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6/27/04 - IRAQIS RUNNING THEIR COUNTRY - 2004-06-28

Terrorists continue to try to stop the emergence of a peaceful, stable and democratic Iraq. Kim Sun-il, a translator from South Korea, is the latest foreign worker to be brutally murdered. He was kidnapped and held hostage by terrorists who demanded that South Korea withdraw from the U.S.-led coalition and cancel its planned deployment of troops to Iraq. Roh Moo-hyun, South Korea’s president, said his government will not be intimidated by the murder, and pledged to send the three-thousand additional troops as scheduled.

President George W. Bush says that in Iraq and elsewhere, “The free world cannot be intimidated by the brutal actions” of the terrorists:

“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to shake our will and our confidence. They’re trying to get us to withdraw from the world so that they can impose their dark vision on people. And remember what their dark vision is like, remember what it was like for a young girl to grow up with the Taleban in Afghanistan. This was a society where young girls weren’t even allowed to go to school.... And that’s their vision of the world. In order to impose their vision, they want us to leave. They want us to cower in the face of their brutal killings.”

On July 1st, full sovereignty will be turned over to an Iraqi interim government. Iraqis are already running government ministries. Iraq’s electricity ministry has approximately eleven-thousand workers and only five coalition consultants. The communications ministry has more than fifteen-thousand employees but only twenty coalition consultants who will remain after June 30th. Elsewhere, the story is the same.

“The Iraqi people are making steady progress toward a free society,” says President Bush. And the U.S.-led coalition “will not let thugs and killers stand in the way of democracy in Iraq.”