Al-Qaida ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for the cold-blooded murders of forty-nine unarmed Iraqi army recruits. The recruits were heading home when they were ambushed. Terrorists disguised as police set up a checkpoint on a road northeast of Baghdad and stopped three minibuses carrying the recruits. They were forced to leave their vehicles and lie face down. They were then shot in the head.
Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Zarqawi and his terrorist allies have carried out numerous suicide bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings, all in an effort to undermine the interim Iraqi government and keep elections from taking place in January. Zarqawi has officially allied himself with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and has renamed his band of killers the Al-Qaida Organization for Holy War in Iraq.
Secretary of State Colin Powell says terrorist killers like Zarqawi and his accomplices must be stopped. Mr. Powell says, "We must not allow insurgents, those who will use bombs and kidnapping and beheadings, to triumph":
"It's going to be tough. It's going to be difficult. There will be dark days ahead, but brighter days will be coming. We have to stand and we will stand with the courageous and dedicated Iraqi leaders [and] with the people of Iraq who want a better future."
Secretary of State Powell says that the United States and its allies liberated Iraq to end a dangerous evil regime and establish self-rule for the Iraqi people. Terrorists like Zarqawi, he says, "want to go back to the past, want to go back to extermination pits, want to go back to tyranny":
"Monsters ruled and ravaged Iraq. They rule and ravage it no more. And after the January elections, I believe it will be clearer than ever to all people that we've done the right thing."
"We kept our promises," says Secretary of State Powell. "The Iraqi people now have new leaders and new opportunities to shape their own destiny."