27 October 2003
U.S. Will Not Be Intimidated by Terrorist Attacks in Baghdad
Bush, Powell pledge continued support for Iraq reconstruction
By Wendy S. Ross
Washington File White House Correspondent
Washington -- The United States will not be intimidated by the terrorist attacks in Baghdad against the Al Rasheed Hotel, the International Red Cross headquarters, and three police stations that killed dozens of people, the Bush administration emphasized October 27.
President Bush described the attacks as "desperate" moves by "cold blooded killers" who oppose movement toward a new democratic way of life in Iraq.
"There are terrorists in Iraq who are willing to kill anybody in order to stop our progress. The more successful we are on the ground, the more these killers will react. And our job is to find them and bring them to justice," Bush told reporters.
"And the best way to find them is to work with the Iraqi people to ferret them out and go get them," he said.
"[T]he more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They love terror. They love to try to create fear and chaos. And what we're determined in this administration is not to be intimidated by these killers. As a matter of fact, we're even more determined to work with the Iraqi people to create the conditions of freedom and peace, because it's in our national interest we do so.
"It's in the interest of long-term peace in the world that we work for a free and secure and peaceful Iraq. A free and secure Iraq in the midst of the Middle East will have enormous historical impact."
He spoke after L. Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and General John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, briefed Bush in the Oval Office on the situation in Iraq.
Also attending the briefing were Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Council Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Richard B. Myers.
White House officials said the briefing had been scheduled prior to the latest attacks.
Later in the day, at his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said "[W]e will not be intimidated, we will stay the course, and we will prevail in this central front on the war on terrorism, because the world has a stake in seeing a peaceful, free and democratic and prosperous Iraq emerge. It will serve as an example for the rest of the Middle East."
"[T]he more progress we make, the more desperate these killers become. And that's what these people are -- these are cold-blooded killers that are enemies of freedom, they hate peace and freedom, and they're enemies of the Iraqi people. We will continue to work with the coalition to bring these individuals to justice. And that's why our military will stay on the offensive," McClellan said.
"[T]hese enemies of the Iraqi people will not succeed. These enemies of freedom and peace will not succeed," he emphasized.
And State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher opened his daily briefing by reading a statement from Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"I condemn the series of terrorist bombings today in Baghdad, in Iraq, that left at least 34 people dead and more than 200 injured. The vast majority of the victims are Iraqi innocent civilians," Powell said.
"I extend my deepest condolences to the families of the victims and our hopes of a quick recovery to those who are injured. I also want to extend my deepest condolences to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Baghdad and the international relief organizations that have been targeted in Baghdad.
"American officials in Iraq will work closely with Iraqi security officials, the Governing Council and the international relief organizations to determine who committed this terrible attack and bring them to justice as quickly as possible. These bombings were attacks on the Iraqi people and on their hopes for a better, prosperous and democratic future. They will not deter us from helping the Iraqi people make their vision of a new Iraq a reality," Powell said.
Boucher said "unfortunately and very sadly," as progress is made in certain areas, there are people trying to disrupt that progress.
"[A]s things start to settle down, as NGOs [nongovernmental organizations] start to open up and work, as Iraqis start to go to work in various ministries and police stations, there seems to be an element that's trying to disrupt that process of normalcy, there seems to be a pattern of people trying to destroy the progress that's being made," he said.
Asked about security concerns for NGOs and others, Boucher pointed out that large parts of Iraq are safe to operate in. "There are large parts of the country where work does go ahead," he said. "And then there are areas around Baghdad and up to Tikrit, the so-called Sunni triangle, where there are still dangers. And so, in different parts of the country, the contractors, the NGOs, the humanitarian workers will operate somewhat differently. But, yes, they need to take into account security, do whatever they can wherever they can," he said.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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