Bush Reiterates Commitment to Freedom,
Democracy in Iraq
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
May 15, 2004
RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION
Good morning. This week, our nation was sickened by the murder of an American
civilian, Nicholas Berg. The savage execution of this innocent man reminds us of
the true nature of our terrorist enemy, and of the stakes in this struggle. The
terrorists rejoice in the killing of the innocent, and have promised similar
violence against Americans, against all free peoples, and against any Muslims
who reject their ideology of murder. Their barbarism cannot be appeased, and
their hatred cannot be satisfied. There's only one way to deal with terror: We
must confront the enemy and stay on the offensive until these killers are
And this is precisely what our armed forces, and the forces of our coalition,
are doing. In and around Fallujah, U.S. Marines are conducting joint patrols
with local Iraqis to take back the city from Saddam loyalists and foreign
fighters and other militants. In nearby towns, Marines are conducting raids to
disrupt enemy attacks on supply routes and to root out anti-coalition fighters.
To the south, in and around the cities of Najaf and Karbala, U.S. Army soldiers
and Iraqi security forces are systematically dismantling the illegal militia led
by the radical cleric al Sadr that has incited violence and attempted to seize
control. Iraqi security forces ejected elements of this militia from a mosque in
Karbala that was being used to store ammunition. The Iraqi people oppose the
actions of this illegal militia, and Shia religious leaders have called on it to
withdraw. Recent days have seen demonstrations in which ordinary Iraqis have
taken to the streets, calling on the militia to withdraw from their cities and
As we attack and defeat the enemies of freedom in Iraq, we will continue to work
with Iraqi leaders to build a free, democratic and independent government. The
United Nations Special Envoy, Mr. Brahimi, is now back in Iraq, consulting with
diverse groups of Iraqis. In the next few weeks, important decisions will be
made on the make-up of an interim government. And on June 30th, the flag of a
free Iraq will be raised, and Iraq's new interim government will assume a
sovereign authority. America will keep its commitment to the independence and
national dignity of the Iraqi people. Yet the vital mission of our military in
helping to provide security will continue on July 1st and beyond.
Coalition forces are training thousands of Iraqis to protect a free Iraq from
external aggression and internal subversion. Our forces will remain in Iraq to
assist the Iraqi people until Iraqis can secure their own country. Our country
has great respect for the Iraqi people, and we are determined to expose and
punish the abuse of Iraqi detainees. Charges have been filed against seven
soldiers, and the first trial is set to begin next week. My administration and
our military are determined that such abuses never happen again.
All Americans know that the actions of a few do not reflect the true character
of the United States Armed Forces. No military in the history of the world has
fought so hard and so often for the freedom of others. Today, our forces are
keeping terrorists across the world on the run. They're helping the people of
Afghanistan and Iraq to build democratic societies, making America more secure.
By their example, the people of those countries and of the countries around the
world are coming to know that freedom is the answer to hopelessness and terror.
Our servicemen and women are defending America with unselfish courage, and their
achievements have brought pride and credit to this nation.
Thank you for listening.