News / USA

    Gates: No Victory Celebration for Iraq as Mission Changes

    U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told an American veterans' group Tuesday it is not time to celebrate victory in Iraq, even though the U.S. combat mission is formally ending. Gates spoke Tuesday to the annual meeting of the American Legion in the midwestern U.S. city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Secretary Gates called Wednesday's formal handover in Baghdad the moment both countries have been working for and hoping for, a moment he said was "made possible by the dramatic security gains of the last three-and-a-half years."

    He said attacks are at their lowest levels since the beginning of the war in 2003, in spite of the recent series of incidents. He also noted that U.S. forces have not had to call in an air strike anywhere in Iraq for more than six months, and he said the remnants of al-Qaida's Iraqi organization have been cut off from its commanders abroad.

    Still, he warned, all is not well in Iraq. He noted the ongoing political stalemate and lingering sectarian tensions, and he said al-Qaida in Iraq is "beaten, but not gone."

    "This is not a time for premature victory parades or self-congratulation, even as we reflect with pride on what our troops and their Iraqi partners have accomplished. We still have a job to do and responsibilities there," said the defense secretary.

    Gates said the U.S. military will continue to work with the Iraqi Army and police forces, to train the Iraqi Navy and Air Force, and to help with operations against terrorist groups. He noted that so far 4,427 U.S. troops have been killed in the war, and more than 34,000 have been injured, some of them very seriously.

    The secretary also said the Iraq War diverted American attention and resources from Afghanistan, where he said U.S. troops defeated the Taliban in 2001 and 2002, only to see the group reestablish itself and escalate its insurgency. That is a problem the United States is able to address only now, with a decreased troop commitment in Iraq.

    The last of the additional forces President Barack Obama ordered to Afghanistan are just arriving, and the next 12 months will be critical in the effort to demonstrate the same type of counterinsurgency approach can work there that worked in Iraq. The troop increase, designed to fight the insurgents and enable engagement with local people in key areas, brings the American total close to 100,000, with nearly 50,000 more from other allied countries. Secretary Gates noted that is more than three times as many as when he took office not quite four years ago.

    Still, he he said a "tough, hard campaign" lies ahead in Afghanistan, "with its share of setbacks and heartbreak." "Success there is not inevitable. But with the right strategy and the willingness to see it through, it is possible. And it is worth the fight," he said.

    Gates called victory in Afghanistan "essential to the safety of the United States." He said it would deliver "a strategic defeat to al-Qaida," roll back Taliban gains, and build Afghanistan's ability to defend itself and prevent the re-establishment of terrorist safe havens like the one the Taliban provided to al-Qaida to plan and launch the September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    Diplomats Hope to Revive Cradle of Civilization After Defeat of IS

    Diplomats from around globe gather at US State Department, discuss how to rebuild minority communities shattered by Islamic State group

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100% Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora