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3/31/03 - SADDAM’S REGIME WILL BE REMOVED - 2003-03-31

Coalition forces are fighting to eliminate the Saddam Hussein regime as a threat to the security of the Iraqi people, the Middle East, and the world. Many people have asked how long that will take. But as President George W. Bush made clear, “It isn’t a matter of timetable; it’s a matter of victory:

“And the Iraqi people have got to know that. . . . They’ve got to know that they will be liberated and Saddam Hussein will be removed, no matter how long it takes.”

President Bush spoke at a joint press briefing with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Blair agreed that the coalition’s mission is “not set by time; it’s set by the nature of the job.”

“Let me restate our complete and total resolve. Saddam Hussein and his hateful regime will be removed from power. Iraq will be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction, and the Iraqi people will be free. That is our commitment, that is our determination, and we will see it done.”

As President Bush pointed out, British, American, Australian, Polish, and other coalition troops are sharing the duties -- and the sacrifices -- of the war. The campaign ahead will demand further courage and sacrifices -- both for coalition forces and the long-suffering Iraqi people.

But as Mr. Bush said, the “coalition will stand with the citizens of Iraq in the challenges ahead.” The coalition is already beginning to deliver humanitarian aid and is prepared to send much more.

The U.S., Britain, and other coalition members are also committed to helping the Iraqi people over the long term. Iraq’s greatest long-term need is a representative government that protects the rights of all Iraqis. And this government, as President Bush made clear, “will be chosen by the Iraqi people, not imposed by outsiders.”