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7/2/03 - MAINTAINING STABILITY IN IRAQ - 2003-07-02


A great deal has been accomplished since the U.S.-led coalition liberated Iraq. Basic services have been restored, schools have reopened, oil wells are pumping again, and the coalition is helping Iraqis take the first steps toward self-government.

But Iraq is still dangerous. Since May 1st, nearly two dozen U.S. soldiers and six British soldiers have been killed by outlaws still loyal to Saddam Hussein. As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, these outlaws are isolated and unpopular:

"We're seeing pockets of resistance -- criminals, looters, former members of the Baath Party, former members of the [Saddam] Hussein regime. But I don't yet see, nor do any of my colleagues see this as some nationwide organized resistance. As the situation improves and as people see that the economy is starting, and as the political process picks up, and Iraqis start taking responsibility for their own future, I think this will come under control."

Iraq's interim administrator Paul Bremer says finding Saddam Hussein will put an end to the hopes of the thugs:

“There's no doubt that the fact that we have not been able to show his fate allows these remnants of the Baathist regime to go around in the bazaars, in the villages, and in towns and say, ‘Saddam will come back and we will come back, so don't cooperate with the coalition.’ “

But whether Saddam is found or not, as Mr. Bremer said, the U.S.-led coalition will not be deterred by fanatics:

"We are going to fight them and impose our will on them and we will capture or, if necessary, kill them until we have imposed law and order on this country."

The U.S.-led coalition and the soon-to-be-deployed multi-national peacekeeping force led by Poland will not be deterred in the effort to bring peace and democracy to the Iraqi people. And they will stay in Iraq until that job is done.

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