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Democracy in Iraq a Blow to International Terrorism

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2005 – The rise of democracy in Iraq is a "blow right to the heart of the global terrorism," a major American ally said today.

In remarks in London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said today's successful elections in Iraq will prove to harm the global terrorism movement that "threatens destruction not just in Iraq but in Britain and virtually every major country around the world."

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said today that the costs in money and lives are worth it to bring democracy to Iraq.

Americans learned "a very important lesson" on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she said. "The status quo in the Middle East was not sustainable," Rice said in an afternoon interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "It was producing an ideology of hatred that had people drive airplanes into our buildings."

She said Americans learned they must "deal with that and build a different kind of Middle East, or we're going to be fighting terrorists long beyond our lifetimes."

Two Americans died in a mortar attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on the eve of today's elections, and an unknown number of British servicemembers died in the crash of a C-130 airplane outside Baghdad today. U.S. military statistics put the total American military deaths in Iraq at 1,411 as of Jan. 28.

"Obviously we mourn every death," Rice said. "Unfortunately, nothing of value is ever won without sacrifice. Our hope is that as the political process moves forward, as it has begun to move forward today, as Iraqis take more responsibility for their own future -- both politically and in security terms - - that the insurgency will begin to lose some of its steam."

Blair said the next step in Iraq will be to help the new Iraqi government that will grow from today's elections.

"What we now have to do is sit down with the new Iraqi government once it's formed and work out a way forward to help Iraqis' democracy grow," he said, "to build the capability of Iraqis' security forces, to tackle the issues of security themselves, to ensure that the large sums of money that the global community is providing set aside for reconstruction are used to make the lives of ordinary Iraqis better."

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