The milestone that occurred Saturday April 22 in Iraq received only brief coverage, but President Bush knew what it meant and gave a speech acknowledging the parliamentary action that named the new prime minister, Jawad al—Maliki, and other top leaders for a national unity government.
Like those other politicians, al—Maliki has spent time in Saddam's jails. During the session the new speaker of parliament gave a speech, whose main points were summarized at Iraq the Model. The national unity government will not allow sectarianism to destroy the country. No group will be marginalized. The constitution will be the basis for national governance. Loyalty to the nation will be the basis for building and reforming the military.
Here is an excerpt from Pres. Bush's speech:
"Iraq's new leaders have important responsibilities to the people who chose them. The new government has a responsibility to deploy the growing strength of the Iraqi security forces to defeat the terrorists and insurgents and establish control over the militias. The government has the responsibility to rebuild infrastructure that makes commerce possible and that supports the education and health needs of the Iraqi people. The government must strengthen the economy and encourage job creation and enforce the rule of law. The new government must ensure that improvements in prosperity and security occur throughout the country, so that all Iraqis share in the benefits of their new democracy.
These are major challenges, and the new Iraqi government will not face them alone. America is helping Iraq's young democracy move forward. Iraqis and Americans are fighting side—by—side against a common enemy. We're going to defeat the terrorists in Iraq. We will deny them safe haven. And a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will be a powerful blow to the terrorists and a beacon of liberty for people across that region.
Formation of a new Iraqi government is an opportunity for America to open a new chapter in our partnership with the Iraqi people. The United States and our coalition partners will work with the new Iraqi government to reassess our tactics, adjust our methods, and strengthen our mutual efforts to achieve victory in this central front in the war on terror.
The new Iraqi government will assume growing responsibility for their nation's security. And as more Iraqi forces stand up, American forces will stand down. I want to thank all the brave Americans, both in our military and the diplomatic corps, who have served the cause of freedom in Iraq over the past three years. I thank their families who have sacrificed time with loved ones serving far from home. I want to thank our wounded servicemen and women, who have given so much to make this moment possible. And our nation remembers the fallen heroes who gave their lives to bring liberty to Iraq and security to America. And we will honor their sacrifice by completing this mission.
There's going to be more tough fighting ahead in Iraq, and there will be more days of sacrifice and struggle. Yet the enemies of freedom have suffered a real blow today. And we've taken a great stride on the march to victory. The Iraqi people have defied the terrorist threats, Iraqi soldiers and police have fought with valor for the freedom of their country, and Iraqi leaders have laid the foundations for a democratic government of, by, and for the Iraqi people."
John B. Dwyer 4 23 06