A draft constitution will be put before the Iraqi people in a national referendum by October 15th. President George W. Bush said that the completion of the document was an historic event:
"On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Iraq on completing the next step in their transition from dictatorship to democracy."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, "This event marks another critical step forward along the pathway to a free, prosperous, and democratic Iraq. Both the process for producing the document and the text of the draft constitution show a shared commitment to a common future and identity for all Iraqis."
Referring to the new constitution, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said, "I want to congratulate our people who struggled against dictatorship for democracy and freedom. This constitution is a first of its kind, written by representatives of important Iraqi factions...we hope the people will accept this constitution."
"The local process now advances to another important stage for a new and free Iraq," said President Bush. "It's important that all Iraqis now actively engage in the constitutional process by debating the merits of this important document and making an informed decision on October the 15th.” Mr. Bush also said that he expects those opposed to political change in Iraq to step up their attacks:
"Just last week, the terrorists called for the death of anyone, including women and the elderly, who supports the democratic process in Iraq. They have deliberately targeted children receiving candy from soldiers. They have targeted election workers registering Iraqis to vote. They have targeted hospital workers who are caring for the wounded. We can expect such atrocities to increase in the coming months because the enemy knows that its greatest defeat lies in the expression of free people, and freely enacted laws, and at the ballot box."
The United States, said President Bush, will help the Iraqi people "triumph over the terrorists' dark ideology of hatred and fear."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.