U.S. to Deploy 35,000 Troops in Baghdad for Elections
The U.S. military announced Wednesday that more than 35,000 American troops will be deployed on the streets of Baghdad on January 30, the date of Iraq’s first democratic elections. “We will be out in force,” said Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli of the U.S. Army’s Task Force Baghdad.
As daily insurgent attacks continue in the region, U.S. troops will be coordinating with Iraqi security forces to protect the 7 million residents of Baghdad as they go to the polls, Chiarelli said. “The Iraqis will provide security, operate polling stations, count ballots and announce results,” Chiarelli. “The [multinational forces are] not involved in the election process. With additional security forces in place in Baghdad, we stand ready to assist with security matters as determined by the Iraqi government.”
Chiarelli also had a message for insurgents who would attempt to disrupt elections. “We will find you, we will watch where you move, we will listen to you speaking to each other, we will fight and we will defeat you,” he warned. “You cannot sleep, eat, move or meet without the clear understanding that you may be killed or captured at any moment. Cease your operations now and you will be choosing to live.”
That’s clear enough.