THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Saturday, March 6, 2004
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week terrorists launched a series of
attacks in Iraq, targeting religious sites in Baghdad and Karbala, during
commemorations marking the Shia holy day of Ashoura. Laura and I and the
American people were filled with grief and anger at these terrible acts of
murder, which took the lives of dozens of innocent Iraqis.
Some of these killers behind these attacks are supporters of Saddam's former
regime. Others are foreign terrorists. All of them are determined to halt and
reverse all progress toward freedom in Iraq. One of the terrorist leaders, a
killer named Zarqawi, recently wrote to a senior al Qaeda terrorist of his plan
to tear Iraq apart with ethnic violence, to undermine Iraqi security forces, to
demoralize our coalition, and to prevent the rise of a sovereign, democratic
government. The killer's strategy will fail.
Immediately after the attacks, the world saw members of Iraq's Governing Council
and other Iraqis quickly condemn the bombings, and voice their determination
that their country will be peaceful and free. The Iraqi people refuse to live in
fear, and so do the members of our coalition. Fighting alongside the people of
Iraq, we will defeat the terrorists who seek to plunge Iraq into chaos and
violence, and we will stand with the people of Iraq for as long as necessary to
build a stable, peaceful and successful democracy.
The Iraqi people are making excellent progress. Members of the Governing Council
are having a free and open and spirited debate as they complete a new framework
for governing their nation. This transitional administrative law will result in
protecting the rights of all Iraqis, and will move the country toward a
A year ago, Iraq's only law was the whim of one brutal man. When the new law
takes effect, Iraqis will, for the first time in decades, live under the clear
protections of a written bill of rights. Under this law, all Iraqis will be
treated equally. No religious or ethnic groups will be favored, and none will
suffer discrimination at the hands of the state.
The law will protect the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly, the right
to organize political parties, the right to vote in fair elections, and the
right to worship according to one's own conscience. The law also will guarantee
the right to a speedy, fair and open trial. No Iraqi will ever again have to
fear the midnight knock of the secret police.
The transitional administrative law will establish a clear path for the
transition to full Iraqi sovereignty on June 30th of this year. Our coalition of
34 countries and the United Nations will continue to work closely with the Iraqi
people as they progress toward this goal.
The law calls for the election of a transitional national assembly by January
31, 2005. Later that year, this assembly will draft a new constitution to be
ratified by the Iraqi people. And by the end of next year, the Iraqi people will
elect a parliament and establish a government that is fully representative and
Difficult work in creating a new Iraqi government remains. Yet Iraqis are equal
to the tasks before them. The Iraqi people have shown the world that they are
fully capable of living in freedom.
Thank you for listening.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: