Donald Rumsfeld's address to the Iraqi people, 30 April 2003

Source: Guardian.co.uk

"Hello, I'm Don Rumsfeld, the American secretary of defence, I am pleased to visit Iraq - your country - to witness your liberation.

"The American people share your joy that tyranny is gone. We have watched you embrace your freedom - pulling down statues of Saddam Hussein, worshipping freely for the first time in decades, debating the future of your country and even raising voices in dissent without fear of torture and death.

"The coalition is committed to helping you as you take control of your country and make the transition from tyranny to freedom and self-government.

"Building a free society isn't easy. It requires hard work and sacrifice. We know this is a difficult time for many of you. Even as you celebrate your new-found freedom you also want to see normalcy restored to your lives.

"You want to return to work so you can earn a living for your families, you want to see schools reopen, electricity restored and water running.

"Each day that goes by, conditions in Iraq are improving. In fact, in a number of parts of the country people already have more food, water and electricity than they had under the old regime. But some do not have these necessities and the coalition is working day and night to help provide them.

"Improvements in life in Iraq depend on finding the remnants of the regime and ensuring the Ba'ath party's influence is removed. The coalition has taken into custody a number of senior leaders from Saddam Hussein's regime. In almost every case, it was with the help of the Iraqi people. We need your help to capture the rest of them. We also need to get rid of foreign fighters, those from neighbouring countries who are seeking to hijack your country for their own purposes.

"Please help remove this threat by approaching coalition forces with any information you may have about the activities and whereabouts of any foreign fighters in your area.

"We shared a common objective in the removal of Saddam Hussein and we share common objectives for a new Iraq: - a free country where Iraq's leaders answer to the Iraqi people instead of murdering the Iraqi people - where the country's wealth is used to benefit the people, not to line the pockets of a cruel dictator - where Iraqi children can play and study and learn and grow and not worry whether they or their parents will be suddenly taken away by death squads.

"Back home in America I have three children and six grandchildren - the youngest is just one year old. I want the same things for them that each of you want for your children and grandchildren - safety, security and a just society where they have freedom to pursue their dreams.

"We are committed to helping you as you build a new Iraq where they will have those opportunities. Let me be clear: Iraq belongs to you. We do not want to run it. Our coalition came to Iraq for a purpose - to remove a regime that oppressed your people and threatened ours.

"Our goal is to restore stability and security so that you can form an interim government and eventually a free Iraqi government - a government of your choosing, a government that is of Iraqi design and Iraqi choice.

"We will stay as long as necessary to help you do that, and not a day longer.

"Thank you for listening."

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Last modified: Fri May 9 18:57:57 CDT 2003