L. Paul Bremer, III
International Press Conference
12 August 03
It matters in Iraq as much as it matters in Montana or Cornwall or Andalusia. We must remember this and look beyond the shoot-outs and the black-outs and remind ourselves of the range of rights Iraqis now enjoy:
· Travel- Iraq is no longer a prison. Iraqis once had to go through a Baathist copy of a Soviet process that was intended to keep them at home.
· Academic freedom- We have swept away the Baathist educational apparatus. Iraqi academics can read and study what colleagues around the world are thinking. Now they can travel to seminars, conferences and workshops.
· Freedom of conscience- No political, religious or social belief or thought can be a crime.
· Freedom of expression- No people anywhere enjoy greater freedom to express themselves than do Iraqis.
o Iraqis are free to stand up and denounce Saddam Hussein.
o Iraqis are also are free to stand up and denounce Jerry Bremerand, to judge by your reports, they do it often.
Life in Iraq will be more open, with each Iraqi free to choose his or her own path. This is the real meaning of the coalitions military victory:
A new Iraq means new freedom.
Not all the changes that will occur as these millions of people begin to exercise their new freedoms are clear, but a few things are obvious:
· People are going realize that the regime that denied Coalition Forces were at the airport lied to them about a lot of other things.
· The extraordinary talent, resourcefulness and energy of the Iraqi people, when fueled by large oil reserves and the rich lands of the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, will steadily increase incomes in the coming month and years.
I have no doubt that some of you are asking, Sure, but they are rioting in Basra. What about that? What about the fuel shortages?
We are going to continue to solve practical problems:
· The generators will be installed.
· The refineries will be refurbished.
· Iraqis will assume more and more responsibility for their own security.
· A larger, better-trained police force will reduce crime.
· Drinking and irrigation water will flow to all who need it.
All these things are obviously urgent and we are dealing with them with appropriate haste. The challenge for the Governing Council and for the Coalition Provisional Authority is to deal with urgent matters while simultaneously establishing and consolidating democracy and freedom.