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12/3/03 - REBUILDING IRAQ - 2003-12-03

Saddam Hussein is no longer in power, but Iraq is not yet a pacified country. The U.S.-led coalition, says U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, has taken the offensive:

“Consider what they’ve accomplished in just the week ending November 23rd. In that very short period, coalition forces conducted nearly twelve-thousand patrols and more than two-hundred-thirty targeted raids. They captured more than one-thousand-two-hundred enemy forces and killed forty to fifty enemy fighters, and wounded some twenty-five to thirty. That’s a one-week snapshot, but it provides a sense of the determined offensive pressure which the coalition is applying against the enemy.”

While the number of attacks against coalition personnel in Iraq appears to have dropped, U.S. General Richard Myers says that “the number of attacks against Iraqi citizens has risen”:

“Make no mistake, former regime loyalists are intensifying their efforts and increasing the lethality of their attacks. These attacks against the coalition and against Iraqi citizens demonstrate the utter disregard for life these former regime loyalists hold in their efforts to create instability. It emphasizes the importance, I think, most importantly, of our resolve to follow through with our mission, and we will.”

The coalition is also working hard in areas other than security. The coalition has helped to reopen all of Iraq’s two-hundred-forty hospitals and most of its medical clinics. Electric power production has surpassed pre-war levels and the transmission grid is being restored. Iraqi courts are operating. There is a mostly free press with one-hundred-seventy newspapers published across the country. And more than five million Iraqi children are back in school.

It is clear that the terrorists in Iraq have a cruel strategy. They view a rebuilt and democratic Iraq as a threat to their ambitions. They believe their acts of terror will succeed. “In this, they are mistaken,” says President George W. Bush. “We will help the Iraqi people establish a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East.”