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7/7/03 - BUSH ON IRAQ TRANSITION - 2003-07-07

Coalition forces are engaging remnants of the former regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The regime that possessed weapons of mass destruction, harbored and supported terrorists, defied the United Nations, and suppressed the human rights of Iraqi citizens is no longer in power.

The true monuments of Saddam Hussein’s rule have been revealed. They are the mass graves, the torture chambers, and the ornate palaces. “And now,” said President George W. Bush, “we are moving forward with the reconstruction of that country by restoring basic services, maintaining order, searching for hidden weapons, and helping Iraqis to establish a representative government”:

“The rise of Iraq as an example of moderation and democracy and prosperity is a massive and long-term undertaking. And the restoration of that country is critical to the defeat of terror and radicalism throughout the Middle East. With so much in the balance, it comes as no surprise that freedom has its enemies inside Iraq. The looting and random violence that began in the immediate aftermath of war remains a challenge in some areas. A greater challenge comes from former Baath Party and security officials who will stop at nothing to regain their power and their privilege.”

Also present in Iraq, said Mr. Bush, are terrorist groups seeking to spread chaos:

“Among these terrorists are members of Ansar al-Islam, which operated in Iraq before the war and is now active in the Sunni heartland of the country. We suspect that the remnants of a group tied to al-Qaida associate [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi are still in Iraq, waiting for an opportunity to strike. We’re also beginning to see foreign fighters enter Iraq.”

Those who try to undermine the reconstruction of Iraq are attacking the Iraqi people. Having liberated Iraq as promised, the U.S.-led coalition is committed to helping that country to found a just and representative government. The coalition’s goal, said President Bush, “is a swift transition to Iraqi control of their own affairs. People of Iraq will be secure, and the people of Iraq will run their own country.”