This month marks four years since the liberation of Iraq from the tyrannical rule of Saddam Hussein. Since gaining their freedom, the Iraqi people have begun the process of building a democracy. But they still face a brutal enemy -- Islamic extremists -- whose goal it is to ignite a civil war. The vast majority of Iraqis do not support the extremists, said President George W. Bush:
"I think its necessary work to help them [Iraqi people] establish a functioning democracy. It's necessary because it is important for the moderate people -- people who want to live in peace and security -- to see what is possible in the Middle East. It is hard work because we face an enemy that understands the consequences of liberty taking root, and are willing to kill innocent lives in order to achieve their political objectives."
It is this violent minority of Islamic extremists that want to turn Iraq into a terrorist base from which to launch an ideological war in the Middle East. Threatened by the potential for a democratic state in Iraq, they have stepped up their terrorist attacks. To prevent the violence in Baghdad from spiraling out of control, the U.S. has sent reinforcements to the Iraqi capital.
And now, said President Bush, it is time for the Iraqi government to stand up and make some tough political moves. Already, the government has sent additional troops to Baghdad and has committed ten-billion dollars to Iraq's reconstruction. But the Iraqi government has yet to move ahead with a law that will allow oil wealth to be shared by the Iraqi people. The de-Baathification law also needs to be changed. Sunni teachers, for example, are currently banned from teaching and should be allowed back in the classroom.
There are encouraging signs that the troop build-up is working, said President Bush. As a result of the increase of U.S., Iraqi, and coalition troops in Baghdad, many neighborhoods now have a twenty-four hour security presence. At the same time, U.S. troops continue to train and equip Iraqi troops so they can take over the job of securing the peace. The continued U.S. presence in Iraq is giving the Iraqi people time to develop a sustainable democracy and defeat those who would return the country to tyranny.