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Bush Says Terrorists, Baathist Loyalists Will Not Shake America's Will

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2003 – President Bush told the world in his radio address to the nation today that terrorists and Saddam Hussein's Baathist loyalists will not weaken the country's will, and the United States will not leave Iraq until the job he set out to do is done.

"Our will cannot be shaken," Bush emphasized. "We're being tested, and America and our allies will not fail. We will honor the sacrifice of the fallen by ensuring that the cause for which they fought and died is completed."

Noting that terrorists launched a series of attacks in Iraq this week, Bush said, "Their targets included police stations in Baghdad and Fallujah, the headquarters of the International Red Cross, and living quarters for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. The majority of their victims were Iraqis working to rebuild and restore order to their country, and citizens of other nations engaged in purely humanitarian missions."

The president blamed Saddam loyalists and foreigners who do not want a free and stable Iraq for the attacks. "Some of the killers behind these attacks are loyalists of the Saddam regime who seek to regain power and who resent Iraq's new freedoms." He said others are foreigners who have traveled to Iraq to spread fear and chaos, and prevent the emergence of a successful democracy in the heart of the Middle East.

Bush said the attackers may have different long-term goals, but they share a near-term strategy: to intimidate Iraqis from building a free government, and to cause America and its allies to leave Iraq without finishing their work.

"They know that a free Iraq will be free of them, and free of the fear in which the ideologies of terror thrive," Bush said.

Terrorists have grown to believe during the last few decades that if they hit America hard -- as in Lebanon and Somalia -- America would retreat and back down, Bush said.

Noting that five years ago, a terrorist said an attack could make America run in less than 24 hours, Bush said the United States will complete its work in Iraq, because leaving that country prematurely would only embolden the terrorists and increase the danger to America.

"We're determined to stay, to fight and to win," Bush asserted.

The American and coalition strategy is working in Iraq, Bush said. "The terrorists and the Baathists loyal to the old regime will fail. First, we are taking this fight to the enemy, mounting raids, seizing weapons and funds and bringing killers to justice."

For example, Bush said, in a little over a month, Operation Ivy Focus, a series of aggressive raids by the Army's 4th Infantry Division, has yielded the capture of more than 100 former regime members. The infantrymen have also seized hundreds of weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives, and hundreds of thousands of dollars suspected of being used to finance terror operations, Bush said.

The United States is training an ever-increasing number of Iraqis to defend their nation, such as more than 90,000 Iraqis who are now serving as police officers, border guards and civil defense personnel, the president said.

"These Iraqi forces are also supplying troops in the field with better intelligence, allowing for greater precision in targeting the enemies of freedom," Bush said. "And we're accelerating our efforts to train and field a new Iraqi army and more Iraqi civil defense forces."

Plans to transfer sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people are also under way, he noted. "The governing council, made up of Iraqi citizens, has appointed ministers who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Iraqi government," Bush said. "The council has also selected a committee that is developing a process through which Iraqis will draft a new constitution for their country. When a constitution has been ratified by the Iraqi people, Iraq will enjoy free and fair elections."

Pointing out that all these efforts are closely linked, Bush said as security improves, life will increasingly return to normal in Iraq. And, he added, "more and more Iraqis will step forward to play a direct role in the rebirth of their country."

Bush said as the political process moves forward and more and more Iraqis come to feel they have a stake in their country's future, they will help to secure a better life for themselves and their children.

"And," he said, "we will make America safer by helping to transform Iraq from an exporter of violence and terror into a center of progress and peace."

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