AMBASSADOR L. PAUL BREMER, III
HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
SEPTEMBER 25, 2003
Chairman and members of the Committee, thank
you for this opportunity to discuss the
President's supplemental request.
begin, I want to pay tribute to the men and
women of our armed services. Leading a
coalition, our armed forces delivered a
military victory without precedent.
roughly three weeks they liberated a country
larger than Germany and Italy combined. And
they did so with forces smaller than the
Army of the Potomac.
armed forces accomplished all this while
absorbing and inflicting minimal
casualties. Iraqis understood that we tried
to spare the innocent.
Chairman, I know that you and all Americans
hate waking up to hear a newscast that
begins, "Last night another American solider
was killed in Iraq." I am among the first
to know of those deaths and no one regrets
them more than I do.
these deaths, painful as they are, are not
senseless. They are part of the price we
pay for civilization, for a world that
refuses to tolerate terrorism and genocide
and weapons of mass destruction.
who ambush Coalition forces, who set the
truck bombs, are trying to thwart
constitutional and democratic government in
Iraq. They will win some battles, but they
are going to lose their war with history.
President Bush's vision provides for an Iraq
made secure through the efforts of Iraqis.
It provides for an Iraqi economy based on
sound economic principles and bolstered by a
reliable infrastructure. And finally, the
President's plan provides for a democratic
and sovereign Iraq at the earliest
fail to recreate Iraq as a sovereign
democracy sustained by a solid economy we
will have handed the terrorists a gift.
deny terrorists them the gift of state
sponsorship, which they enjoyed under
Saddam, and must deny them the chaos such as
they thrived in during the 1980s in Lebanon.
creating a sovereign, democratic,
constitutional and prosperous Iraq deals a
blow to terrorists. It gives the lie to
those who describe us as enemies of Islam,
enemies of the Arabs and enemies of the
why the President's request has to be seen
as an important element in the global war on
national experience teaches us how to
consolidate a military victory.
not have that experience we emerged
victorious from World War I. Many had
opposed the war and wanted to solve problems
at home. We won the war and did not
consolidate the peace.
what happened. Extremism, bred in a swamp
of despair, bankruptcy and unpayable debts,
gave the world Fascism in Italy and Nazism
in Germany-and another World War.
that conflict we showed we had learned that
military victory must be followed by a
program to secure the peace.
the greatest generation responded with the
boldest, most generous and most productive
act of statesmanship in the past century-the
Secretary of State George C. Marshall first
described the Marshall plan he laid out some
truths that resonate today.
purpose," Marshall said, "should be the
revival of a working economy. so as to
permit the emergence of political and social
conditions in which free institutions can
Marshall Plan, enacted with overwhelming
bipartisan support, set war-torn Europe on
the path to the freedom and prosperity which
Europeans enjoy today. After a thousand
years as a cockpit of war Europe became a
cradle of peace in just two generations.
grants to Iraq the President seeks bespeak
grandeur of vision equal to the one which
created the free world at the end of World
Iraqis living in freedom with dignity will
set an example in this troubled region which
so often spawns terrorists. A stable
peaceful economically productive Iraq will
serve American interests by making America
are some things I would like to point out
about this supplemental request:
We have a definite plan
with milestones and dates.
No one part of the
supplemental is dispensable and no part is
more important than the others.
This is urgent. The
urgency of military operations is
self-evident. The funds for non-military
action in Iraq are equally urgent. Most
Iraqis welcomed us as liberators. Now the
reality of foreign troops on the streets
is starting to chafe. Some Iraqis are
beginning to regard us as occupiers and
not as liberators. Some of this is
inevitable, but faster progress on
reconstruction will help.
The link to the safety of our
troops is indirect, but real. The people
who ambush our troops are small in number
and do not do so because they have
undependable electric supplies. However,
the population's view of us is directly
linked to their cooperation in hunting down
those who attack us. Earlier progress gives
us an edge against the terrorists.
This money will be spent
with prudent transparency. Every contract
of the $20 billion for Iraq will be
It is essential that the
money come as a grant and not a loan.
Initially, offering assistance as loans
seems attractive. But once again we must
examine the facts and the historical
record. Iraq has almost $200 billion in
debt and reparations hanging over it as a
result of Saddam's economic incompetence
and aggressive wars. They cannot pay what
they owe now, much less take on more debt.
President's first priority is security and
he has a three-element plan.
border enforcement, fire and a
communications system to link them.
National defense-a new army
and civil defense system.
Justice system-courts and
security assistance to Iraq benefits the
United States in four ways.
