Iraqi regime may be gone, but troops still face danger

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 9, 2003

"This is a good day for the Iraqi people. There is no question but that there are difficult and very dangerous days ahead and that the fighting will continue for some period. But certainly anyone seeing the faces of the liberated Iraqis - the free Iraqis - has to say that this is a very good day."

Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld made his comments yesterday in a Washington press briefing. His observation was right on target.

Coalition forces are cautiously victorious, and know the threat of danger is not gone.

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The images of statues of Saddam Hussein being dragged down by Iraqis with the assistance of U.S. Marines sent a highly symbolic message across the globe yesterday.

They signaled the end of a regime. Television news reports carried video of Iraqis dancing in the streets of Baghdad.

To the north of Baghdad, coalition forces marched closer to Tikrit, Saddam's hometown to stamp out the remnants of the regime's Republican Guard.

The whereabouts of Saddam and his sons are unknown.

The war, it seems, has been won.

But the struggle - and the danger that goes with it - is far from over.

Some 100 U.S. military men and women have been killed in the war so far. We grieve with their families and are thankful for their sacrifices - did not die in vain.

The United States and our coalition partners still have a long way to go before Iraq is secure, and our forces there still face grave peril.

We, like our forces abroad, should remain vigilant. We must remember our fallen countrymen and honor their memory.

We must continue our prayers for the safety of our fighting men and women abroad. We unify our nation when we pray, and at this critical juncture in history, national unity should rightly be our priority.