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5/11/03 - IRAQ'S FUTURE OF FREEDOM - 2003-05-12

Now that major combat operations have ended, U.S.-led coalition forces are helping to secure and rebuild Iraq. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Iraq's capital, Baghdad. He told the Iraqi people that the coalition "is committed to helping you as you take control of your country and make the transition from tyranny to freedom and self-government." So far, said Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, that effort is going well:

"To see the kiosks and people active and cars moving around and young children coming and going, people on the street, it is a measure of the progress, it's a measure of the success that is taking place here, and, needless to say, it warms the heart."

But as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, the coalition still has a big job to do:

"We still need to find and deal with the remaining elements of the former regime. We have to root out and eliminate terrorist networks operating in this country. We have to help Iraqis restore their basic services. And we have to help provide conditions of stability and security so that the Iraqi people can form an interim government and then ultimately a free Iraqi government based on political freedom, individual liberty, and the rule of law."

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Iraq will take time, but the coalition will stay until the job is finished. In the words of President George W. Bush, the Iraqi people will soon know freedom:

"Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear."

"Where freedom takes hold," said Mr. Bush, "men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life."