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10/2/03 - IRAQ’S RECONSTRUCTION - 2003-10-02

Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people suffered not only terrible human rights abuses but also tremendous economic hardships. Saddam and his cronies wasted billions of dollars of Iraq’s resources to build extravagant palaces and obtain luxury items.

The U.S.-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power. Only now, as the killing fields and mass graves of Iraq are discovered, is the true scale of Saddam’s cruelty being revealed.

The coalition is helping to rebuild Iraq. Since February, the U.S. has contributed more than five-hundred-million dollars in humanitarian assistance, and over nine-hundred-eighty-million dollars for reconstruction. But the U.S. is not alone. More than thirty countries are also giving Iraq financial aid.

As Paul Bremer, the coalition’s administrator, says, “Creating a sovereign, democratic, constitutional, and prosperous Iraq can deal a blow to terrorists”:

“It shows you can have freedom and dignity without using truck bombs to slaughter innocents. It gives the lie to those who describe us as enemies of Islam, enemies of Arabs, enemies of the poor.”

The primary goal of the coalition is self-government for the people of Iraq. Iraq now has a governing council, representing the country’s diversity. Iraqi police are patrolling the streets and a new police academy is being established.

“The success of a free Iraq,” says President George W. Bush, “will be watched and noted throughout the region”:

“Millions will see that freedom, equality, and material progress are possible at the heart of the Middle East. Leaders in the region will face the clearest evidence that free institutions and open societies are the only path to long-term national success and dignity.”

The U.S., says President Bush, “will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.”