September 20, 2003


'As Long as It Takes' Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government. (COLIN POWELL, September 19, 2003, Wall Street Journal)

I have just returned from Iraq. What I saw there convinced me, more than ever, that our liberation of Iraq was in the best interests of the Iraqi people, the American people and the world. [...]

Streets are lined with shops selling newspapers and books with opinions of every stripe. Schools and universities are open, teaching young Iraqis the skills to live in freedom and compete in our globalizing world. Parents are forming PTAs to support these schools, and to make sure that
they have a voice in their children's future. The hospitals are operating, and 95% of the health clinics are open to provide critical medical services to Iraqis of all ages.

Most important of all, Iraqis are on the road to democratic self-government. All the major cities and over 85% of the towns have councils. In Baghdad, I attended a city council meeting that was remarkable for its normalcy. I saw its members spend their time talking about what most city councils are concerned with--jobs, education and the environment. At the national level I
met with an Iraqi Governing Council that has appointed ministers and is taking responsibility for national policy. In fact, while I was there, the new minister of justice announced the legal framework for a truly independent judiciary.

The Governing Council has appointed a central bank governor who will be in charge of introducing Iraq's new, unified currency next month. It also recently endorsed new tariffs and is now discussing world-class reforms to open the country to productive foreign investment. Now, the Governing Council is turning its attention to the process for drawing up a democratic constitution for a democratic Iraq.

I was truly moved when I met with my counterpart, Hoshyar Zebari, free Iraq's first foreign minister. He will soon be off to New York as part of the Iraqi delegation to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

Iraq has come very far, but serious problems remain, starting with security. [...]

How long will we stay in Iraq? We will stay as long as it takes to turn full responsibility for governing Iraq over to a capable and democratically elected Iraqi administration. Only a government elected under a democratic constitution can take full responsibility and enjoy full legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the world.

Boy, you can't tell the hard-headed realists from the starry-eyed neocons in this administration without a program.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 20, 2003 7:13 AM

Mr. Judd;

Sounds like Powell just got his anti-Idiotarian treatment refreshed by his boss. But watch, he'll drift off into State Department Land within a few months.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 20, 2003 4:47 PM

We can hope that the past year of dealing with diplomats has brought out the soldier in Colin Powell. Maybe the State Dept. will have to change to suit him, instead of the other way around. Of course, that is a big hope.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 20, 2003 7:58 PM

Wouldn't it be that since diplomacy is kind
of like a game how one acts and behaves in playing
the game is not directly correlated to what one
actual hopes to achieve? I don't think Powell's
cards are all on the table.

Posted by: J.H. at September 22, 2003 9:46 AM