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8/21/03 - IRAQ AND THE WAR ON TERROR - 2003-08-21

It has been just over one-hundred days since major combat operations ended and the Iraqi people were liberated from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. But as the August 19th bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad demonstrates, terrorists in Iraq must still be dealt with.

President George W. Bush said the terrorists “showed their fear of progress and their hatred of peace”:

“By their tactics and their targets, these murderers reveal themselves once more as enemies of the civilized world. Every sign of progress in Iraq adds to the desperation of the terrorists and the remnants of Saddam’s brutal regime.”

The U.S.-led coalition is working with Iraqis to improve security throughout the country. New Iraqi army and police forces are being recruited, trained, and equipped. Twelve-hundred Iraqis are being trained this year for the new Iraqi army. Within two years, forty-thousand recruits will have completed training.

Fifty-eight of eighty-nine Iraqi cities have hired police forces. More than thirty-thousand Iraqis are employed in patrolling the streets of their country.

Coalition authorities, with information from an Iraqi citizen, conducted operations that led to the deaths of Saddam Hussein’s sadistic sons Uday and Qusay. With their deaths, more and more Iraqis have been freed from their fear and are volunteering their services and information.

Most of Iraq is calm and progress on the road to democracy and freedom not experienced in decades continues. But, as President Bush said, the “Iraqi people face a challenge, and they face a choice”:

“The terrorists want to return to the days of torture chambers and mass graves. The Iraqis who want peace and freedom must reject them and fight terror. And the United States and many in the world will be there to help them.”

A free and peaceful Iraq is an important part of winning the war on terror. The U.S. is committed to staying the course.