For Immediate Release
January 28, 2005
President's Radio Address
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
Tomorrow the world will witness a turning point in the history of
Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom, and a crucial advance in
the war on terror. The Iraqi people will make their way to polling
centers across their nation. On the national ballot alone, voters will
choose from nearly 19,000 candidates competing for seats in the
Transitional National Assembly, in the country's 18 provincial
councils, and in the Kurdistan National Assembly.
This historic event will be overseen by the Independent Election
Commission of Iraq, and will mark the first genuine, nationwide
elections in generations. The terrorists and those who benefited from
the tyranny of Saddam Hussein know that free elections will expose the
emptiness of their vision for Iraq. That is why they will stop at
nothing to prevent or disrupt this election.
The terrorist Zarqawi -- who plans and orders many of the car
bombings and beheadings in Iraq -- recently acknowledged the threat
that democracy poses to his cult of hatred. "Of democracy in Iraq," he
said, "we have declared a fierce war against this evil principle." He
denounced as infidels all who seek to exercise their right to vote as
free human beings.
Yet in the face of this intimidation, the Iraqi people are standing
firm. Tomorrow's elections will happen because of their courage and
determination. All throughout Iraq, these friends of freedom
understand the stakes. In the face of assassination, brutal violence
and calculated intimidation, Iraqis continue to prepare for the
elections and to campaign for their candidates. They know what
democracy will mean for their country: a future of peace, stability,
prosperity and justice for themselves and for their children. One
resident of Baghdad said, "This election represents what is possible.
To me, it's the start of a new life."
This election is also important for America. Our nation has always
been more secure when freedom is on the march. As hope and freedom
spread, the appeal of terror and hate will fade. And there is not a
democratic nation in our world that threatens the security of the
United States. The best way to ensure the success of democracy is
through the advance of democracy.
Tomorrow's vote will be the latest step in Iraq's journey to
permanent democracy and freedom. Those elected to the transitional
National Assembly will help appoint a new government that will fully
and fairly represent the diversity of the Iraqi people. This assembly
will also be charged with drafting a permanent constitution that will
be put to a vote of the Iraqi people this fall. If approved, a new
nationwide election will follow in December that will choose a new
government under this constitution.
As democracy takes hold in Iraq, America's mission there will
continue. Our military forces, diplomats and civilian personnel will
help the newly-elected government of Iraq establish security and train
Iraqi military police and other forces. Terrorist violence will not
end with the election. Yet the terrorists will fail, because the Iraqi
people reject their ideology of murder.
Over the past year, the world has seen successful elections in
Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Georgia, Ukraine, and the Palestinian
territories. In countries across the broader Middle East, from Morocco
to Bahrain, governments are enacting new reforms and increasing
participation for their people.
Tomorrow's election will add to the momentum of democracy. One
Iraqi, speaking about the upcoming vote, said, "Now, most people feel
they are living in darkness. It is time for us to come into the
light." Every Iraqi who casts his or her vote deserves the admiration
of the world. And free people everywhere send their best wishes to the
Iraqi people as they move further into the light of liberty.
Thank you for listening.