During his visit to the United States, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials. Mr. al-Maliki also addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Through an interpreter, he said the transformation going on in Iraq can sometimes be forgotten amid the daily violence:
"Since liberation we have witnessed great accomplishments in politics, the economy and civil society. We have gone from a one-party state ruled by a small elite to a multi-party system where politics is the domain of every citizen and parties compete at all levels."
What used to be state-controlled media in Iraq, says Mr. Maliki, "is now completely free and uncensored":
"Something Iraq had never witnessed since its establishment as a modern state, and something which remains alien to most of the region. What used to be a command economy in Iraq we are rapidly transforming into a free market economy."
Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Maliki says, standards of living have been raised for most Iraqis:
"Many individuals are buying products and appliances which they would never have hoped to afford in the past. And in keeping with our economic vision of creating a free-market economy, we will be presenting to parliament legislation which will lift current restrictions on foreign companies and investors who wish to come to Iraq."
President Bush said Iraqis took a big step when, in October 2005, "they developed a constitution that was ratified by the Iraqi people." He said, "When twelve million Iraqis went to the polls and said, I want to be free, it was an amazing moment ... a powerful statement about what is possible."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.