Masaa al Khair.
I am Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
When I speak with Iraqis, and I do so daily, almost everyone tells me they are grateful for their freedoms.
Because I know that Iraqis are polite people and wish to avoid the possibility of offense, I make a point of asking: What things are not working? What can we do better?
Iraqis tell me of their frustrations, of things they want to improve. The list is long and you know most of it: better security, more electricity, adequate fuel supplies, constant water service, better schools, more school books and other things.
There are many things to do in Iraq.
But they are going to get done. Last Sunday night President George W. Bush spoke to the American people on television. In that address, President Bush made it clear that the United States is going to stay with you, the people of Iraq until you have a sovereign, independent government and the means to sustain that government and yourselves.
President Bush showed just how serious he was by announcing that he was seeking more than $20,000 million for the Coalition Provisional Authority.
I have mentioned before that it is sometimes difficult to grasp just what large sums really mean.
Permit me to cite an example:
The president of the United States is asking the United States Congress to invest in your future the way the United States invested in the future of Europe more than 50 years ago.
That money got the west of Europe back on its feet economically. The Marshall Plan started Europe on the path to the prosperity, freedom and independence it enjoys today.
President Bush has asked Congress to invest in the future of Iraq as much money as United States invested in the future of France through the Marshall Plan between 1948 and 1951.
Measured by the amount spent per inhabitant, next year America will spend 66 times the amount it spent in Germany in 1948.
This money will be spent on the fundamentals of a quality life for you. Here is what the President of the United States proposes to invest in the future of Iraq:
· More than $2,000 million to fund public safety initiatives, including border enforcement, police, fire and customs services.
· More than $2,000 million to establish a new Iraqi army and an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.
· Almost $1,000 million to develop a judicial system, prisons and other institutions necessary to sustain civil society.
· $6,000 million to make constant, dependable supplies of electricity available for all at a fair price.
· More than $2,000 million to rehabilitate the oil infrastructure and assure steady supplies for Iraqi domestic consumption.
· More than $3,700 million to begin making fresh, drinkable water available for all at a fair price and to construct sewer systems to carry away and clean up waste.
· Almost $1,000 million to repair your water resources systems such as canals and drainage.
· $800 million to repair transportation facilities such as harbors and airports and to repair and expand your telecommunications so that all Iraqis have access to affordable, functioning telephones.
· $500 million to upgrade housing and public buildings and to repair Iraqs roads and bridges.
· $900 million to improve and expand Iraqs public health services by constructing, repairing and equipping hospitals and primary care clinics.
· $300 million to invest in job training and other initiatives to revitalize the private business sector.
The Coalition is not going to give you free telephone service or free electricity or free water. The purpose of that spending is to lay the foundations necessary for you to make your own way in the world. As no one knows better than you, it is all but impossible to be productive, to be effective in your labors, without dependable electricity, without telephones, without ports and roads, and, of course, security.
The Coalition is investing in the networks that will enable you to do what most citizens in the Coalition countries dogo to a telephone or electricity or other utility company, open an account and pay for the services you receive.
This money is not yet available. The United States is a democratic country with a constitution that does not permit the President to simply take the peoples tax money and spend it the way he pleases. The 100 Senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives, each one elected by people in his or her home state, must approve all public expenditures.
The Congress rightfully takes its job seriously, so approval of the Presidents request is not automatic. Nevertheless, I believe the Congress will honor President Bushs request. They will do so because the American people, like you, want to see an Iraq that is able to stand on its own.
Nor is the United States the only country ready to assist you. The other nations of the Coalition are contributing now. On October 23-24 there will be a conference in Madrid. There other nations from around the world will gather to examine Iraqs needs and pledge their own contributions to your rebuilding. They too will contribute to Iraqs recovery.
Several weeks ago I quoted the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
And your future is full of hope.