WASHINGTON April 10 —
President Bush, launching a sweeping media campaign in war-torn
Iraq, said in a televised address Thursday, "Your nation will soon
be free." British ally Tony Blair assured Iraqis that coalition
soldiers are "friends and liberators, not your conquerors."
The remarks were being beamed throughout Iraq from a U.S. C-130
Hercules aircraft. Using air- and ground-based transmitting
facilities, the United States will broadcast five hours of
programming five days a week on the same channels on which Iraqis
have received state television programs.
The new programming will come from the U.S. and British military,
as well as rebroadcasts from independent news outlets in both
countries, the White House said.
In addition, the coalition also will publish a newspaper in
southern Iraq, starting Saturday with an initial circulation of
10,000, the White House said.
Bush and Blair taped their remarks Tuesday during a war summit in
"Our only enemy is Saddam's brutal regime and that regime is your
enemy as well," Bush said.
Blair, in his message for the new station called "Towards
Freedom," told Iraqis that the United States and Britain had not
"But in refusing to give up his weapons of mass destruction,
Saddam gave us no choice but to act. Now that the war has begun, it
will be seen through to the end," the prime minister said.
The broadcast was part of a campaign to convince Iraqis and the
rest of the Arab world that U.S. troops are not a hostile invasion
force. There is still widespread opposition to the war throughout
much of the world.
"The goals of our coalition are clear and limited," Bush said. He
said they included, ending Saddam's regime, ridding the nation of
weapons of mass destruction, providing security, respecting
religious traditions, building a representative government and
creating a sovereign nation.
"The nightmare that Saddam Hussein has brought to your nation
will soon be over," the president said in a two-and-a-half minute
address produced with Arabic subtitles. It was the first public word
from Bush since jubiliant Iraqis welcomed the collapse of Saddam's
government in Baghdad. "You deserve to live as free people. And I
assure every citizen of Iraq: Your nation will soon be free."
The Bush-Blair addresses came a day after Baghdad fell into
coalition hands and much of Iraq was being overtaken by British and
The two leaders sought to assure there would be no repeat of
1991, when Saddam crushed a popular uprising after the Persian Gulf
War was stopped by Bush's father, then-President George Bush.
"This regime will be gone and ended," Blair said. He also said
Iraqi oil, which made Saddam "one of the richest men in the world,"
will now help Iraqis prosper.
While keeping a close eye on progress in Iraq, the president also
was turning attention to his economic agenda and hopes for a
free-trade pact between the United States and five Central American
The negotiations for yet another tariff-lowering agreement, begun
in January and expected to wrap up by the end of the year, were to
dominate a session Thursday in which Bush was welcoming the leaders
of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to the
Bush advisers have sought to portray the president as engaged on
domestic issues particularly the sputtering economy that has
Americans concerned about their financial future despite a heavy
focus on the war and planning for an interim Iraqi government after
Bush, a staunch believer in free markets, has aggressively
pursued deals to lift trade barriers as he seeks to nudge the
economy into better shape.
In addition to the pending pact in Central America, the White
House wants to complete negotiations with Morocco this year and with
Australia and five countries in Southern Africa in 2004. Deals were
recently inked with Chile and Singapore. The idea is to push ahead
on these several smaller fronts and create momentum for bigger
The administration is currently involved in 34-nation talks to
create the world's largest free trade zone, covering the Western
Hemisphere, and global trade talks involving the 144 nations that
are members of the World Trade Organization.
|President Bush, seen in this
image from video, in remarks televised throughout Iraq
Thursday, April 10, 2003, tells citizens of the war-torn
nation "at this moment, the regime of Saddam Hussein is being
removed from power." The remarks were recorded Tuesday in
Northern Ireland where Bush was met with Britain's Prime
Minister Tony Blair. (AP
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