May 24 2004

Graham Reaction to Presidential Address

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Bush’s address to the nation. “I strongly believe the President’s decision to address the nation provides clarity and details regarding the transformation of Iraq. It was extremely helpful and comes at a critical time. “It is now time for Iraqis to become stakeholders in their own future. The President’s efforts to bring that about, beginning June 30th, are sound and will signal the beginning of a new Iraq. America’s blood and treasure will still be required, but the President’s plan spreads the burden and opportunity to a larger group. “The President’s call on the United Nations to play a larger role is appropriate and our key allies in NATO can be extremely supportive of efforts to transform Iraq. The combination of international assistance empowering Iraqis to determine their own future and a continued American presence to provide security is the essence of the President’s plan. If executed properly, it can be a winning combination to secure a peaceful democratic Iraq out of the ashes of a brutal dictatorship. “The President’s transformation plan not only empowers Iraqis to set their own destiny, it requires it. “The Iraqi people must be willing to sacrifice for their own freedom. Without that willingness, efforts to bring democracy to Iraq will fail. Americans know from first-hand experience that to secure and maintain freedom requires constant sacrifice and unwavering resolve. Those are qualities we all hope to see exhibited by a free, democratic Iraq. “The President is right that insurgents and foreign fighters will increase their efforts to destabilize Iraq. Unfortunately, it may get worse before it gets better. The terrorist’s worst nightmare is the ballot box where the Iraqi people can freely express themselves about their future.” ####