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Bremer Highlights Successes in Iraq

By Staff Sgt. Stephen Hudson, ANG
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2003 – Thanks to efforts by U.S. and coalition forces, electrical services in Iraq will be at prewar levels within a month, Ambassador L. Paul Bremer told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee Sept. 22.

Bremer, who was on Capitol Hill urging Congress to support the president's $87 billion supplemental budget request, spoke about the success America and its coalition partners are seeing in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

"All of Iraq's 240 hospitals and 90 percent of its health clinics are open today," he said. "There is adequate food and there is no sign of epidemic. We have cleared thousands of miles of irrigation canals so that farmers in these areas have more water than they've had in a generation."

According to Bremer, most of the work has been done by the Iraqis and often financed by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Speaking optimistically about the future of Iraq, Bremer said a group of local restaurateurs presented a petition to him last week that asked to have the curfew in Baghdad extended from 11 p.m. to midnight because "business is so good."

"But I would not hide from you the fact that it is a difficult environment. There are, after all, significant dangers," Bremer said. "But it is considerably better than it was a couple of weeks a couple of months ago."

Bremer equated what is now occurring in Iraq to the post World War II Marshall Plan. But then, the United States waited three years after the end of the war to help rebuild war-torn Europe.

"Iraqis, living in freedom with dignity, will set an example in this troubled region which so often spawns terrorism," Bremer said. "A stable, peaceful, economically productive Iraq will serve America's interest by making America safer."

(Air National Guardsman Staff Sgt. Stephen Hudson is assigned to DefendAmerica.)

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