Helping the people of Iraq construct a stable democracy after decades of dictatorship is a massive undertaking. Terrorists and remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime are making the task difficult. But they will not succeed.
President George W. Bush says that the U.S.-led coalition has “a clear goal, understood by all –- to see the Iraqi people in charge of Iraq for the first time in generations”:
“America’s task in Iraq is not only to defeat an enemy, it is to give strength to a friend -- a free, representative government that serves its people and fights on their behalf. And the sooner this goal is achieved, the sooner our job will be done.”
A major step will take place on June 30th when the coalition transfers full sovereignty to an interim government that will prepare the way for national elections. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations special envoy, is consulting with a broad spectrum of Iraqis to determine the composition of this interim government.
“The second step in the plan for Iraqi democracy,” says Mr. Bush, “is to help establish the stability and security that democracy requires”:
“Iraq’s military, police, and border forces have begun to take on broader responsibilities. Eventually, they must be the primary defenders of Iraqi security, as American and coalition forces are withdrawn.”
A third step is the rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure and economy. The coalition is helping Iraqis to rebuild schools, refurbish health facilities, repair bridges, and increase the output of electricity. A new currency has been introduced. Iraq’s Governing Council has approved a law that opens the country to foreign investment for the first time in decades. Iraqi oil production has reached more than two-million barrels per day, bringing revenues of nearly six-billion-dollars so far this year. The funds are being used to help the people of Iraq.
Completing the steps that lead to an Iraqi elected government will not be easy. “The terrorists and Saddam loyalists would rather see many Iraqis die than have any live in freedom,” says President Bush. “But terrorists will not determine the future of Iraq.”