Iraq's Liberation Brings Better Lives and New Hopes

Article excerpt

Justification of the invasion and liberation of Iraq is argued. Iraqis now lead better, freer fives with new hope; the world is a safer place; there is a prospect of a Middle East transformed by free institutions and open societies. The United Nations and its member states are urged to play active roles in combating global terrorism, rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan, stopping the proliferation of weapons of the mass destruction, and stamping out sexual slavery that victimizes girls as young as age five. Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 23, 2003.

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Twenty-four months ago--and yesterday in the memory of America--the center of New York City became a battlefield and a graveyard and the symbol of an unfinished war. Since that day, terrorists have struck in Bali, in Mombasa, in Casablanca, in Riyadh, in Jakarta, in Jerusalem--measuring the advance of their cause in the chaos and innocent suffering they leave behind.

Last month, terrorists brought their war to the United Nations itself.

The UN headquarters in Baghdad stood for order and compassion, and for that reason the terrorists decided it must be destroyed.

Among the 22 people who were murdered was Sergio Vieira de Mello. Over the decades, this good and brave man from Brazil gave help to the afflicted in Bangladesh, Cyprus, Mozambique, Lebanon, Cambodia, Central Africa, Kosovo and East Timor, and was aiding the people of Iraq in their time of need. America joins you, his colleagues, in honoring the memory of Senor Vieira Mello and the memory of all who died with him in the service to the United Nations.

By the victims they choose and by the means they use, the terrorists have clarified the struggle we are in. Those who target relief workers for death have set themselves against all humanity. Those who incite murder and celebrate suicide reveal their contempt for life itself. They have no place in any religious faith, they have no claim on the world's sympathy, and they should have no friend in this chamber.

Events during the past two years have set before us the clearest of divides: between those who seek order and those who spread chaos; between those who work for peaceful change and those who adopt the methods of gangsters; between those who honor the rights of man and those who deliberately take the lives of men and women and children without mercy or shame.

Between these alternatives there is no neutral ground. All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization. No government should ignore the threat of terror, because to look the other way gives terrorists the chance to regroup and recruit and prepare. And all nations that fight terror as if the lives of their own people depend on it will earn the favorable judgment of history.

The former regimes of Afghanistan and Iraq knew these alternatives and made their choices.

The Taliban was a sponsor and servant of terrorism. When confronted, that regime chose defiance, and that regime is no more.

Afghanistan's president, who is here today, now represents a free people who are building a decent and just society. They're building a nation fully joined in the war against terror.

The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder and refused to account for them when confronted by the world.

The Security Council was right to be alarmed. The Security Council was right to demand that Iraq destroy its illegal weapons and prove that it had done so.

The Security Council was right to vow serious consequences if Iraq refused to comply. And because there were consequences, because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace and the credibility of the United Nations, Iraq is free. And today we are joined by representatives of a liberated country. …