TOPICS > Politics

Wolfowitz Calls for Patience As Violence Continues in Iraq

BY Admin  July 21, 2003 at 12:40 PM EDT

Wolfowitz’s comments came as another American was killed in a roadside bombing Monday, bring the total to five U.S. soldiers, an Iraqi interpreter and a United Nations driver killed since Friday.

Wolfowitz, who has quietly been touring the nation for five days, urged Iraqis to be patient and to work with the U.S.-led coalition forces to rebuild the shatter country.

“We understand why they are impatient,” he told the Mosul city council. “Some people think that because we’re the United States we can fix things right away. We can’t.”

Wolfowitz stressed that economic development was needed to bring stability to the region, but that it would take time.

“Even though we can do many things, we’re not gods,” he said.

Even as Wolfowitz was meeting with political leaders in the north, American forces in Baghdad faced another in a series of deadly ambush attacks.

U.S. Central Command officials said that an American serviceman and an Iraqi interpreter working for the U.S. died “when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and was subsequently engaged with small arms fire in the As Sulaykh district of Baghdad.”

A Reuters photographer witnessed the explosion and later reported seeing two burnt out military vehicles at the scene. Three other U.S. soldiers were injured in the attack.

“The mangled shells of the Humvees, their canvas tops obliterated and tires burned off, smoldered well into the afternoon as military investigators secured the scene,” Reuters correspondent Oleg Popov reported from the scene.

Monday’s bombing brings to 38 the number of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations there on May 1.

In recent days the top U.S. military and civilian leaders in Iraq have announced they will train and arm a 7,000-member Iraqi militia to help patrol the streets and hopefully reduce the exposure of American forces to potential ambushes.

“An Iraqi militia will be a localized effort to assist local governors in running their areas; it will assist coalition forces on an as needed basis to put an Iraqi face on things,” Marine Lt. Gen. James T. Conway in Hilla, south of Baghdad, told The Associated Press.

Even as violence continued on the streets of Baghdad, the newly appointed U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council continued efforts to form a government and reach out to the international community.

Throughout the day Monday, members of Council debated how the group would function and who would assume the key roles.

A delegation from the Council also traveled to the U.S. to meet with U.N. and American officials.