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7/28/03 - THE FEAR FACTOR IN IRAQ - 2003-07-28

Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, and his two evil sons, Uday and Qusay are dead. Now the Iraqi people can begin building themselves a free, secure, and democratic future. But, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, there still remains a pervasive fear of the old regime:

“Iraqis are like prisoners who have emerged from years of solitary confinement with no light, no news, no knowledge of the outside world, and they have just emerged into the blinding sun and the fresh air of freedom. The progress that our troops are making is helping to lessen the grip of fear. Make no mistake. We are making a great deal of progress.”

There is no food crisis in Iraq. Doctors and nurses are at work. Oil production has passed one-million barrels a day. Schools have reopened. And there are local councils in most towns and cities. In the war to liberate Iraq, many things went according to plan. Some others, said Mr. Wolfowitz, did not:

No [Iraqi] army units, at least none of any significant size, came over to our side so that we could use them as Iraqi forces with us today. Second, the police turned out to require a massive overhaul. Third, and worst of all, it was difficult to imagine before the war that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for thirty-five years would continue fighting.”

Nonetheless, said Mr. Wolfowitz, both the north and south of Iraq “are extraordinarily stable”:

“In the center, in Baghdad, the Third Armored Division in Baghdad and the Fourth Infantry Division in what’s sometimes called the Sunni heartland are demonstrating great progress, particularly in the critical area of getting intelligence that allows us to hunt down the mid-level Baathists that are hiring those killers. Overall, we encountered a remarkably positive reception in the Shia heartland, the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.”

Despite the challenges, the U.S. remains committed to working with Iraqis, friends, and allies to achieve the better government that the Iraqi people deserve.