(Host) Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha spoke through a translator. He said his province has overcome terrorists and insurgents.I am struck by the tactically intelligent action of getting these Sheiks into America. Not only does it help get the word of victory out to the American people; it also helps get the word of modern possibility out to the Sunni tribes of Iraq; and the word of the near invincibility of America out to those who would militarily oppose America.
(Abu Risha) (voices shift back and forth from Arabic to English) ``Today in this state ... we present this victory ... to the families of the victims of the soldiers in Iraq ... and specifically express our appreciation to the state of Vermont.''
The Iraqi delegation, fresh off meetings in Washington with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, declared they had achieved victory over al-Qaida insurgents during a visit with Vermont veterans at Norwich University Thursday afternoon.
"We have defeated al-Qaida in this very large province of Al Anbar as a result of our cooperation with your forces," Mamoon S. Rashid Al-Alwani, governor of Al Anbar, said through an interpreter. "This victory came as a result of our cooperation with your forces and our bloods have spilled together."
Sunni sheiks are businesspersons. They are not religious fundamentalists. It is very, very good for them to see American society with their own eyes. Let them see airports, our seat of government, and shopping malls. Sunni sheiks are smart, ambitious businesspersons. Their visit to America is good for business.