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4/2/04 - THE COALITION IS UNDETERRED - 2004-04-05

This is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.

On March 31st, near the town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, a mob of supporters of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s Baath party regime ambushed and murdered four American civilian contractors who were riding in two four-wheel drive vehicles. After the ambush, the burned and mutilated bodies were dragged through the streets. Two of the dead were strung from a bridge.

Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, says the attack is dramatic evidence of the barbarism that must be overcome:

“The[se] cowards and ghouls represent the worst of society. The acts we have seen were despicable and inexcusable. They violate the tenets of all religions, including Islam, as well as the foundations of civilized society. Their deaths will not go unpunished."

President George W. Bush says Baath party holdouts, in collusion with foreign terrorists, are desperately trying to stop the coalition from enabling Iraqis to build a democratic state. On the same day as the Fallujah attacks, five U.S. soldiers were killed when their convoy hit a roadside bomb near the town of Habbaniya:

“We still face thugs and terrorists in Iraq who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the advance of liberty.”

The coalition, in cooperation with Iraqi law enforcement, will track down the murderers of these civilians, as well as others who kill coalition forces, foreign civilians, or Iraqi citizens.

Barbaric attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and civilians in Iraq will not deter the coalition. As White House spokesman Scott McClellan says, "The best way to honor those [who] lost their lives in Iraq" is to continue the efforts to help establish democracy there.