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3/31/03 - NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES - 2003-04-01

The U.S.-led coalition to disarm Iraq is now engaging the Iraqi regime’s most desperate units -- the Republican Guard and the Saddam Fedayeen. The outcome is certain. As President George W. Bush said, “Iraq will be disarmed. The Iraqi regime will be ended. And the long-suffering Iraqi people will be free”:

“Saddam Hussein has tortured and brutalized his people for a long, long time. We had reports the other day of a dissident who had his tongue cut out and was tied to the stake in the town square, and he bled to death. That’s how Saddam Hussein retains power.”

For decades, the Saddam Hussein regime has sought to instill fear in the daily lives of million of Iraqis. The regime uses Iraqi civilians as human shields. Saddam loyalists pretend to surrender, then shoot at those who show them mercy. Saddam’s forces are executing prisoners-of-war and killing Iraqi civilians fleeing Basra. “This band of war criminals,” said Mr. Bush, “has been put on notice. The day of Iraq’s liberation will also be a day of justice.”

But the coalition's job will not end with the liberation of Iraq. The coalition is committed to helping the people of Iraq to set up a new government. The form will be determined by Iraq’s own culture and its own choices. As Mr. Bush put it:

“The twenty-four million people of Iraq have lived too long under a violent criminal gang calling itself a government. Iraqis are a good and gifted people. They deserve better than a life spent bowing before a dictator. The people of Iraq deserve to stand on their feet as free men and women, the citizens of a free country.”

The regime of Saddam Hussein will be removed no matter how long it takes. The coalition will keep its word to the Iraqi people. Iraq will be free.