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Bush: All Nations Should Support Afghanistan and Iraq

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28, 2003 – All nations must join in confronting the threat of terrorism where it arises, President George W. Bush said Sept. 27 in his weekly radio address.

"In the struggle between terrorists and peaceful nations, there is no neutral ground," the president said. "All nations should stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq as they build a future based on freedom and democracy."

The Coalition Provisional Authority is helping the Iraqi people build a "secure, hopeful, and self-governing nation, which will stand as an example of freedom to all the Middle East," said Bush.

The president listed a number of accomplishments in Iraq. He cited rebuilding more than a thousand schools, supplying and reopening hospitals, rehabilitating power plants, water and sanitation facilities, bridges and airports as well as training Iraqi police, border guards and a new army. These efforts are the path necessary for Iraqis to "assume full responsibility for their own security," he said.

"Iraq has its own governing council, has appointed interim government ministries and is moving toward elections," said Bush. "Iraq's new leaders are showing the openness and tolerance that democracy requires -- and also the courage. Yet every young democracy needs the help of friends. America is providing that help to Iraq, and all nations of good will should do their part, as well."

The goal, said the president, is a free Iraq where the Iraqis are responsible for their own affairs.

"We want Iraq's governmental institutions to be strong, and to stand the test of time," he continued. "So I called on the United Nations to take up vital responsibilities in this effort. America is now working with friends and allies on a new (United Nations) Security Council resolution, which will expand the U.N.'s role in Iraq. As in the aftermath of other conflicts, the United Nations should assist in developing a constitution, training civil servants, and conducting free and fair elections."

Many U.N. members, including Germany, have expressed a commitment to help rebuild Iraq, said Bush.

The stakes in Iraq are high, continued the president. "If freedom and progress falter in the Middle East, that region will continue to export violence that takes lives in America and around the world," he said. "If democracy and tolerance and peace advance in that region, it will undermine the bitterness and resentment that feed terrorism."

Because of this, said Bush, the terrorists fight against order and liberty in Iraq. The terrorists "must and will be defeated," he added.

The president said he is confident that more nations will "rally to the side of the Iraqi people and help them to build a free and peaceful nation."

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