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11/20/03 - IRAQ’S NEW CONSTITUTION - 2003-11-20

The U.S.-led coalition went to Iraq to rid the world of Saddam Hussein’s cruel and evil regime and to restore Iraq’s government and resources to the Iraqi people. This has been accomplished. Gone are Saddam Hussein's torture chambers. Gone are his mass killings. Gone is his threat to the world.

The Iraqi people now have freedoms they have never had before. The freedom to print and read what they like. The freedom to travel. The freedom to speak their minds. The freedom to criticize anyone they please, including the coalition. But they must ensure that these freedoms are made permanent. That is why, as Coalition Administrator Paul Bremer says, the Iraqi people need a new constitution:

“People here are anxious to have a decent political framework for political life after being under a tyranny for thirty-five years. And that’s exactly what an interim constitution can do.”

The interim constitution, called the Fundamental Law, will be drafted by the Iraqi Governing Council in close consultation with the coalition. Mr. Bremer says the Fundamental Law will reflect the culture and beliefs of the Iraqi people and will include freedom of speech and religion:

“We’ll have a bill of rights. We’ll recognize equality for all citizens. We’ll recognize an independent judiciary. We’ll talk about a federal government. All of these things will be in an interim constitution, which will also provide for a permanent constitution to be written.”

The permanent constitution will be drafted by a body directly elected by the people. It will be widely circulated, discussed, and debated. All adult Iraqis will have the opportunity to vote for or against it. For the first time in history, Iraq will have a constitution written by and approved by the people.

No doubt there will be difficult days ahead, especially as terrorists have decided to make Iraq a key battlefield in their war against civilization. But the Iraqi people, with the full support of the coalition, are now on the path to peace, stability, and freedom.