Statement by Senator Mark Pryor
On the End of Major Military Conflict in Iraq
Last night, President Bush signaled the end of major military combat in Iraq. I commend our President and our military officials for their leadership and I am proud of our servicemen and women who once again proved that they are the best trained and best equipped military in the world.
Not only did they risk life and limb to ensure our security, but their actions delivered the people of Iraq from a brutal dictator and will help bring peace and stability to a volatile region.
I join with all Americans in celebrating the safe return of our troops and the reunions of military families and will continue to pray for those brave men and women whose service in Iraq is still needed.
While the regime of Saddam Hussein is over, the road to a new Iraq is still long.
For many Iraqis, the meaning of a new Iraq is unclear and we must be sensitive to that.
I believe that to rebuild Iraq, we must first build confidence among the Iraqi people in their ability to create a legitimate and successful democracy. Iraq has the resources to build its nation's future and we should help them in doing so.
Unfortunately, Iraq also has foreign debts in excess of $100 billion and the world community will have to address this issue. I am hopeful that UN sanctions can be lifted and that international investment and trade can again flow into the country.
Also, while major military conflict has drawn to a close, there may still be danger ahead. Our nation will have to continue to provide peacekeeping forces to ensure stability. In that vein I support building a multinational effort to assist with both security and humanitarian efforts.
For certain, our actions over the past few months have struck a blow for freedom, but there is still much to be done. I stand ready to work with my colleagues and this Administration to ensure that we meet all of our post-war obligations.