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Bernhard Kerik

BERNARD KERIK: I'm Bernie Kerik, as most of you know I was Senior Advisor to the Ministry of the Interior. Over the last four months we reconstituted and rebuilt an Iraqi police service, customs, borders, immigration, fire service, emergency management, and we began that process from scratch. From zero. In four months we brought back nearly 40,000 police officers, nearly ten to twelve thousand customs and borders personnel. We brought in communications systems to Baghdad and in the north, and in the south, purchased new equipment for the Iraqi police service and customs, and today, you know, ironically, Kristen mentioned, Ahmed Ibrahim, who is the Senior Minister, Deputy Minister, of the Interior. I spoke with him this morning, and I told him that I was coming to the White House today to see the President and talk to the President with my colleagues. He urged me, and continued to urge me, in a loud and vocal manner I might add, "Tell President Bush thank you, and tell him thank you what he did for us, what he has done for the Iraqi people, and not to listen to the critics, and not to listen to the television". And I thought for a moment, as I listened to Ibrahim, and there was concern in his voice, concern that we would be frustrated, and I told him, "There is no frustration here, we're not going to be deterred, the President will not cower to criticism, this fight will continue, and Iraq will be a free and stable government." And I know that's going to happen, between the commitment here at the White House, and the commitment of the Iraqi people. This morning, just as I was talking to Ibrahim, he told me that in the last two days they had arrested a number of fedayeen, one of which was responsible for cutting the tongues out of people who were dead. These were the types of things that went on in that country that I think are ignored. And as some of my colleagues mentioned earlier, as we sat and talked, before we spoke to the President, there is a big disconnect, there's a vacuum, there's a great contradiction, in what we hear in the United States, what we read about in the United States, and what we personally saw on the ground in Iraq, and I urge my colleagues, go back to your hometowns, go back to your friends, talk to the press, talk to everybody you can to tell them your story. There is great success in Iraq. Iraq is going to be a free and democratic society, a free and democratic nation, and it's because of the people who stand behind me, they are the ones that began the process, and on behalf of everyone I want to thank them all for their great work, their hard work for the country.