World Made Safer After Terrorists Defeated, President Says
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2004 President Bush promised the nation and the world today that terrorists holding the population of Fallujah in "the grip of fear" will be defeated, Iraq will be free, and the world will be more secure.
"Our commitment to the success of democracy in Iraq is unshakable, and we will prevail," Bush vowed in his weekly Saturday radio address.
Pointing out that Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi authorized military operations earlier this week to rid Fallujah of Saddam Hussein holdouts and foreign terrorists, Bush noted that American Marines and soldiers, alongside Iraqi security forces, are getting the job done.
He said U.S. and Iraqi armed forces "are on the offensive against the killers who have been using Fallujah as a base of operations for terrorist attacks, and who have held the local population in the grip of fear.
"Fighting together, our forces have made significant progress in the last several days," the president said. "They are taking back the city, clearing mosques of weapons and explosives stockpiled by insurgents, and restoring order for law-abiding citizens."
Iraqi troops have discovered new evidence of the enemy's brutality, Bush said, pointing out an Iraqi general has described hostage slaughter houses, where terrorists have killed innocent victims and proudly recorded their barbaric crimes.
"The terrorists have shown once again the stakes of this struggle," he continued. "They seek to spread fear and violence throughout Iraq, throughout the broader Middle East and throughout the world, and they will fail."
The president said ultimately Iraq must be able to defend itself, and Iraqi security forces are taking increasing responsibility for their country's security.
"As we see in Fallujah, Najaf and elsewhere, Iraqi security forces are standing, fighting and risking their lives for the future of their nation," he said. "As terrorists have targeted these forces, still more brave Iraqis have come forward as volunteers."
Nearly 115,000 trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are serving their country, Bush noted. He emphasized that the Iraqi government is on track to meet its goal of fielding more than 200,000 security personnel by the end of next year.
In January 2005, the Iraqi people will elect a transitional national assembly, which will draft a new constitution to prepare the way for the election of a permanent Iraqi government, the president noted.
"The Iraqi people, like the people of Afghanistan before them, are embracing a democratic future, even in the face of threats and intimidation," he said. "Throughout the country, Iraqi men and women are registering to vote, political parties are forming, candidates for office are stepping forward."
The president called international support for the Iraqi election "essential," adding support continues to grow. For example, he said military forces from some 30 nations are working alongside Iraqi forces, helping to establish stability and security. A U.N. team is providing critical technical support to Iraq's independent electoral commission. Other diplomatic personnel are helping the Iraqi people prepare for the January elections.
"As those elections draw near, the desperation of the killers will grow, and the violence could escalate," Bush said. "The success of democracy in Iraq would be a crushing blow to the forces of terror, and the terrorists know it. The defeat of terror in Iraq will set that nation on a course to lasting freedom, and will give hope to millions, and the Iraqi people know it.
"The United States and our allies have shown our determination to help Iraqis achieve their liberty," Bush said. "We will continue to stand by our friends, and we will finish the job."