Good morning. Friday of this week was the 100th day since the end of major
combat operations in Iraq. For America and our coalition partners, these have
been 100 days of steady progress and decisive action against the last hold-outs
of the former regime. And for the people of Iraq, this has been a period like
none other in the country's history, a time of change and rising hopes after
decades of tyranny.
Every day we are working to make Iraq more secure. Coalition forces remain
on the offensive against the Baath Party loyalists and foreign terrorists
who are trying to prevent order and stability. More and more Iraqis are coming
forward with specific information as to the whereabouts of these violent
thugs, enabling us to carry out raids to round them up and seize stockpiles
We are working with Iraqis to establish a new Iraqi army and a new civil
defense corps. In the city of Baghdad, 6,000 Iraqi police are patrolling
the streets and protecting citizens. More than 20,000 more police are on
duty in other towns and cities across Iraq.
Every day, Iraq is making progress in rebuilding its economy. In Baghdad,
the banks have opened, and other banks will open across the country in the
coming months. This fall, new bank notes will be issued, replacing the old
ones bearing the former dictator's image. And Iraq's energy industry is once
again serving the interests of the Iraqi people. More than a million barrels
of crude oil and over 2 million gallons of gasoline are being produced daily.
Every day, Iraq draws closer to the free and functioning society its people
were long denied. We're recovering hundreds of millions of dollars from the
old regime and are using those funds to pay civil servants. Teachers, health
care workers, police and others performing essential services are also receiving
salaries from our coalition. In fact, teacher pay is four times higher than
under the old regime.
Life is returning to normal for the Iraqi people -- hospitals and universities
have opened, and in many places, water and other utility services are reaching
pre-war levels. Across Iraq, nearly all schoolchildren have completed their
exams. And for the first time in many years, a free press is at work in Iraq.
Across that country today, more than 150 newspapers are publishing regularly.
Most important of all, the Iraqi people are taking daily steps toward democratic
government. The Iraqi Governing Council, whose 25 members represent all of
that diverse country, is meeting regularly, naming ministers and drawing
up a budget for the country. Soon, representatives of the people will begin
drafting a new constitution and free elections will follow.
At the local level, all major Iraqi cities and most towns have municipal
councils. Freedom is taking hold in that country, as people gain confidence
that the former regime is never coming back.
One hundred days is not enough time to undue the terrible legacy of Saddam
Hussein. There is difficult and dangerous work ahead that requires time and
patience. Yet, all Americans can be proud of what our military and provisional
authorities have achieved in Iraq.
Our country and the nations of the Middle East are now safer. We're keeping
our word to the Iraqi people by helping them to make their country an example
of democracy and prosperity throughout the region. This long-term undertaking
is vital to peace in that region and to the security of the United States.
Our coalition and the people of Iraq have made remarkable progress in a short
time, and we will complete the great work we have begun.