George Bush: The day Safia Taleb al-Suhail was finally able to vote

From the State of the Union address, delivered to Congress by the United States President, in Washington DC

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One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country: "We were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you to the American people who paid the cost, but most of all, to the soldiers." Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country - and we are honoured that she is with us tonight.

One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country: "We were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you to the American people who paid the cost, but most of all, to the soldiers." Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country - and we are honoured that she is with us tonight.

The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy, and will continue to attack it. Yet, the terrorists' most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people.We will succeed in Iraq because Iraqis are determined to fight for their own freedom.

Recently an Iraqi interpreter said to a reporter: "Tell America not to abandon us." He and all Iraqis can be certain: while our military strategy is adapting to circumstances, our commitment remains firm and unchanging. We are standing for the freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come.

We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: a country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbours, and able to defend itself. And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honour they have earned.

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