Rebuilding Iraq will take time and require sacrifices. The United States has experience rebuilding war-torn countries. Following the Second World War, the U.S. devoted the resources necessary to help Germany and Japan establish democratic governments and market economies. The U.S. and its coalition allies want to do the same for Iraq, said President George W. Bush:
“That effort [in Germany and Japan] has been repaid many times over in three generations of friendship and peace. America today accepts the challenge of helping Iraq in the same spirit -- for their sake, and our own.”
The first step is to destroy the terrorists. Since the end of major combat operations in Iraq, U.S. and coalition forces have seized many caches of weapons and ammunition. Hundreds of Saddam Hussein loyalists and terrorists have been captured or killed. Of the fifty-five most-wanted former Iraqi leaders, forty-two are now dead or in custody. The message is clear, said President Bush:
“Anyone who seeks to harm our soldiers can know that our soldiers are hunting for them.”
The U.S. and its allies are also committed to expanding international cooperation in the reconstruction of Iraq. There are nearly one-hundred thirty-thousand U.S. troops in Iraq and over twenty-thousand troops from twenty-nine other countries. Two multinational divisions are led by British and Polish forces.
The ultimate goal is to restore sovereignty to the Iraqi people. More than ninety-percent of towns and cities in Iraq have functioning local governments. The new Iraqi Governing Council is made up of twenty-five leaders representing Iraq’s diverse people -- Muslim, Christian, Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, and Turkman. The next step toward self-government will be drafting a constitution. Once written, the constitution will be widely circulated and debated among the Iraqi people. All adult Iraqis will have the chance to vote for or against it. After the constitution has been ratified, elections can be scheduled.
As President Bush said, with the help of the coalition, the Iraqi people “must rise to the responsibilities of a free people and secure the blessings of their own liberty.”