PHIL SANDS, GULF NEWS - A senior US military chief has admitted "good, honest" Iraqis are fighting American forces. Major General Joseph Taluto said he could understand why some ordinary people would take up arms against the US military because "they're offended by our presence".
In an interview with Gulf News, he said: "If a good, honest person feels having all these Humvees driving on the road, having us moving people out of the way, having us patrol the streets, having car bombs going off, you can understand how they could [want to fight us]."
General Taluto, head of the US 42nd Infantry Division which covers key trouble spots, including Baquba and Samarra, also said some Iraqis not involved in fighting did support insurgents who avoided hurting civilians.
He said: "There is a sense of a good resistance, or an accepted resistance. They say 'okay, if you shoot a coalition soldier, that's okay, it's not a bad thing but you shouldn't kill other Iraqis.'"
However General Taluto insisted the US and other foreign forces would not be driven out of Iraq by violence. "If the goal is to have the coalition leave, attacking them isn't the way," he said. "The way to make it happen is to enter the political process cooperate and the coalition will be less aggressive and less visible and eventually it'll go away."