In Iraq, it will take time to overcome obstacles that have been decades in the making. The Iraqi people suffered under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Freedom was suppressed. Political opponents were imprisoned and murdered. Iraqi minorities, including Kurds, were attacked with chemical weapons. Oil resources were wasted as the regime spent money on weapons and luxuries for Saddam Hussein and his Baath party loyalists.
The remnants of that party are now trying to destroy the hopes of the Iraqi people, by destroying water and oil pipelines. Foreign terrorists, too, have entered Iraq.
But as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says, “The forces of destruction of the tragic past will not stop us. Together with our allies and, most of all, together with the Iraqi people, we are undoing the disasters of Saddam Hussein’s misrule”:
“This is our single goal, our only goal, to allow the Iraqi people to regain sovereignty, but sovereignty based on democracy, sovereignty based on freedom, sovereignty based on peaceful existence with one’s neighbors."
Progress is being made in Iraq. Municipal and village councils are operating. The new Iraqi governing council has named a twenty-five member cabinet to lead Iraq’s ministries.
Iraq’s infrastructure is being repaired and electrical power is returning. Iraq’s universities are open, as are its secondary schools. Iraq’s hospitals are again operational. Banks are once again making loans. There is a free press supported by paid advertisements. Of Iraq’s four-hundred courts, three-hundred are back in session. Approximately forty-six-thousand police have been hired, and another twenty-eight-thousand law-enforcement officers will be trained over the next eighteen months.
“Behind every statistic and every political accomplishment,” says Secretary of State Powell, “is something that is even more important, the end of fear, and a new spirit of freedom being born.”