RELATING TO FREE ELECTION IN IRAQ HELD ON JANUARY 30, 2005 -- (House of Representatives - February 02, 2005)
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Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, insurgents in Iraq this weekend had vowed to wash the streets in blood. Yet, despite all their threats of people who were going to get killed and places that were going to be bombed, and indeed 43 people were killed, despite all that, voters turned out, of course, in record numbers because the election itself was a record.
One voter said on Sunday that each vote was a bullet in the heart of the enemy. We are defeating the terrorists in coming here, he said proudly, as he dipped his finger in the famous purple ink. This was done in over 30,000 polling places. And now the votes are being counted.
When we look at the turnout, nearly 60 percent, we are not really sure what the turnout officially is, but compare that to the United States presidential election just this November of a 60.7 percent voter turnout. Yet no one was threatened to be killed. That was the highest turnout in the United States of America in 38 years. Indeed, in my home county in Savannah, Georgia, Chatham County had a turnout of a mere 48 percent 2 years ago when we elected the Governor of Georgia.
So for them under these circumstances to have a 60 percent voter turnout, it is phenomenal; but it is also a huge statement on how badly people want freedom, how badly they want to throw off the shackles of oppression, and how they value the opportunity to vote.
The U.S. Marines said that watching voters go to the polls was a spectacular and a wonderful payoff of the magnitude of the well-visualized photo of their knocking down Saddam Hussein's statue 2 years ago in Baghdad. And the people who died, the 43 lives who are no longer with us, they should all be remembered along with the other heroes who made the day possible. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
It took the United States of America 7 years to fight the Revolutionary War to win its independence from Britain, and then it was not until 1789 that we threw out the Articles of Confederation and wrote our own Constitution. And yet we fought a Civil War since then and we have had lots of struggles and lot of amendments to our Constitution. Indeed, over 200 years later, we are still fighting and working on this experiment that we call democracy, representative democracy.
What the world needs to do right now is to support Iraq in this endeavor. It is time for folks around the globe to say this did serve as a referendum and a statement; now let us reach out and do what we can to help Iraq become independent.
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