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[casi] Bremer explains himself Iraq ...

Bremer explains himself Iraq ...

... and 's searching for cover.

E.g. this one:

"... are increasingly taking responsibility for management of local matters
like health care, water and electricity."

Which translates (among other things) into "getting scapegoates on board
just timely enough to pass on the responsibility buck"



July 13, 2003

The Road Ahead in Iraq  and How to Navigate It


Americans can be proud of the role their fighting men and women played in
freeing Iraq of Saddam Hussein and his cronies. The people of Iraq are now
on the road to political and economic independence.

The first official step in this political transition at the national level
occurs today, with the convening of the Iraqi Governing Council. This is the
latest sign of progress. For the first time in decades, Iraqis are truly
free. More than 150 newspapers have been started since liberation. All major
cities and 85 percent of towns now have a municipal council where Iraqis are
increasingly taking responsibility for management of local matters like
health care, water and electricity.

Iraqis are speaking out and demonstrating with a vigor borne of 35 years of
imposed silence. This is not yet a full democracy, but freedom is on the
march, from north to south. Sadly, this progress is despised by a narrow
band of opponents. A small minority of bitter-enders  members of the former
regime's instruments of repression  oppose such freedom. They are joined by
foreign terrorists, extreme Islamists influenced by Iran and bands of
criminals. These people do not pose a strategic threat to America or to a
democratic Iraq. They enjoy no support since their only vision is to
reimpose the dictatorship hated by Iraqis. Our military will hunt them down
and, as President Bush said, "They will face ruin, just as surely as the
regime they once served."

These shadowy figures are killing brave Iraqis working with us, attacking
soldiers and civilians, and trying to sabotage the fragile infrastructure.
The attacks have drawn concern worldwide. My coalition colleagues and Iraqi
friends have noticed that the attacks are often aimed at successes in the
renewal of this nation. A week ago, an American soldier was mixing with
students at Baghdad University, which reopened on May 17. Their presence was
testimony to the educational progress that is blossoming here (public
schools have also reopened). But our enemies fear enlightenment, so one of
them killed the soldier.

The day before, 250 Iraqi police recruits graduated, the latest success in
re-staffing law enforcement. Tens of thousands of Iraqi policemen are now on
duty. But the enemies of freedom correctly felt threatened by the
cooperation and professionalism the day represented, so they set off a bomb
that killed seven new officers. Before the war, women had to travel miles
for propane. Now, local councils are establishing distribution centers that
make the gas readily available to households. On June 18, one American
soldier was killed while guarding a center. The June 24th explosion at an
oil refinery in Barwanah is another example of political sabotage on Iraq's
energy supply.

With these attacks on Iraq's new successes, citizens of coalition nations
ask how long we will remain in Iraq  and some Iraqis may doubt our ability
to improve their lives. As President Bush has made clear, we are committed
to establishing the conditions for security, prosperity and democracy.
America has no designs on Iraq and its wealth. We will finish our job here
and stay not one day longer than necessary.

We have a plan to support the establishment of this government of, by and
for Iraqis. After months of consultations with Iraqis, we have taken the
first step in establishing an interim administration. Today, the Governing
Council of Iraq will meet. It represents all the strands from Iraq's
complicated social structure  Shiites, Sunnis, Arabs, Kurds, men and women,
Christians and Turkmens. The council will immediately exercise real
political power, appointing interim ministers and working with the coalition
on policy and budgets.

At the same time, the council will establish procedures to write Iraq's new
constitution. Once it is ratified by the people, elections can be held and a
sovereign Iraqi government will come into being. So the question of how long
the coalition will stay in Iraq depends in part on how quickly the Iraqi
people can write and approve a constitution.

The coalition recognizes the urgency of marrying economic well-being to
political freedom. For 35 years, the country's assets were misappropriated
or stolen. We are pouring resources into re-establishing basic services and
creating jobs. Our economic reform plan will entail a major shift of capital
from the value-destroying state sector to private firms. We are also
creating a social safety net for any resulting disruptions. And we believe
that a method should be found to assure that every citizen benefits from
Iraq's oil wealth. One possibility would be to pay social benefits from a
trust financed by oil revenues. Another could be to pay an annual cash
dividend directly to each citizen from that trust.

In all this, the coalition is working closely with Iraqis who will
eventually be responsible for their country's well-being. For our three
priorities  security, politics and the economy  the strategy provides for
the successful transition to a stable and reformed Iraq. This does not mean
that the road ahead is without danger. The combination of a broken
infrastructure and acts of sabotage could mean a rough summer. We will
suffer casualties, as the bitter-enders resort to violence. We are also
braced for an increase in terrorism by non-Iraqis, but no one should doubt
our determination to use our power in the face of violent acts.

Once our work is over, the reward will be great: a free, democratic and
independent Iraq that stands not as a threat to its neighbors or the world,
but as a beacon of freedom and justice.

L. Paul Bremer III is the top American administrator in Iraq.

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