Iraqi President Jalal Talabani:
There is no more important international issue today than the need to defeat the curse of terrorism. And as the first democratically elected president of Iraq, I have a responsibility to ensure that the world's youngest democracy survives the inherently difficult transition from totalitarianism to pluralism. A transformation of the Iraqi state and Iraqi society is impossible without a sustained commitment of soldiers from the United States and other democracies.
To understand why, let us recall how we reached this juncture in history. How is it that Iraq today has a democratically elected head of state, government and Parliament? How it is that members of the most repressed ethnic groups now hold the highest offices of state? All these welcome developments are a result of the courage and vision of President Bush and his allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, leaders whose commitment of troops to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions liberated Iraq.
Without foreign intervention, the transition in Iraq would have been from Saddam's bloodstained hands to his psychopathic offspring. Instead, thanks to American leadership, Iraqis have been given an opportunity of peaceful, participatory politics. Contrary to the new conventional wisdom, Iraq and the history of 20th-century Europe demonstrate that force of arms can implant democracy in the most arid soil.
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