Zarqawi Death, New Ministers Mark Progress in Iraq

Today's successful air strike on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a testament to the professionalism and heroism of the American men and women serving in Iraq. The death of al-Zarqawi is a critical achievement toward improving Iraq's security situation and represents another important milestone for the Iraqi people. Al-Zarqawi was a ruthless murderer; he personally beheaded at least two Americans and oversaw the bombing and killing of countless innocent civilians and American troops. He was behind much of the terrorism and sectarian violence that has besieged Iraq in the past three years. His elimination is great news for all Iraqis and for our troops.

The cooperation between American and Iraqi forces in locating and eradicating al-Zarqawi is yet another example of the increased strength in Iraq's ability to provide for its own security. There are many political opportunists who have called for a unilateral withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. This cut and run strategy will only destroy the progress that has been made in Iraq and undermine the sacrifices of our troops for the freedom of the Iraqi people.

America's military commanders on the ground in Iraq should continue to make the important decisions with respect to when to strike, and when Iraqis are able to act alone. It is not the political winds that will improve the security situation, but rather the efforts like the one today by our military commanders and participated in by the Iraqis. The approval of both the ministers of defense and interior by the Iraqi parliament today signify further progress in the establishment of Iraqi self-determination, and will help in achieving the milestones needed for our troops to return home to their families and loved ones.