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11/10/03 - SECURING DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ - 2003-11-10

The Saddam Hussein regime ruled Iraq for more than three decades before being removed by a U.S.-led coalition. Now, the Iraqi people, supported by the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council, are working to build a democracy in Iraq.

Together, coalition and Iraqi personnel are providing security. International experts are training Iraqi journalists, teaching Iraqis the skills needed for political participation, and promoting women’s rights. And despite attacks by remnants of the old regime and foreign terrorists, aid workers from many countries are providing humanitarian assistance.

The coalition is working closely with Iraqi citizens as they take increasing responsibility for their own affairs, prepare a constitution, and move toward free elections. But as President George W. Bush says, “This work is not easy”:

“The former dictator ruled by terror and treachery, and left deeply ingrained habits of fear and distrust. Remnants of his regime, joined by foreign terrorists, continue their battle against order and against civilization. Our coalition is responding to recent attacks with precision raids, guided by intelligence provided by the Iraqis, themselves.”

“This massive and difficult undertaking,” says President Bush, “is worth our effort”:

“We know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed. And that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran -- that freedom can be the future of every nation.”

As President Bush puts it, “The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.”