print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > April 2003

Operation Iraqi Freedom

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2003

Global Message

The world is witnessing historic days in the cause of freedom. Our work is not done and the difficulties have not passed, but the regime of Saddam Hussein has passed into history.

American and Coalition forces still face serious risks in Iraq. A scattered enemy is still capable of doing harm to our forces and to the innocent. But we will press on until our mission is finished and victory is complete.

By swift and effective military action, we avoided a massive flow of refugees.

By delivering food and water and medicine to the Iraqi people - even as coalition units engaged the enemy - we have helped to avert a humanitarian crisis.

Now that Iraq is liberated, the United Nations should lift economic sanctions on that country.

We're addressing Iraq's urgent medical problems left by a regime that built palaces in a country that needed hospitals. Hundreds of Iraqis are being treated at U.S. and British military facilities.

Governments from Europe and the Middle East are moving field hospitals to Iraq. Coalition members and the UN are sending medical supplies. The Red Cross is working to keep water and electricity flowing to hospitals. Soon our Coalition will be making direct emergency payments to Iraqi doctors and nurses who will be providing desperately needed care to their fellow citizens.

The journey from a totalitarian, brutal dictatorship to a free society is not easy. It will take time to build the institutions of democracy and the habits of freedom. Civil order is being restored in communities throughout Iraq, and Iraqis themselves are helping in the effort.

On Tuesday, an historic gathering occurred in the city of An Nasiriyah, where Iraqis met openly and freely to discuss the future of the country. Many more of these meetings

will take place in the weeks and months to come. Out of that meeting came this declaration: Iraq must be democratic, and we will help Iraq to build a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.

Across the world, terrorists and tyrants are learning that America and our allies will act in our own defense. Instead of drifting toward tragedy, we will protect our security, and we will promote the peace in the world. Having rid Iraq of an oppressive regime, we are committed to helping Iraq build a future of freedom and dignity and peace.