THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
Saturday, April 10, 2004
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week in Iraq, our coalition
forces have faced challenges, and taken the fight to the enemy. And our
offensive will continue in the weeks ahead.
As the June 30th date for Iraqi sovereignty draws near, a small faction is
attempting to derail Iraqi democracy and seize power. In some cities, Saddam
supporters and terrorists have struck against coalition forces. In other areas,
attacks were incited by a radical named Muqtada-al-Sadr, who is wanted for the
murder of a respected Shiite cleric. Al-Sadr has called for violence against
coalition troops, and his band of thugs have terrorized Iraqi police and
Coalition forces are conducting a multi-city offensive. In Fallujah, Marines of
Operation Vigilant Resolve are taking control of the city, block by block.
Further south, troops of Operation Resolute Sword have taken the initiative from
al-Sadr's militia. Our coalition's quick reaction forces are finding and
engaging the enemy. Prisoners are being taken, and intelligence is being
gathered. Our decisive actions will continue until these enemies of democracy
are dealt with.
Some have suggested that we should respond to the recent attacks by delaying
Iraqi sovereignty. This is precisely what our enemies want. They want to dictate
the course of events in Iraq and to prevent the Iraqi people from having a true
voice in their future. They want America and our coalition to falter in our
commitments before a watching world. In these ambitions, the enemies of freedom
will fail. Iraqi sovereignty will arrive on June 30th.
In March, the Iraqi Governing Council signed a document that protects the rights
of the Iraqi people, offers the timetable for elections, and paves the way for a
permanent constitution. At this moment, United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar
Brahimi is conducting intensive consultations with a wide range of Iraqis on the
structure of the interim government that will assume control on July the 1st. We
welcome this U.N. engagement.
The transition to sovereignty will mark the beginning of a new government, and
the end of the coalition's administrative duties. But the coalition's commitment
to Iraq will continue. We will establish a new American embassy to protect our
nation's interests. We will continue helping the Iraqi people reconstruct their
economy, undermined by decades of dictatorship and corruption. And our coalition
forces will remain committed to the security of Iraq.
Iraq's elections for a permanent government are scheduled to be held near the
end of 2005, and the elected government can count on coalition assistance. We
will stand with the Iraqi people as long as necessary, to ensure that their
young democracy is stable and secure and successful.
As we have done before, America is fighting on the side of liberty -- liberty in
Iraq, and liberty in the Middle East. This objective serves the interests of
that region, of the United States and of all freedom-loving countries. As the
greater Middle East increasingly becomes a place where freedom flourishes, the
lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and the American people and
the entire world will be more secure.
From the first days of the war on terror, I said our nation would face periods
of struggle and testing. As the June 30th transition approaches, we will
continue to see a test of wills between the enemies of freedom and its
defenders. We will win this test of wills, and overcome every challenge, because
the cause of freedom and security is worth our struggle.
This weekend, many of the men and women who serve that cause in uniform will
celebrate Easter and Passover far from home. In this season that celebrates hope
and freedom, our nation remembers in prayer the good and the brave people of our
military. They are the best of America, and America is firmly behind them.
Thank you for listening.