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Iraq Journals

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Monday, June 28

What members of Congress are saying about the transfer of power


WASHINGTON — Here is what some members of Congress had to say about the expedited transfer of power in Iraq:

"I welcome the transition of power from the United States to the Iraqi people. As the president meets with his counterparts at NATO, I hope that he will find ways to speed security and peace in Iraq. It has been among the goals of the Bush administration to receive pledges of increased numbers of troops from other countries to assist in the stabilization of Iraq. But the achievement of those goals has been difficult." — Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.

"Hate-filled terrorists will attempt to thwart this march toward a free Iraq, but I have confidence in the human nature of the vast majority of the Iraqi people who will strive and persevere to establish their own society with greater respect and opportunity for all. This is a day which will go down in history as one of the key events in their march to liberty." — Sen. George Allen, R-Va.

"The buck stops on the Iraqi desk now. ... The real test will come perhaps in a month or two after we've finished the training of some of the Iraqi forces. The rubber hits the road when you determine whether or not they are willing to take the risk, the same risk as coalition forces. The United States and other coalition forces have done their best to bring stability." — Sen. John Warner, R-Va.

"Today we turned over sovereignty, but we are not turning over capacity, the capacity for the Iraqis themselves to provide security, deliver essential services and set a foundation for economic progress. … Together with the international community, our challenge … is to help Iraq develop the capacity to stand on its own feet. Unless and until we do, it will be impossible to disengage responsibly from Iraq." — Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.

"While we transferred sovereignty today, we need to be honest with the American people that this struggle is far from over. Security in Iraq is worse now than it was right after the fall of Baghdad and may deteriorate further. The Iraqi security forces cannot handle the challenge alone, reconstruction has barely started, and massive unemployment has left many frustrated and even desperate. While the Iraqis will now make their own decisions, they are also at their most vulnerable. Iraq is still a very dangerous place." — Sen. John "Jay" Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

"Today's transfer not only avoids the danger surrounding a big celebration on June 30, but it will further impress on the Iraqi people that this is their country and they've got to step up and run it." — Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

"Today marks a milestone in the history of our world. Today the Iraqi people will, for the first time in their history, have the opportunity to experience a representative government — one that will allow them to determine the political and economic future of their country. This historic day ushers in a new era that will anchor the Middle East not by a brutal regime that rules by fear and intimidation, but one of democracy and freedom where all people are free to express their beliefs and exercise their free will." — Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala.

"Iraq faces some very serious security, economic and political challenges in the months ahead. One key question now is whether NATO’s favorable response to the request for assistance from the interim Iraqi government will be echoed by other nations, particularly Muslim nations." — Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

"Today is indeed a new day for the people of Iraq. We must do all we can to support the Iraqis and their brave leaders in this establishment of a free and democratic country. Our ability to turn over control to a peaceful and sovereign Iraqi government truly is an integral part of the overall war on terror, and we have no choice but to succeed. The world is watching, and even more, those who desperately want to derail our efforts are watching — and we must demonstrate that evil and oppression will not prevail in the face of democracy." — Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

"I was very pleased with the news of the transition of power in Iraq. It is quite obvious that the extremists in Iraq were trying to derail this and it was wise to move the date forward and execute the transition. Now the terrorists will be exposed for what they are trying to do, which is to prevent freedom and democracy in Iraq." — Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla.

"Today's handover ... further dispels the myth that Iraq is an imperial adventure for the United States. Iraq is not America's beachhead in the Middle East.'" — Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.