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Bush On Iraqi Freedom

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Iraqis are mourning the more than forty people who paid with their lives for the right to vote. They were victims of suicide bombs and mortar attacks during the recent Iraqi elections. The terrorists were trying to stop Iraqis from voting for two-hundred-seventy-five members of a transitional national assembly that will choose a new government and draft a new constitution later this year.

One casualty was Naim Rahim Yacoubi of Najaf. He was killed while taking tea to election workers. His right index finger was stained purple, showing that he had already cast his ballot. "You can see the finger with which he voted," said Shukur Jasim, the dead man's friend. "He's a martyr now."

In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush said that for the Iraqi people, voting was "an act of personal courage, and they have earned the respect of us all":

"One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhai. She says of her country, 'We were occupied for thirty-five years by Saddam Hussein'. Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. . . .In Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country."

While the elections may be over, President Bush says, "The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy, and will continue to attack it":

"The terrorists' most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people."

The United States, its friends and allies will help Iraqis secure their freedom. As Iyad Allawi, Iraq's interim prime minister, said, "Ordinary Iraqis are anxious to shoulder all security burdens of our country as quickly as possible." President Bush says, "That is the natural desire of an independent nation, and it is also the stated mission of our coalition in Iraq."