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4/23/03 - PROGRESS IN IRAQ - 2003-04-25

U.S.-led coalition forces still face serious risks in Iraq. But as President George W. Bush said, the U.S. will press on until the mission is finished and victory is complete:

“By swift and effective military action, we avoided the massive flow of refugees that many had expected. By delivering food and water and medicine to the Iraqi people -- even as coalition units engaged the enemy -- we have helped to avert a humanitarian crisis. Emergency supplies are now moving freely to Iraq from many countries. Now that Iraq is liberated, the United Nations should lift economic sanctions on that country.”

Hundreds of Iraqis are being treated at U.S. and British military facilities. The Red Cross is working to restore electricity and water to Iraqi hospitals. No one denies the hardships that come with war and the transition from a dictatorship to a democracy. But the lives of the Iraqi people, said President Bush, will be better than anything they have known for a generation:

“It will take time to build the institutions of democracy and the habits of freedom. Today, civil order is being restored to communities throughout Iraq, and Iraqis themselves are helping in the effort. Iraqis are leading coalition forces to caches of weapons and volunteering for citizen patrols to provide security.”

In Iraq, said President Bush, the world is witnessing the universal desire of men and women to live in freedom:

“We believe that no force, no threat can make human beings love tyranny. We believe that the appeal of liberty will, in time, overcome any coercive power on earth. We believe that people across the Middle East and across the world are weary of poverty, weary of oppression, and yearn to be free.”

In Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition has removed an ally of terrorists and a producer of weapons of mass destruction. Iraq can begin to rebuild.