General: Iraqi election important

FORT BRAGG He spoke with Eyewitness News by video teleconference from Iraq Tuesday.

"Once those elections take place, it'll be about 60-days beyond that before we get the new provincial governments seated. And so then there's a moment of uncertainty that we've got to deal with there," explained Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin.

While the general is preparing to help Iraq elect a democratic government, he watched with great pride as Barack Obama was sworn in as the new commander in chief.

"He's extremely talented - focused on all the right things apparently coming into the job - and what the President needs now more than anything else is he needs time and support from the American people," said Austin.

Austin has been fighting the war in Iraq that has played out in America through snippets of sound bites and video clips on television.

He says the reality is much different.

"Every day that we - that I - go out to different part of this country, I see improvement. I see normalcy returning to the lives of people. I see people who have hope for a brighter future," he said.

The general says while no timetable has been established to get all American forces out of Iraq, he is looking forward to bring his command home sometime this spring.

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