As we approach the end of the year I think it is important to share a few thoughts about what you've accomplished directly, in some cases, and indirectly in many others. I am speaking about what each of you has contributed by wearing the uniform, because the fact that you wear the uniform contributes 100% to the capability of the nation to send a few onto the field to execute national policy. As you read about these achievements you are a part of I would call your attention to two things:
1. This is news that hasn't been fit to print or report on TV.
2. It is much easier to point out the errors a man makes when he makes the tough decisions, rarely is the positive as aggressively pursued.
Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1...
.. the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty.
.. over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.
.. nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.
.. the Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.
.. on Monday, October 6 power generation hit 4,518 megawatts-exceeding the prewar average.
.. all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.
.. by October 1, Coalition forces had rehab-ed over 1,500 schools - 500 more than scheduled.
.. teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.
.. all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.
.. doctors salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.
.. pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.
.. the Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccinations to Iraq's children.
.. a Coalition program has cleared over 14,000 kilometers of Iraq's 27,000 kilometers of weed-choked canals which now irrigate tens of thousands of farms. This project has created jobs for more than 100,000 Iraqi men and women.
.. we have restored over three-quarters of prewar telephone services and over two-thirds of the potable water production.
.. there are 4,900 full-service telephone connections. We expect 50,000 by year-end.
.. the wheels of commerce are turning. From bicycles to satellite dishes to cars and trucks, businesses are coming to life in all major cities and towns.
.. 95 percent of all prewar bank customers have service and first-time customers are opening accounts daily.
.. Iraqi banks are making loans to finance businesses.
.. the central bank is fully independent.
.. Iraq has one of the worlds most growth-oriented investment and banking laws.
.. Iraq has a single, unified currency for the first time in 15 years.
.. satellite TV dishes are legal.
.. foreign journalists aren't on 10-day visas paying mandatory and extortionate fees to the Ministry of Information for "minders" and other government spies.
.. there is no Ministry of Information.
.. there are more than 170 newspapers.
.. you can buy satellite dishes on what seems like every street corner.
.. foreign journalists (and everyone else) are free to come and go.
.. a nation that had not one single element - legislative, judicial or executive - of a representative government, now does.
.. in Baghdad alone residents have selected 88 advisory councils.
..Baghdad's first democratic transfer of power in 35 years happened when the city council elected its new chairman.
.. today in Iraq chambers of commerce, business, school and professional organizations are electing their leaders all over the country.
.. 25 ministers, selected by the most representative governing body in Iraq's history, run the day-to-day business of government.
.. the Iraqi government regularly participates in international events.
..since July the Iraqi government has been represented in over two dozen international meetings, including those of the UN General Assembly, the Arab League, the World Bank and IMF and, today, the Islamic Conference Summit.
..the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced that it is reopening over 30 Iraqi embassies around the world.
.. Shia religious festivals that were all but banned, aren't.
.. for the first time in 35 years, in Karbala thousands of Shiites celebrate the pilgrimage of the 12th Imam.
.. the Coalition has completed over 13,000 reconstruction projects, large and small, as part of a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Iraq.
.. Uday and Queasy are dead - and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.
.. children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government.
.. political opponents aren't imprisoned, tortured, executed, maimed, or are forced to watch their families die for disagreeing with Saddam.
.. millions of long suffering Iraqis no longer live in perpetual terror.
.. Saudis will hold municipal elections.
.. Qatar is reforming education to give more choices to parents.
.. Jordan is accelerating market economic reforms.
.. the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the first time to an Iranian -- a Muslim woman who speaks out with courage for human rights, for democracy and for peace.
.. Saddam is gone.
.. Iraq is free.
Yet, little or none of this information has been published by the Press corps that prides itself on bringing you all the news that's important.
Iraq under US lead control has come further in six months than Germany did in seven years or Japan did in nine years following WWII. Military deaths from fanatic Nazi's, and Japanese numbered in the thousands and continued for over three years after WWII victory was declared.
..it took the US over four months to clear away the twin tower debris, let alone attempt to build something else in its place.
..now, take into account that Congress fought President Bush on every aspect of his handling of this country's war and the post-war reconstruction; and that they continue to claim on a daily basis on national TV that this conflict has been a failure.
These are things worth writing about. Get the word out. Write to someone you think may be able to influence our Congress or the press to tell the story.
Above all, be proud that you are a part of this historical precedent.
God Bless you all. Have a great Holiday.
And just cause it kinda puts things in perspective:
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind. I lost my job this past year. When Clinton was president I was secure and prosperous, but in the last year, we had to close our operations. We simply could not compete with foreign labor. This foreign labor worked for low pay under very bad conditions. They worked very long shifts, and many even died on the job. This competition could hardly be called "fair." I was forced out of the place where I had worked for 34 years. Not a single government program was there to help me. How can Bush call himself compassionate?"
Far worse, I lost two of my sons in Bush's evil war in Iraq. They gave their lives for their country, and for what? So that Bush's oil buddies can get rich.
My pain of losing my sons is indescribable. While it is trivial next to the loss of my sons, I regret to say that I also lost my home. I simply have nothing left.
How can Bush call himself a Christian when he neglects people like me? I am a senior citizen with various medical problems. I'm not in a position where I can begin a new career. I was reduced to the point where I had to live in a hole in a ground, all because of President Bush. And when the authorities found me there, did they have any compassion for my misfortune and ailments? No, I was arrested.
Mr. Bush, I dare you to look me in the face and tell me you are a compassionate man! I dare you to look me in the face and tell me you are a Christian! If I had any money left, I would donate it to the Democrat Party. If Al Gore had been elected in 2000 I would still have a job, a home, and most importantly, my dear sons!