The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 29, 2006

Fact Sheet: Strategy for Victory: Freedom in Iraq

     Fact sheet In Focus: Renewal in Iraq

On March 29, 2006, President Bush Delivered Remarks At Freedom House And Discussed Critical Aspects Of Our Mission In Iraq. The President discussed the stakes in Iraq, our efforts to help the Iraqi people overcome past divisions and form a lasting democracy - and why it is vital to the security of the American people that we help them succeed. Free societies are peaceful societies, and the only path to lasting peace is the expansion of freedom and democracy.

Iraqis Are Working To Overcome Past Divisions

Today, Iraqis Are Working To Resolve Tensions And Divisions That Saddam Hussein Aggravated Through Ethnic Cleansing And Sectarian Violence. The argument that Iraq was "stable" under Saddam - and stability is now in danger because we removed him - is wrong. While liberation has brought its own challenges, Saddam's removal from power was the necessary first step in restoring stability and freedom to Iraqis.

To Prevent Iraq's Different Groups From Coming Together To Challenge His Regime, Saddam Undertook A Deliberate Strategy Of Maintaining Power By Dividing The Iraqi People. He brutally repressed different Iraqi communities and pitted them against one another. By displacing communities and dividing Iraqis, Saddam sought to establish himself as the only force that could hold the country together.

We Know Iraqis Can Live Together Peacefully. Iraq is a nation with many ethnic, religious, sectarian, regional, and tribal divisions - and before Saddam, Iraqis from different communities managed to live together. Even today, many Iraqi tribes have both Sunni and Shia branches, and in many small towns with mixed populations, there is often only one mosque, where Sunnis and Shia worship together. Intermarriage is common, with mixed families that include Arabs, Kurds, Sunnis, Shia, Turkmen, Assyrians, and Caldeans.

The Obstacles To Democracy Are Being Overcome

To Foment Sectarian Division, The Enemy Is Employing Saddam's Tactics - Killing And Terrorizing The Iraqi People.

The Free Citizens Of A Free Iraq Are Calling Saddam Hussein To Account. The former dictator is answering to a judge instead of meting out arbitrary justice - and Iraqis are replacing the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law.

Victory In Iraq Is Critical To American Security

Our Work In Iraq Is Difficult But Vital To Our Security. The terrorists know that when freedom sets root in Iraq, it will be a mortal blow to their aspirations to dominate the region and advance their hateful vision. They are determined to stop the advance of freedom in Iraq, and we must be equally determined to stop them.

If We Leave Iraq Before The Iraqi People Are Capable Of Defending Their Own Democracy, The Terrorists Will Win. The Iraqi government is still in transition, and Iraqi Security Forces are still gathering capacity. If we leave Iraq before they are capable of defending their own democracy, the terrorists will achieve their stated goal: they will turn Iraq into a safe haven, seek to arm themselves with weapons of mass murder, and use Iraq as a base to overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East and launch more attacks against America and other free nations.

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