Bush: Time for Elected Iraqi Leaders to 'Stand up, Do Their Job'
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2006 President Bush sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Iraq to tell elected leaders there it's time "to stand up and do their job," the president said at the White House today.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice waves to airmen at Sather Air Base, Iraq, April 3 after she and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw attended meetings with Iraq government officials in Baghdad. She is accompanied by U.S. Air Force Col. Dennis Ployer, 447th Expeditionary Group commander, and Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Photo by Master Sgt. Will Ackerman, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Rice met with Iraqi leaders and visited U.S. troops in Iraq April 2 and yesterday.
Bush said today that he looks forward to working with the Iraqis to build "a unity government -- a government that will reject the sectarian violence, will reject the militias, reject (terrorist leader Abu Musab al-) Zarqawi and the terrorists that are trying to create enough chaos so that America loses nerve."
He said he won't lose his nerve as president, because the United States is doing the right thing by establishing democracy in Iraq. "By establishing a democracy, we're laying the foundation for peace," he said.
Bush recalled that 12 million Iraqis voted in a democratic election just over three months ago, despite threats from insurgents and terrorists. "The one way to help bring confidence to the Iraqi people that those few will not be able to determine the future of that country is for there to be a unity government that steps up and says, 'I'm willing to lead,'" he said.
Americans want peace and to be able to raise their children without the looming threat of violence originating in the Middle East, Bush said. The best way to defeat tyranny and the type of anger that led people to murder nearly 3,000 innocent civilians on Sept. 11, 2001, is "with the light and hope of democracy," he said.
"You bet it's tough in Iraq, and it's tough because people are trying to stop the advance of democracy," he added. "And I'm convinced we're making progress there. But I do urge the folks on the ground to get that unity government in place, so that the Iraqi people have confidence in their future."