In an address Thursday to a special joint session of Congress in Washington, Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said that Iraqis wanted to "enjoy the fruits of liberty", and that although he could not promise that planned January elections in his country would come off perfectly, he was confident that elections could be held as early as today in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces. He went on to says:
Half of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims already enjoy democratically elected governments. As Prime Minister Blair said to you last year when he stood here, anywhere, any time ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom not tyranny, democracy not dictatorship, and the rule of law not the rule of the secret police. Do not let them convince others that the values of freedom, of tolerance and democracy are for you in the West but not for us.AP has more. CNN provides the full text of Allawi's speech. Video of the address is available here via C-SPAN.