L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
Address for Broadcast 26 September 2003
I am Paul Bremer, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
I begin by offering my condolences and those of the United States as well as those of the Coalition to the family and friends of Governing Council Member Aquila al-Hashimi. This brave and talented woman sacrificed her life as she sought a better future for all Iraqis.
Those who murdered her seek not a new future, but a return to darker days. You, the people of Iraq, working with us in the Coalition, shall avenge her not with blind revenge, but with justice-and by building a new Iraq. That new Iraq will be stronger and freer because Iraqis will be stronger and freer.
I have told you before that your future is a future of hope.
That future of hope grows closer.
I send this message to you from Washington where I have been consulting with the President and Congress of the United States.
As you know, President George W. Bush has asked Congress for $20,000 million to pay part of the costs of reconstructing Iraq.
In general terms about $5,000 million will go to provide more security for you by:
o Recruiting, equipping
and training 40,000 new police
The remaining $15,000
million will be spent to repair and expand the essential services upon
which all Iraqis depend. This money will improve and expand your essential
The money President Bush seeks will not pay for all the things that must be done to create a new Iraq. It may take all this money and twice again as much to bring Iraq's essential services to the level of Japan or the United States or Great Britain. We expect that some of this extra money will come from other foreign donors. But make no mistake. Most of the remaining money needed to make Iraq's network of essential services completely modern will have to come from you, the people of Iraq.
I told you that I was speaking to Congress in addition to President Bush. This is a part of the American system of government. As in other democracies, the President cannot simply reach into the Treasury and take out money for anything he wants. Our constitution makes it clear that no one can spend public money unless Congress approves.
Not only that, Congress must approve exactly what the money is spent for. This is one way that our constitution guards against the president having too much power.
I want to share some of what Congress said, what they asked about and what I said to them.
I am sure you know that while most members of Congress voted to give President Bush permission to send armed forces to Iraq, a smaller, but still important number opposed the President. Even so, all members of Congress said they were pleased that Saddam was gone.
Some asked the same questions that you ask:
o Why is it taking
so long to restore electric and telephone services? Why didn't you plan
And I told them:
o Essential services
like electricity, water and telephone services are slow in coming because
they were in much worse shape than we expected due to the theft and incompetence
of Saddam's regime.
Congress also asked me about individual freedoms, about religious liberty. They wanted to know what protections the new Iraqi constitution would give to women and religious minorities.
I told them that I
did not know what the constitution would look like, that the Iraqi's writing
the constitution had not yet been selected. But I did tell them that the
constitution would have to have real guarantees of individual liberties
I told them that the Coalition would not turn over sovereignty to any government if the Iraqi constitution did not contain strong protections for individual rights.
I am confident that the Iraqi people, who have suffered so from a lack of individual rights, will protect those rights in their new constitution.
The most pressing business of the Governing Council is to evaluate the forthcoming recommendations of the Preparatory Committee and to get the process started.
The Coalition urges
the Governing Council to establish a rapid process for convening the constitutional
convention. The sooner that convention begins, the sooner the constitution
will be written, the sooner elections can be held and the sooner you will
have a sovereign government.
I believe the Congress will make this money available, but I cannot be sure. There will be a vigorous and healthy debate in Congress and in the papers and on television and radio. In the end a decision will be made. Some people will be disappointed because their view did not win. But they will know that their voice was heard, that their views were considered, that they had a chance to persuade others even if they failed. Those who lose the debate will keep participating because there are other issues and they will win some of those.
This is the future of Iraq, not one person deciding, but many people, some elected, some not, making their voices heard. No one will get his way on everything, but everyone will get his way on something.
As I said, I believe
Congress will honor the President's request. And when that happens, the
work of rebuilding Iraq will start moving faster and bringing closer your
future of hope.