|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
March 16, 2004
From remarks by Deputy Secretary of State Armitage, 3/15/04
It is in the interests of the United States and the international community to see that Iraq -- which is in the heart of a vital and troubled region -- succeeds.
War and peace are not necessarily sequential anymore. Winning battles and winning hearts and minds have become joint operations.
Iraq is a country that endured more than 20 years of absolute dictatorship, but it takes more than one person to keep such a system going. Thousands of individuals were complicit in this reign of terror.
Many Iraqis will have to reconcile their own role in the repression of their fellow citizens -- which is no easy task and will take some time.
There are also regime loyalists who have no interest in reconciliation. These were vicious people under the rule of Saddam Hussein and they are vicious people today.
They, along with their foreign allies, killed more than 140 Iraqis as they prayed in places of worship on March 2nd. They shot two Iraqi women in the back as they arrived home from work last week. They are killing our soldiers and the aid workers from around the world who are there to help.
We have no intention of letting them sabotage the hopes of 24 million people -- the vast majority of whom just want to get a good job, put food on the table, and send their children to school.
The loyalists and foreign fighters can exact a price, but they cannot stop the momentum of ordinary human desires.