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10/1/03 - IRAQ'S FREEDOMS - 2003-10-01

As President George W. Bush said, in the wake of their liberation, "the Iraqi people are meeting hardships and challenges, like every nation that has set out on the path of democracy. Yet their future promises lives of dignity and freedom, and that is a world away from the squalid, vicious tyranny they have known. Across Iraq," said Mr. Bush, "life is being improved by liberty."

Indeed, there are many success stories in postwar Iraq. Schools are being rebuilt. Iraq’s universities are open. Water distribution systems are being restored. Electrical and communication systems are being repaired. Municipal and village councils are operating. Banks are making loans. A new police force is being trained and deployed. The Iraqi governing council has named a twenty-five-member cabinet to lead Iraq’s ministries. And, as Iraq's newly appointed Electricity Minister Ayham Sameraei pointed out, Iraqis can now express themselves without fear:

"The last five months, Iraqis they have the freedom to talk. We have almost right now eighty-six newspaper[s], while before the war we have only three or four newspapers, all controlled by the government. All the eighty-six newspapers are not controlled by anyone right now except the individuals who own them."

Despite the hardships that come with liberation, said Minister Sameraei, the people of Iraq are enjoying their newfound freedom:

"We know that every single Iraqi right now, [he] can go and buy anything he wants. This is the freedom which we missed before, and we got it over the last five months. If the Iraqi people and the Americans help us for the next year-and-a-half, we will have [a] different Iraq, [an] Iraq [that] is going to help the United States and the free world and also all the area around us, because we are going to build a democracy and Iraq will become [an] example for all the Middle East areas and all the countries around us."

As Paul Bremer, the civil administrator in Iraq, said, "Freedom matters. It matters [in Iraq} as much as it does in Montana, Cornwall, or Indonesia. It's important to remember this and look beyond the shootouts and blackouts and remind ourselves of the range of rights Iraqis enjoy today because of the coalition's victory against Saddam Hussein's tyranny."