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Comments from U.S. leaders about retaking Samarra

Comments from U.S. leaders about retaking Samarra in October 2004.

Oct. 1, 2004—Colin Powell, then secretary of state: "The Sunni triangle in the middle is where we have the problem. That's where the insurgency is raging. Our troops are in serious battle today in Samarra to take that city back from the insurgents and they're having some success, initial reports suggest. And so, over the next several months, you will see us working alongside the Iraqi forces, take control of these cities again so that everybody will have a chance to participate in the election" in January 2005.

Oct. 3, 2004—Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser: "The reporting from the ground (Samarra) is that things have gone well. I think it would be premature to say that it has wrapped up, because insurgencies have a tendency to wax and wane. But clearly the really good news out of this is that Iraqi forces have fought alongside American forces and they've done well."

Oct. 4, 2004—President Bush: "In Iraq we're going to have elections in January. In Iraq we're training people, Iraqis, so they can do the hard work of defending themselves. We're training and equipping army, national guard, police, border patrol. I don't know if you've seen any newspapers recently, but in Samarra, the Iraqi soldiers performed brilliantly."

Oct. 10, 2004—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld: "What has to be done in that country is what basically was done in Samarra over the last 48 hours. You have to first threaten the use of force if things—you cannot allow a series of safe havens or a consistent pattern of misbehavior—antisocial behavior, violence against the government of Iraq—to go on over a sustained period of time. You can't allow that or you don't have a country, or people won't feel they have a stake in it. So you have to do something about it ... And finally, you may have to use force. And that's what happened in Samarra."


(Compiled by Knight Ridder researcher Tish Wells.)


(c) 2006, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.