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7/28/04 - POWELL ON IRAQ KIDNAPPINGS - 2004-07-29

Terrorists bent on undermining Iraq’s new government continue to engage in brutal tactics. They are now kidnapping and murdering civilians.

Since April, nearly two dozen countries have had to deal with the kidnapping of their citizens by terrorists in Iraq. In the past week alone, hostages from India, Kenya, Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan have been seized.

The pattern has become familiar – a hostage is taken, then a video is released showing the terrorists threatening the hostage with death while shouting their demands. Some hostages have been freed after these rituals, but at least six have been killed, four of them by beheading.

While several coalition members have been pressured to change their support for Iraq as a result of these kidnapping tactics, the coalition remains strong. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says it is a mistake for coalition members to bow to terrorist demands.

Hungary has sent three-hundred troops to Iraq. During a visit to Budapest, Hungary’s capital, Mr. Powell called on all coalition allies to continue to help the people of Iraq rebuild their country. He said the terrorists and remnants of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship must be stopped:

"This kind of action cannot be allowed to succeed anywhere in the twenty-first century, and above all, not in Iraq. Bowing to this kind of kidnapping threat only encourages it and makes it more difficult. In these difficult times, we have to remain steadfast, and we’re so proud that the coalition partners that we have, almost all of them, are remaining steadfast."

"Democracy is hard,” says Secretary Powell. “Democracy is dangerous. And this is not the time to get weak in the knees. We must not allow insurgents, those who will use bombs and kidnapping and beheadings, to triumph."

Fortunately, most of the members of the coalition in Iraq agree.