President George W. Bush says that taking the fight to the terrorists and advancing freedom are two key elements in the war on terrorism. And Iraq, he says, is a central front in that war:
"Terrorists like bin Laden and his ally, Zarqawi, are trying to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a place where women are beaten, religious and ethnic minorities are executed, and terrorists have sanctuary to plot attacks against free people. Terrorists are trying to block the rise of democracy in Iraq, because they know a free Iraq will deal a decisive blow to their strategy to achieve absolute power. The Iraqi people lived for three decades under an absolute dictatorship, and they will not allow a new set of would-be tyrants to take control of their future. . . .In spite of violence, the Iraqi people are building a nation that secures freedom for its citizens and contributes to peace and stability in that region."
In the task of advancing freedom, Mr. Bush said, there is cause for optimism:
"The tide of freedom ebbs and flows, but it is moving in a clear direction, and freedom's tide is rising in the broader Middle East. In Afghanistan, men and women have formed a free government after suffering one of the most brutal tyrannies on Earth. America is proud to call Afghanistan an ally in the war on terror. In Lebanon, people took to the streets to demand their sovereignty. They have now gone to the polls and voted in free elections. As freedom takes root in these countries it is inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia."
Across the Middle East, "a new generation desires to be free, and they will have it," said President Bush. "And the world," he said, "will be more peaceful because of it."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.