Iraq is the central battlefield in the war on terror, says Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Speaking through an interpreter, Mr. Maliki told a joint session of the U.S. Congress that since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi society has begun a transformation:
"We have gone from mass graves and torture chambers and chemical weapons to. . . .the rule of law and human rights. And the human rights and freedoms embodied in the new Iraq and consolidated in the constitution have provided a fertile environment for the ever-growing civil society institutions."
Mr. Maliki says the new Iraq is being built "on the foundation of democracy":
"Hope over fear. Liberty over oppression. Dignity over submission. Democracy over dictatorship. Federalism over a centralist state. Today, Iraq is a democracy which stands firm."
In October 2005, twelve million Iraqis ratified a new constitution. Mr. Maliki says women's rights are of particular concern:
"The rights chartered in the constitution will also help consolidate the role of women in public life as equal to men and help them play a greater role in political life. I am proud to say that a quarter of Iraq's Council of Representatives is made up of women."
President Bush says by helping Prime Minister Maliki's government "achieve its aims, we will expand opportunity for all the Iraqi people, we will inflict a major defeat on the terrorists, and we will show the world the power of a thriving democracy in the heart of the Middle East."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.