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The danger posed by Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction must be confronted. The United States hopes that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm peacefully. But if it does not, the U.S. and its allies are prepared to disarm Iraq by force.

This is essential for the safety of the American people. Moreover, said President George W. Bush on February 26th, acting against the Iraqi danger will contribute greatly to the long-term safety of the world. “The current Iraqi regime,” said Mr. Bush, “has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions.”

The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people themselves. Today, they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war, misery, and torture. The U.S. and its allies stand ready to help the people of a liberated Iraq with food and medicine. The U.S. is already moving emergency food rations into place.

Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including the U.S. “We will remain in Iraq as long as necessary,” said President Bush, “and not a day more.” The U.S. has made and kept this kind of commitment before -- in the peace that followed the Second World War. In Germany and Japan, the U.S. and its allies established an atmosphere of safety, in which reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. As President Bush stressed, “The nation of Iraq -- with its proud heritage, abundant resources, and skilled and educated people -- is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.”

The U.S. has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq’s new government. “That choice,” said President Bush, “belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected.”

“We go forward with confidence,” said President Bush, “because we trust in the power of human freedom to change lives and nations. . . . Free people will set the course of history, and free people will keep the peace of the world.”