The Corner

Kerick’s Remarks

Here’s the White House transcript:

MR. KERICK: Thank you. I just — first, I want to take this opportunity

to thank the President for giving me the honor, and allowing me to go to Iraq –

to go to Iraq and help the Iraqi people, give the Iraq people back their

country.

And we did so — and we did so quite quickly, and that continues on a daily

basis. Four months ago — four-and-a-half months ago, when I arrived in Iraq,

there were no police — very few, if any. There were no police stations. There

were no cars. There was no electricity. They didn’t have telephones,

communications, radios. They basically had nothing. They had no equipment.

They had no weapons, except for those they had ordered kept on the side. In the

last four months, we brought back more than 40,000 police, 450 cars in Baghdad,

stood up 35 police stations in Baghdad.

But I know I constantly hear as I come back, I listen to the press, and I

listen to some of the public, some of the criticism. And they talk about, it’s

taking too long. Well, try to stand up 35 police stations in New York City. It

would take you about 11 years, depending on who is in the city council. It

takes a while. You only have 24 hours in a day. But they have made tremendous

progress. The police are working; they’re working in conjunction with the

military. They are arresting the Fedayeen Saddam and the Baathists.

And I read some of the articles about this, about Dr. Kaye’s report today,

in my opinion, there was one weapon of mass destruction in Iraq, and it was

Saddam Hussein. I visited the mass graves. I watched the videos of the

Mukhabarat, the intelligence services, interrogate, torture, abuse and execute

people day after day. I watched them tie grenades to the necks of people, or

stuff grenades in the pockets of people as they interviewed them, and then

detonate those grenades and watch the people disappear. I watched a video of

Saddam sitting in an office and allowing two Doberman Pinschers to eat alive a

general, a military general because he did not trust his loyalty. There was one

weapon of mass destruction — he’s no longer in power. And I think that’s what

counts today.

I understand, probably more than anyone, what a threat Iraq was and the

people that threatened Iraq was. I was beneath the towers on September 11th

when they fell. And I — again, I just — I want to thank the President for the

honor in allowing me to go there, because I lost 23 people. I wear this — this

memorial band for the 23 I lost. They were defending the freedom of our

country. I got to go on their behalf to Iraq, to bring freedom to Iraq and take

one less threat away from us in this country. So, Mr. President

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