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4/10/03 - IRAQIS WELCOME THE COALITION - 2003-04-11

(Sounds of Iraqis celebrating). . . .Those are the sounds of freedom: newly-liberated Iraqis celebrating the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Until recently, the Iraqi people were frightened, intimidated, and brutalized by the Saddam Hussein regime's secret police and death squads. They did not dare show their true feelings. But as U.S.-led coalition troops moved through one neighborhood after another, Iraqi crowds rejoiced with smiles, waves, and cheers.

On a Baghdad street, a white-haired man held up a poster of Saddam Hussein and beat it with his shoe. A younger man spat on the portrait while several others kicked it. “Come see,” one said. “This is the criminal, this is the infidel. This is the destiny of every traitor. He killed millions of us.” This scene is being repeated again and again throughout Iraq.

As President George W. Bush said, the U.S.-led coalition is bringing hope to the long-suffering people of Iraq:

"One Iraqi, when the coalition troops arrived, described the emotions of his village: They were waiting for you, he said, and all the people believe that America and Britain have come to liberate them, not to conquer. Village by village, city by city, liberation is coming."

A great deal remains to be done before there is a complete military victory. But as President Bush pledged to the Iraqi people, the coalition forces "will press on until [your] oppressors are gone and [your] whole country is free."