The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
May 11, 2004

Global Message

From remarks by President Bush, 5/10/04

The United States has a vital national interest in the success of free institutions in Iraq as the alternative to tyranny and terrorist violence in the Middle East. We are confronting problems squarely, and we are making changes as needed.

We are committed to transferring sovereignty to an Iraqi government as quickly as possible.

America is committed to the equality and dignity of all people, so there will be a full accounting for the cruel and disgraceful abuse of Iraqi detainees.

The conduct that has come to light is an insult to the Iraqi people, and an affront to the most basic standards of morality and decency.

One basic difference between democracies and dictatorships is that free countries confront such abuses openly and directly.

Secretary Rumsfeld appointed several former senior officials to review the investigations of these abuses. Some soldiers have already been charged, and those involved will answer for their conduct in an orderly and transparent process.

We will honor the rule of law. All prison operations in Iraq will be thoroughly reviewed to make certain that such offenses are not repeated.

Our priorities remain the same: the protection of our country, the security of our troops, and the spread of freedom throughout the world. Like other generations of Americans, we have accepted a difficult and historic task.

We have great respect for the people of Iraq and for all Arab peoples -- respect for their culture and for their history and for the contribution they can make to the world. We believe that democracy will allow these gifts to flourish.

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