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Bush: Iraq Is Making Progress Under a Clear Strategy

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2003 – The United States and its coalition partners are making progress in rebuilding Iraq into "a stable, just and prosperous country" that doesn't threaten its neighbors or the world, President Bush said Oct. 11 during his weekly radio address.

He emphasized that the U.S. and the coalition "are following a clear strategy" in rebuilding Iraq.

First, Bush pointed out that coalition forces continue to pursue insurgents and Saddam Hussein die-hards who'd like nothing more than to sabotage reconstruction efforts.

Secondly, the president said the United States remains committed "to expanding international cooperation in the reconstruction and security of Iraq.

Thirdly, he added, U.S. and coalition leaders are working closely with Iraqi leaders "as they prepare to draft a constitution, establish institutions of a civil society and move toward free elections."

Bush noted that not much time has passed six months since he declared May 1 that major combat operations had ceased in Iraq after the ouster of former dictator Saddam Hussein's regime.

"Following World War II, it took three years to institute a new currency in West Germany," he pointed out. "In Iraq, it has taken only six months." Iraq's new currency deletes Saddam's image, and, according to Bush, "symbolizes Iraq's reviving economy."

In fact, since Iraq was liberated, "thousands of new businesses have been launched," he said. "Busy markets," he added, are evident in villages across the country. And store shelves in Iraq are filled with goods," he continued, including clothing, linens, air conditioners and satellite dishes. It's evident that "free commerce," Bush noted, is resurfacing in Iraq.

With U.S. and coalition help Iraqis are rebuilding their road and rail systems, which the president pointed out are "necessary" conduits for commerce.

An independent Iraqi central bank has been established, he said, while steps are under way to attract foreign investment into the country.

And "we have helped restore Iraq's oil production capacity to nearly 2 million barrels a day," Bush reported, with the benefits "flowing directly to the Iraqi people."

He pointed out that the mayor of Kirkuk recently stated that Iraq's economic potential has barely been realized.

"We must help Iraq to meet that potential," Bush declared, noting that money he's requested from the U.S. Congress for Iraq will go toward health and training projects and other economic reconstruction needs.

"Under our strategy, Iraq will have employment centers to help people find jobs," Bush said. "We intend to establish computer training and English-language training instruction and vocational programs to help Iraqis participate fully in the global economy."

A stable, democratic and prosperous Iraq "will no longer be a breeding ground for terror, tyranny and aggression," he emphasized, noting, "Free nations are peaceful nations."

U.S. and coalition reconstruction efforts in Iraq "will increase our safety for years to come," the president concluded.

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