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L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
Statement on Ashoura Bombings
2 March 2004


Today terrorists have again struck the Iraqi people. We of the Coalition offer our deepest sympathy to the families of those who were murdered and to the wounded. We pray for your strength in this time of sorrow.

Along with civilized people everywhere we share your horror at these evil acts and utterly condemn the acts and those who carried them out.

We of the Coalition will not abandon the people of Iraq. The Coalition is even now providing all possible medical care for the wounded. And I pledge the full capacity of the Coalition to bring these murderers to justice as Iraq continues its march to democracy and sovereignty.

* * *

Terrorists have murdered and maimed on one of the holiest days of the year, the day that commemorates the death of Imam Hussein.

We know they did this as part of an effort to provoke sectarian violence among Muslims. We know they chose this day so that they could kill as many innocents as possible.

Why would anyone want sectarian violence?

The terrorists want sectarian violence because they believe that is the only way they can stop Iraq’s march toward the democracy that the terrorists fear.

We know that the terrorists fear democracy because they said so. In a recent letter the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi wrote that democracy was coming to Iraq and that once Iraq was democratic there would be no pretext for attacks. And so Zarqawi has admitted that the terrorists are in a race against time.

It is a race they will lose.

They will lose because the Iraqi people want and will have democracy, freedom and a sovereign Iraqi government.

An Iraqi government is coming. This week, after an appropriate period of mourning, the Iraqi Governing Council will sign the Transitional Administrative Law. That law brings with it all that the evil-doers fear:

• They fear an Iraqi government controlled only by Iraqis.
• They fear equality before the law for all of Iraq’s citizens.
• They fear Democracy.

After the law is signed, Iraq’s journey to a future of hope will continue.

On June 30, the Coalition will turn sovereignty over to the Iraqi people. Next year there will be three elections and Iraq will end 2005 with an elected government sovereign throughout the Land Between Two Rivers.

* * *

Iraq stands at the forefront of the war on terrorism.

It is, at heart, a war between the forces of decency and the forces of evil.

It is a war between those who value and defend the innocent and those who murder the innocent and hold them valueless.

It is a war for Iraq’s future, a war between a future of hope and a future of fear.

The Coalition stands firmly with the forces of decency, with those who protect the innocent, with those who will bring about Iraq’s future of hope.

Aash al-Iraq!


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