The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Powell: 'As Long as It Takes'


'As Long as It Takes'
Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government.

Friday, September 19, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT

I have just returned from Iraq. What I saw there convinced me, more than
ever, that our liberation of Iraq was in the best interests of the Iraqi
people, the American people and the world.

The Iraq I saw was a society on the move, a vibrant land with a hardy people
experiencing the first heady taste of freedom. Iraq has come a long way
since the dawn of this year, when Saddam Hussein was holding his people in
poverty, ignorance and fear while filling mass graves with his opponents.
The Iraqi regime was still squandering Iraq's treasure on deadly weapons
programs, in defiance of 12 years of United Nations Security Council
resolutions. While children died, Saddam was lavishing money on palaces and
perks, for himself and his cronies.

Thanks to the courage of our brave men and women in uniform, and those of
our coalition partners, all that has changed. Saddam is gone. Thanks to the
hard work of Ambassador L. Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional
Authority, Iraq is being transformed. The evidence was everywhere to be
seen. Streets are lined with shops selling newspapers and books with
opinions of every stripe. Schools and universities are open, teaching young
Iraqis the skills to live in freedom and compete in our globalizing world.
Parents are forming PTAs to support these schools, and to make sure that
they have a voice in their children's future. The hospitals are operating,
and 95% of the health clinics are open to provide critical medical services
to Iraqis of all ages.
Most important of all, Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government.
All the major cities and over 85% of the towns have councils. In Baghdad, I
attended a city council meeting that was remarkable for its normalcy. I saw
its members spend their time talking about what most city councils are
concerned with--jobs, education and the environment. At the national level I
met with an Iraqi Governing Council that has appointed ministers and is
taking responsibility for national policy. In fact, while I was there, the
new minister of justice announced the legal framework for a truly
independent judiciary.

The Governing Council has appointed a central bank governor who will be in
charge of introducing Iraq's new, unified currency next month. It also
recently endorsed new tariffs and is now discussing world-class reforms to
open the country to productive foreign investment. Now, the Governing
Council is turning its attention to the process for drawing up a democratic
constitution for a democratic Iraq.

I was truly moved when I met with my counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, free
Iraq's first foreign minister. He will soon be off to New York as part of
the Iraqi delegation to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

Iraq has come very far, but serious problems remain, starting with security.
American commanders and troops told me of the many threats they face--from
leftover loyalists who want to return Iraq to the dark days of Saddam, from
criminals who were set loose on Iraqi society when Saddam emptied the jails
and, increasingly, from outside terrorists who have come to Iraq to open a
new front in their campaign against the civilized world. But our commanders
also briefed me on their plan for meeting these security threats, and it is
a good one.

We also need to complete the renewal of Iraq's electrical grid, its water
treatment facilities and its other infrastructure, which were run down and
destroyed during the years of Saddam's misrule. Here, too, we are making
progress. Electric generation now averages 75% of prewar levels, and that
figure is rising. Telephone service is being restored to hundreds of
thousands of customers. Dilapidated water and sewage treatment facilities
are being modernized. But it will take time and money to finish the job.

Indeed, that's Iraq in a nutshell. With our support, the Iraqis have made
great progress. But it will take time and money to finish the job. President
Bush has asked Congress for $20 billion to help rebuild Iraq's
infrastructure. Next month, the international community will meet in Madrid
to pledge additional assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. With these funds,
and our continued help, I know the Iraqis will take great strides in
rebuilding their battered country.

How long will we stay in Iraq? We will stay as long as it takes to turn full
responsibility for governing Iraq over to a capable and democratically
elected Iraqi administration. Only a government elected under a democratic
constitution can take full responsibility and enjoy full legitimacy in the
eyes of the Iraqi people and the world.
Anyone who doubts the wisdom of President Bush's course in Iraq should
stand, as I did, by the side of the mass grave in Halabja, in Iraq's north.
That terrible site holds the remains of 5,000 innocent men, women and
children who were gassed to death by Saddam Hussein's criminal regime.

The Iraqi people must be empowered to prevent such mass murder from
happening ever again. They must be given the tools and the support to build
a peaceful and prosperous democracy. They deserve no less. The American
people deserve no less.

Mr. Powell is secretary of state.

[ storyend_dingbat.gif of type image/gif removed by -
   attachments are not permitted on the CASI lists ]

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]