Bush Congratulates Iraqis on Successful Election
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2005 President Bush congratulated the Iraqi people Oct. 16 for the success of their constitutional referendum Oct. 15.
"On behalf of the American people, I'd like to congratulate the people of Iraq for the successful completion of a vote on their draft constitution," Bush said. "By all indications, the turnout was greater than the turnout from the last-January election, which is good news. By all indications, the Sunnis participated in greater numbers in this election than last time. And that's good news."
The president said he was pleased that the level of violence in this election was considerably less than that during the last election. "That's a tribute to the Iraqis -- forces who we've trained -- as well as coalition forces that worked hard to make sure that democracy could move forward in Iraq."
Bush compared the progress of democracy in Iraq to the outlook of those who have sought to derail the process, saying the successful vote "stands in stark contrast to the attitudes and philosophy and strategy of al Qaeda and its terrorist friends and killers."
"We believe, and the Iraqis believe, the best way forward is through the democratic process," the president said. "Al Qaeda wants to use their violent ways to stop the march of democracy because democracy is the exact opposite of what they believe is right."
Citing the progress they have made and his hope for the country's future as an ally in the war on terror, Bush thanked the Iraqi people for participating in the democratic process. "I thank you for meeting this milestone," he said. "Thank you for doing what is right, to set the foundations for peace for future generations to come."