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Bush On Iraqi Freedom Anniversary

President George W. Bush is commemorating the third anniversary of "a great moment in the history of freedom – the liberation of Iraq."

"Three years ago, coalition forces entered the gates of Baghdad, fought their way into the center of the city, and helped Iraqis pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein. . . .Today, because America and a great coalition acted, the regime is no longer in power, is no longer sponsoring terrorists, is no longer destabilizing the region, is no longer undermining the credibility of the United Nations, is no longer threatening the world. Because we acted, twenty-five million Iraqis now taste freedom."

President Bush says the Iraqi people are "beginning to build a democracy on the rubble of (Saddam's) tyranny". But they "still face brutal and determined enemies":

"The enemies of a free Iraqi are determined to ignite a civil war, to pit the Iraqi people against one another and to stop the country's democratic progress. Yet the Iraqi people are determined to live in freedom. And America's determined to defeat the terrorists, and we're determined to help the Iraqi people succeed."

In the past three years, says Mr. Bush, the Iraqi people have done their part:

"They defied death threats from the terrorists to cast ballots, not one time, not twice, but three times. And each election saw larger and broader turnout than the one that came before. Iraqis chose a transitional government, drafted the most progressive constitution in the Arab world, approved that constitution in a nationwide referendum and voted for a new government under the new constitution. And in the December elections for this government, despite the threats of violence and efforts to discourage Sunni participation, nearly twelve million Iraqis -- that's more than seventy-five percent of eligible voters -- turned out at the polls."

Now the leaders that the Iraqi people elected, said President Bush, "have a responsibility to come together to form a government that unifies all Iraqis. . . .When Iraqis have such a government to lead and unite them, they will be in a stronger position to defeat their enemies and secure the future with a free country. When Iraqis have a democratic government in place," he said, "it will be a major victory for the cause of freedom."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.