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7/24/04 - FREEDOM IN IRAQ - 2004-07-26

The U.S.-led coalition’s goal in Iraq, says U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, is to help Iraqis establish “a free representative government that serves its people and fights on their behalf”:

“President [George W.] Bush and the other leaders of the coalition promised to liberate Iraq, promised to end a dangerous evil regime, and promised to restore sovereign self-rule to the Iraqi people. We kept our promises.... The Iraqi people now have new leaders and new opportunities to shape their own destiny in the way that they see fit.”

Mr. Powell says, “Iraq is now a country that will be ruled by law, not by force”:

“The Iraqi interim government, led by President [Ghazi] al-Yawer and Prime Minister [Iyad] Allawi, have really gotten off to a good start. To borrow some language from America’s own early efforts to establish a democracy, Iraq has already taken crucial first steps to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, [and] provide for the common defense.”

The interim government derives its authority from the Transitional Administrative Law that was written by Iraqis. This document supports human rights, representative government, civilian control of the military, and an independent judiciary.

Iraq’s twenty-six governmental ministries are now functioning under Iraqi leadership. The United Nations and an independent Iraqi election commission have begun work on the elections for a transitional national assembly to be held by the end of January 2005.

The U.S. made a solemn commitment, says Secretary of State Powell, to do everything possible to help Iraqis as they begin their transition to democratic government, and the U.S. “will fulfill that promise.”