U.S. and Coalition Forces Will Not Be Diverted
in Iraq, Bush Says
The White House
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. A year ago, I declared an end to major combat
operations in Iraq, after coalition forces conducted one of the swiftest, most
successful and humane campaigns in military history. I thanked our troops for
their courage and for their professionalism. They had confronted a gathering
danger to our nation and the world. They had vanquished a brutal dictator who
had twice invaded neighboring countries, who had used weapons of mass
destruction against his own people, and who had supported and financed
terrorism. On that day, I also cautioned Americans that, while a tyrant had
fallen, the war against terror would go on.
One year later, despite many challenges, life for the Iraqi people is a world
away from the cruelty and corruption of Saddam's regime. At the most basic level
of justice, people are no longer disappearing into political prisons, torture
chambers, and mass graves -- because the former dictator is in prison, himself.
And their daily life is improving. Electricity is now more widely available than
before the war. Iraq has a stable currency and banks are thriving. Schools and
clinics have been renovated and reopened, and power plants, hospitals, water and
sanitation facilities, and bridges are being rehabilitated. Iraq's oil
infrastructure is being rebuilt, with the Iraqi oil industry already producing
about 2.5 million barrels per day.
On the ground in Iraq, we have serious and continuing challenges. Illegal
militias and remnants of the regime, joined by foreign terrorists, are trying to
take by force the power they could never gain by the ballot. These groups have
found little support among the Iraqi people.
Our coalition is implementing a clear strategy in Iraq. First, we will ensure an
atmosphere of security as Iraqis move toward self-government. Our coalition
supports the efforts of local Iraqis to negotiate the disarmament of the
radicals in Fallujah. We've also made it clear that militias in Najaf and
elsewhere must disarm or face grave consequences. American and coalition forces
are in place, and we are prepared to enforce order in Iraq.
The second element of our strategy is to return sovereignty to the people of
Iraq on the schedule that we agreed to with the Iraqi Governing Council. Like
any proud people, Iraqis want to manage their own affairs
-- and that is a goal we share. On June 30th, a sovereign Iraqi interim
government will take office. Iraqis will assume all administrative duties now
performed by the coalition. Since February, United Nations Special Advisor
Lakhdar Brahimi has been consulting with Iraqis on how best to form that interim
government. The United States fully supports his mission.
As the transfer of sovereignty approaches on June 30th, we are likely to see
more violence from groups opposed to freedom. We will not be intimidated or
diverted. On July 1st, and beyond, our reconstruction and military commitment
In the cause of a free and stable Iraq, our servicemen and women are working
hard and sacrificing greatly. And families of the brave troops who have fallen
must know that their loss is not in vain. We will finish our work in Iraq,
because the stakes for our country and the world are high. The failure of Iraqi
democracy would embolden terrorists around the globe, increase dangers to the
American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the Middle East. The
success of Iraqi democracy would send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran,
that freedom can be the future of every nation. And democracy will succeed in
Iraq, because our coalition is strong, because our resolve is firm, and because
the people of Iraq desire and deserve to live in freedom.
Thank you for listening.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: