Over To You, Insurgents........

New Iraqi President Jala Talabani:-

MY door will always be open to those who genuinely renounce violence and seek peaceful accommodation into our nascent democracy. That is why I [have] proposed an amnesty for those who have been led astray by terrorism.

But while the new Iraq is open to all, there must be no underestimating our determination to vanquish terrorism. Conciliation is not capitulation, nor is compromise to be deemed equivalent to imbalanced concession. Rather, it is through conciliation and compromise that we are building a fair Iraq, a just state for all its people. Democracies, unlike dictatorships, are forgiving and generous, but they cannot survive unless they fight. And fight we shall.

The choice of peace or war lies not with the Iraqis who ignored terrorism and intimidation to vote in their millions, the Iraqis to whom I am accountable.

No, that decision lies with the terrorist minority that despises freedom and spurns every offered opportunity to enter the political process. The attacks on election officials, the suicide bombings of voters and the cowardly attacks on brave Iraqis waiting in line to join our fledgling security forces are not the tactics of resistance or freedom fighters but of murderers and criminals. Nor are the terrorists by any stretch of the imagination the repressed or the disadvantaged.

They chose violence despite consistent exhortations to contribute to the new Iraq. They are, for the most part, representatives of the old regime, Baathists who gorged themselves on their compatriots' riches. They are not the dispossessed of the earth but those who have been deprived of their palaces ... Our gratitude to the American people is immense and we should never be embarrassed to express it. Time and again the US has given the world its most precious resource in the cause of freedom, the lives of its most talented and courageous young men and women.

Now the time has come for the rest of the world to recognise that a federal, democratic Iraq that can defend itself against terrorism is a goal worthy of broad international support. The victory of the new Iraq will be the triumph of freedom over hate, of decency over intolerance. Who would not want to share in such a worthy campaign?

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