More than seventy foreigners have been abducted in the past several months in Iraq. Some have been beheaded. Others have been released. Iraqi officials blame criminals, insurgents, and terrorists linked to al-Qaida.
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the U.S. and its allies will not be deterred:
“We share the suffering of the families and the sacrifices of those governments whose citizens have been kidnapped and so brutally treated. We also reaffirm our solidarity with the Iraqi people, who have been the main target of fanaticism and terrorist attacks.”
Mr. Boucher says that the hostage-takers are not going to gain anything by their actions:
“We understand that conceding to terrorists will only endanger all members of the multinational force, as well as other countries who are contributing to Iraqi reconstruction and humanitarian assistance. We have joined the multinational force in Iraq, as authorized by U-N Security Council Resolution fifteen-forty-six. We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government to support the Iraqi people and their efforts to establish democratic government, to enhance security, to provide humanitarian assistance, and to facilitate economic reconstruction."
Ultimately, the responsibility for security in Iraq lies with the new Iraqi government. There are now two-hundred-thousand Iraqis on duty or in the army or other Iraqi security forces. Iraq’s interim government is committed to fighting the terrorists, but not only with force.
“The Iraqi people are making steady progress toward a free society,” says President George W. Bush, and the U.S.-led coalition “will not let thugs and killers stand in the way of democracy in Iraq.”