Iraqis will be more effective. As talented
and courageous as the Coalition forces are,
they can never replace an Iraqi policeman
who knows his beat, who knows his people,
their customs, rhythms and language. Iraqis
want Iraqis providing their security and so
as these Iraqi security forces assume their
duties, they replace Coalition troops in the
roles that generate frustration, friction
and resentment-conducting searches, manning
check points, guarding installations.
this frees up Coalition forces for the
mobile, sophisticated offensive operations
against former regime loyalists and
terrorists for which they are best suited.
these new Iraqi forces reduce the overall
security demands on Coalition forces and
speed the day when we can bring troops home.
is indispensable, but by itself is
insufficient and cannot endure.
security system cannot persist on the knife
edge of economic collapse. Saddam left
behind an economy ruined not by our attacks
but by decades of neglect, theft and
mismanagement-he never once prepared a
Iraqis must refashion their economy from the
Soviet-style, command economy Saddam left
them. That poor model was further hobbled
by cronyism, theft and pharonic
self-indulgence by Saddam and his intimates.
Important changes have already begun.
Iraqi Minister of Finance on Sunday
announced a set of market-oriented policies
that is among the world's boldest.
A new Central Bank law
which grants the Iraqi Central Bank full
Foreign firms may open
wholly owned companies, including banks,
or buy them. Foreign firms receive
national treatment and have an
unrestricted right to remit profits and
Tariff policy is simple.
There is a two-year "reconstruction
tariff" of five percent on most imports
and the rest come in with no tariff.
On October 15, Iraq will
get a new currency, the New Dinar, which
will float against the world's currencies.
Iraqi Government has put in place these
legal procedures for encouraging a vibrant
private sector. But those policies will
come to nothing if they do not rest on a
sound infrastructure in a reasonable
have made significant progress restoring
these essential services. The widely
predicted humanitarian crisis did not
occur. There was no major flow of
refugees. All of Iraq's 240 hospitals and
90 percent of its health clinics are open.
There is adequate food and there is no
evidence of epidemic. We have cleared
thousands of miles of irrigation canals so
that farmers in these areas have more water
than they have had for a generation.
Electrical service will reach pre-war levels
within a month.
However, the remaining demands are vast,
which is why most of the President's request
for non-military assistance is for
another front there is already good news.
The democratization of Iraq, on which so
much global attention is focused, is further
advanced than many realize.
Encouraging a quick political
transformation, we have laid out a clear,
seven-step process leading to sovereignty.
Three of the seven necessary steps have been
1. An Iraqi Governing
Council was appointed in July.
August the Governing Council named a
Preparatory Committee to recommend a
mechanism for writing Iraq's new, permanent
this month the Governing Council appointed
ministers to run the day-to-day affairs of
fourth step, writing a constitution, frames
all that follows. The constitution will be
written by Iraqis.
constitution will be ratified by popular
vote of the entire adult population.
the constitution is ratified, elections for
a new government will be held.
final step will come after elections, when
we transfer sovereignty from the Coalition
to the new government.
including members of the Iraqi Governing
Council, suggest we should give full
sovereignty to an Iraqi government
immediately or very soon.
firmly believe that such haste would be a
appointed government, even one as honest and
dedicated as the Iraqi Governing Council,
can have the legitimacy necessary to take on
the difficult issues Iraqis face as they
write their constitution and elect a
only path to full Iraqi sovereignty is
through a written constitution, ratified and
followed by free, democratic elections.
Shortcutting the process would be dangerous.
you examine the President's plan I am sure
you will see that every part depends on
every other part.
need to protect the Coalition and the
populace alike against terrorists and common
criminals is obvious and indispensable.
United States must take the lead in
restoring Iraq as a friend and democratic
model. There is a donor conference in
Madrid in late October. We must set the
example for other nations of goodwill and
work with them to avoid the near anarchy in
which terrorists will feel right at home.
we launched military operations against Iraq
we assumed a great responsibility that
extends beyond defeating Saddam's military.
after coming this far, we turn our backs and
let Iraq lapse into factional chaos, we will
have sewn the dragon's teeth which will
sprout more terrorists and eventually cost
more American lives. Make no mistake.
These requested funds represent an
investment in America's national security.
think I exaggerate. I ask you to look at
what happened in Afghanistan, another
country which, after it was debilitated by
decades of war and mismanagement became easy
prey for the Taliban and al Qaida.
reconstruction of Iraq may seem distant from
American concerns today. Eight time zones
and two continents separate the East Coast
of the United States from Iraq. The West
Coast is effectively half a world away.
only seems far away. Today Iraq is a focal
point in our global war on terrorism.
Failure there would strengthen the
terrorists morally and materially.
of this requires the help of Congress.
Chairman and members of the committee we
respectfully ask Congress to honor the
President's supplemental request, which
responds to urgent requirements in order to
achieve the vision of a sovereign, stable,
prosperous and democratic Iraq at peace with
us and with the world.
Chairman, I welcome your questions.