A terrorist truck bomb hit the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. Around twenty people were killed -- among them, the U-N Secretary General's Special representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Some one-hundred others were wounded. The U-N personnel attacked by terrorists were there to help the Iraqi people build a prosperous and democratic Iraq. President George W. Bush said that is what the terrorists fear most:
"The U-N personnel and Iraqi citizens killed in the bombing were in that country on a purely humanitarian mission. Men and women in the targeted building were working on reconstruction, medical care for the Iraqis. They were there to help with the distribution of food. . . . By their tactics and their targets, these murderers reveal themselves once more as enemies of the civilized world."
Terrorism will not succeed. The Iraqi people -- with the help of the U.S. and many other nations -- are building a democratic society. A national Governing Council, including representatives of Iraq's Shia, Sunni, Kurdish, Turkmen, and Christian communities, has been established as an important step towards Iraqi self-government. Local governing councils have been formed in Baghdad, Najaf, Al Anbar, Basra, and other cities and towns.
Health care and other basic services once reserved for the elite of the Saddam Hussein regime and used as political leverage are now being distributed throughout Iraq. Some thirty-thousand Iraqi police are being retrained to enforce the rule of law and are patrolling the streets of Iraqi cities. A new Iraqi military is being trained to defend, not terrorize, the Iraqi people. For the first time, a free press flourishes and people meet and speak their minds in public without fear of repression.
Iraq's problems -- the result of decades of political oppression and economic mismanagement -- are formidable, but the Iraqi people want to meet them without violence and repression. President Bush says terrorists will not stand in their way:
"Every sign of progress in Iraq adds to the desperation of the terrorists and the remnants of Saddam's brutal regime. The civilized world will not be intimidated, and these killers will not determine the future of Iraq."
Iraq's future will be determined by the Iraqi people. And the U-S, the U-N, and the nations of the civilized world will stand with them.