This month marks the third anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2003, a U.S.-led coalition liberated the people of Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
President George W. Bush says that in the past year, Iraqi security forces have made great strides, and performed well after the recent bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra:
"This mosque is one of Shia Islam's holiest sites, and after it was bombed, bands of armed militia began exacting revenge, with reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques and random violence that took the lives of hundreds of innocent Iraqis."
In the wake of this mayhem, Mr. Bush says, "Iraq's leaders came together to restore order:
"They deployed Iraqi security forces to Baghdad and other areas threatened by violence. These forces moved rapidly and effectively to protect religious sites, enforce a curfew, and re-establish civil order where necessary."
The situation in Iraq remains tense, and terrorist attacks, some horrific, continue. But the vast majority of Iraqis, says President Bush, have shown they want a future of freedom and peace"
"By their response. . . .and their participation in three successful elections last year, the Iraqi people have made clear they will not let a violent minority take that future away by tearing the country apart. And the Iraqi security forces have shown that they are capable of rising above sectarian divisions to protect the unity of a free Iraq."
Mr. Bush says, "The effective performance of the Iraqi security forces during this crisis showed that our hard work to build up and train these forces is paying off."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.