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10/22/03 - SIX MONTHS OF PROGRESS IN IRAQ - 2003-10-22

Six months ago, there were no police on duty in Iraq. Now there are more than forty-thousand. The first battalion of the new Iraqi army is on active duty. But Coalition Provisional Authority Administrator Paul Bremer says security remains an issue:

“We certainly still have attacks on coalition forces coming largely from organized extremists. And there is certainly a problem of common street crime. You’ve got to remember that Saddam [Hussein] let a hundred-thousand convicted criminals out of prison before the war and we’ve got to find a way to deal with that.”

Mr. Bremer also said that progress has been made on restoring essential services:

“Look at how far we’ve come -- much further than anybody would have expected. We’re back at prewar levels in power. We’re back at prewar levels in water. The schools are open. The hospitals are open. I mean, we’re really making tremendous progress here.”

Electrical power generation in Iraq was three-hundred megawatts per day in April; now it is over four-thousand-five hundred megawatts per day. More than thirteen-thousand reconstruction projects have been completed. All twenty-two Iraqi universities and forty-three technical institutes and colleges are open. More than one-hundred-seventy newspapers are being published. Banks are open and lending money. And the Iraqi people, said Mr. Bremer, are on the way to governing themselves:

“The cabinet of twenty-five men and a woman is an extraordinarily able group. They are running the ministries. They are responsible for the budget. They are responsible for policy and personnel.”

As President George W. Bush said, "We're keeping our word to the Iraqi people. . .and we will complete the great work we have begun."