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Aug. 05, 2015  War on Terror   Transformation   News Products   Press Resources   Images   Websites   Contact Us 
March to Democracy Continues
By Gen. George W. Casey Jr. / Multi-National Force-Iraq Commanding General

W hat the world witnessed Saturday (Oct. 15, 2005) in Iraq was Iraqis voting for their future. While the final outcome is not known at the time this article is being written, the important thing is that Iraqis took the next step in their push for democracy by exercising their right to vote.

Everybody did their part to ensure a successful referendum and we accomplished our

objective: each Iraqi had the opportunity to vote. The Iraqi government conducted outreach to ensure citizens learned about the Constitution, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq ran the polling stations, Iraqi Security Forces along with the Coalition forces provided outstanding security and Iraqis voted.

Despite constant insurgent threats of violence, referendum day was relatively peaceful and significantly better than the January election. Last January there were approximately 300 attacks across the country, about 90 directed against polling sites. Saturday there were less than 100 attacks across the country and less than 20 directed against polling sites. Overall, almost a 70 percent drop in attacks.

Also, there was a 90 percent drop in casualties (battle and election related). More than 10 million people voted in over 6,000 polling centers . a million more voters than in January! The inability of the insurgency to stop Iraqis from voting was a significant failure for them and a victory for democracy.

Iraqis voted under the shadow of the recent al-Zawahiri letter to al-Zaraqawi outlining al Qaeda's desire to form a base of operations in Iraq, establish a Caliphate and export terror throughout the region.

The successful referendum firmly establishes Iraq on the track toward democracy. As a matter of fact, the upcoming trial of former dictator Saddam Hussein is testimony to Iraqis following the rule of law and letting the system work . even for the very person who oppressed them for more than three decades.

In 60 days Iraqis face another milestone in their march to democracy-the election of their leaders for the next four years. Irreversible momentum is building and while insurgents and terrorists still continue their attempts to derail the process, we are confident that the Iraqi people will prevail in their quest.

The above article appeared in the Oct. 19, 2005, edition of This Week in Iraq,
which is produced by M ulti-National Force-Iraq. Newsletter | Multi-National Force Web Site
Last Updated:
11/30/2005, Eastern Daylight Time
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