the heart of establishing and sustaining democracy.