At a press conference in Washington, D.C. with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, President George W. Bush said the United States will continue to stand with the people of Iraq. "I pledge that we will not waver," said Mr. Bush. "Iraq will take its place among the world's democracies":
"As the Iraqi people continue on the path of democracy, the enemies of freedom remain brutal and determined. To impose their hateful vision, our enemies know they must drive America out of Iraq before the Iraqi people can secure their own freedom. They believe we will retreat in the face of violence, so they're committing acts of staggering brutality, murdering Iraqi children receiving candy, or hospital workers treating the wounded. We have no doubt that our enemies will continue to kill, yet we also know they cannot achieve their aims unless we lose our resolve."
President Talabani said the Iraqi people will not lose their resolve. He said the U.S. - Iraqi partnership is yielding results:
"Now we have Iraqi Arab tribes, Sunni tribes, fighting terrorism and al-Qaida. We also have people who are cooperating with Iraqi forces and American forces against terrorism. It is a good signal that our people are starting to understand that terrorism is the enemy of the Iraqi people."
The next step, said President Bush, is voting on the new Iraqi constitution:
"The draft constitution is an historic milestone. It protects fundamental freedoms, including religion, assembly, conscience and expression. It calls for a federal system of government, which is essential to preserving the unity of a diverse nation like Iraq. It declares that all Iraqis are equal before the law, without regard to gender, ethnicity, and religion."
"The Iraqi people," said President Bush, "can be proud of the draft constitution, and when an election to ratify that constitution is held next month, they will have a chance to vote their conscience at the polls."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.