The fifth and most important step in our plan is to help Iraq conduct free, national elections no later than next January. An Iraqi electoral commission is now up and running and has already hired personnel and is making key decisions about election procedures.
And do you believe, given the situation on the ground and Fallujah and other northern cities in the Sunni triangle, that elections are possible in four months?
BUSH: I do, because the prime minister told me they are. He's interested in moving this country forward. And you heard his statement. And I believe him.
And, almost immediately after Big Don Rumsfeld starts backtracking:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday raised the possibility that Iraq (news - web sites) could conduct only limited elections in January, excluding places where violence was considered too severe for people to go to polls.
"Let's say you tried to have an election and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country. But in some places you couldn't because the violence was too great," Rumsfeld said at a Senate Armed Services Committee (news - web sites) hearing.
"Well, so be it. Nothing's perfect in life, so you have an election that's not quite perfect. Is it better than not having an election? You bet," he said.
So, we're going to make a big show about having elections, but, hey, we're going to let the insurgents win and prevent some people from voting. No big deal. That sure is resolute.