Powell Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Iraq
By K.L. Vantran
2004 – The United States will not shrink from its task of
giving Iraqis a country that is based on democracy, freedom and
individual rights, Secretary of State Colin Powell said today
in a briefing from Baghdad.
not let anyone believe that we won’t prevail," he said. "We
will prevail. We owe it to the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people
deserve it. They want to live in a democracy."
Just how far
the war-torn country has progressed on the road to democracy was
evident as several journalists walked out prior to Powell’s opening
remarks. The journalists’ departure followed a statement and moment
of silence for the reporter and cameraman of the Arab satellite
television station Al Arabiya who died as a result of wounds allegedly
inflicted by U.S. troops. The incident is under investigation.
the rights and privileges of the journalists who just left to
express their feelings," said the secretary. "It’s something
that couldn’t have happened at an earlier time in the history
of Iraq, and certainly not in the last 30 years."
loss of any life is tragic and regrettable, Powell said, it is
the terrorists who are responsible.
those who do not want to see the Iraqi people live in peace, those
who do not want to see democracy take root," he said. "(It’s
those) who would return this nation under the thumb of a dictator,
a dictator who filled mass graves, who ran rape rooms, who suppressed
his people, who wasted the resources and talents of the Iraqi
there will be "difficult days ahead," Powell said coalition
forces will continue to go after people responsible for terrorist
to media questions about the March 11 bombing in Spain and subsequent
remarks from Spanish officials about the possible pullout of its
troops from Iraq, the secretary said about 30 countries are at
work in Iraq, and that he believes the "coalition is still
Many of the
coalition nations, Powell noted, have reinforced their commitment
to ensuring a democratic Iraq.
is not the time to say, ‘Let’s stop what we’re doing and pull
back,’" said Powell. "This is the time to redouble our
efforts in every way … and deal with the threats to the
civilized world — and not run and hide and think that it won’t
come and get us.
come and get us," he continued. "It’s a threat to the
whole civilized world, and the civilized world has to respond."