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American Forces Press Service

U.S. Must Stay Until Job is Done, Cheney Says in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2008 – The United States must continue operations in Iraq until the job is done, Vice President Richard B. Cheney said today in Baghdad.

“I think given the enormous effort that's been made and the sacrifices that have been made -- both in terms of lives and national treasure -- to succeeding in Iraq, it's very, very important that we succeed,” he said, “(and) that we not quit before the job is done.

“We need to remember that our objective here is victory and that we need to be prepared to do whatever it takes in order to achieve that,” he added.

On his second trip to post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, Cheney today met with Iraqi and U.S. officials, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker.

The vice president noted significant security and governmental progress since his last visit, which came on the heels of a 33,000-troop surge designed to tamp down violence in Iraq and help prepare Iraq’s national forces to maintain security.

The deployment of the five additional combat brigades, which completed this time last year, coupled with an invigorated counterinsurgency effort has been considered by officials to be a largely successful U.S. strategic military shift.

“It's been a remarkable turnaround in the overall security situation and the level of violence, both in terms of military and civilian casualties,” Cheney said of the strategy during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy.

The Iraqi government has made some political progress, the vice president he said, but he also noted that Iraqi policymakers have been unable to pass legislation concerning the sharing of provincial power and the Iraqi oil revenues.

“I think they are seized with these issues,” he said. “My interest today was encouraging them to move rapidly and aggressively to get them resolved.”

Cheney said the timing of his trip is significant, as this week marks the fifth year since U.S. forces toppled Saddam and set Iraqis on the road to democracy.

“So if you reflect back on those five years, I think it's been a difficult, challenging, but nonetheless successful endeavor,” he said. “(I think) that we've come a long way in five years, and that it's been well worth the effort.”

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