By ratifying a constitution and electing a new parliament, Iraqis are demonstrating what President George W. Bush calls "a remarkable transformation for a country that has virtually no experience with democracy":
"When the new Iraqi government takes office next year, Iraqis will have the only constitutional democracy in the Arab world, and Americans will have a partner for peace and moderation in the Middle East."
Remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime and terrorists associated with al-Qaida are trying to stop the progress. They know, says Mr. Bush, "that democracy is their enemy":
"People across the broader Middle East are drawing, and will continue to draw inspiration from Iraq's progress, and the terrorists' powerful myth is being destroyed. In a 1998 fatwa, Osama bin Laden argued that the suffering of the Iraqi people was justification for his declaration of war on America. Now bin Laden and al-Qaida are the direct cause of the Iraqi people's suffering. As more Muslims across the world see this, they're turning against the terrorists."
Today in the Middle East, freedom is contending with a totalitarian ideology that seeks to sow anger, hatred, and despair. "And like fascism and communism before," says Mr. Bush, "the hateful ideologies that use terror will be defeated by the unstoppable power of freedom":
"By helping Iraqis build a lasting democracy, we will spread the hope of liberty across a troubled region, and we'll gain new allies in the cause of freedom."
"Today, the call of liberty is being heard in Baghdad and Basra, and other Iraqi cities, and its sound is echoing across the broader Middle East," says Mr. Bush. "From Damascus to Tehran, people hear it, and they know it means something. It means that the days of tyranny and terror are ending, and a new day of hope and freedom is dawning."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.