The announcement today by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that Iraqi forces will assume security operations for all of the country by the end of this year is good news for Iraq and good news for American families. While U.S.-led coalition forces will remain in support and advisory roles, the rapid advancement of Iraqi forces is evidence of the Iraqi peoples' desire to stand on their own two feet.

Following the positive message Prime Minister al-Maliki delivered to us last week, it is becoming increasingly evident that Iraq will succeed as a democratic country. President Bush is right: Freedom is the permanent hope of mankind.