Ahmad Chalabi is a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. It is difficult for non-Iraqis to understand the significance of the day in July when the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) was established. For Iraqis, who have suffered 35 years of totalitarian dictatorship, this was a momentous occasion. For the first time in memory, the people saw an Iraqi governing body that did not consist of a dictator and his clones. They saw a diverse group of men and women reflecting all parts of Iraqi society, united by a firm desire to bring democracy, human rights and the rule of law to Iraq. The significance of this event was not lost on Saddam Hussein, who immediately started making threats against the IGC and succeeded two months later in assassinating council member Akila al-Hashimi. In the short time since then, the IGC has compiled a strong record of achievement. We have appointed ministers to take charge of the day-to-day administration of Iraq. We have debated and approved budgets for 2003 and 2004. We have reclaimed Iraq's place in the international community by attending the United Nations General Assembly and the Islamic Conference. IGC members went to the Madrid donors conference, where they were instrumental in convincing the world to pledge assistance to the Iraqi people. IGC representatives went to Congress to support President Bush's economic package for Iraq. The IGC has approved laws that will make Iraq's economy the freest in the region and speed the rebuilding of the country. We supervised the reopening of Iraq's schools and universities in very difficult conditions. We are overseeing the restoration of Iraq's oil sector, where production capacity already has overtaken pre-war levels. We have restored the nationality of millions of Iraqis who had their citizenships stripped by Saddam. We have established a de-Baathification commission that will end the control of Saddam's Baath Party over all aspects of society. We also have started to track down and return the billions of dollars that he and his cronies hid abroad. The best way to defeat the forces of terrorism in Iraq is to restore Iraqi sovereignty and empower the people to win back our country. Their desire to have a role in their governance must be respected by holding elections for a commission to write a new democratic constitution. The IGC should be expanded and developed into a provisional government so that Iraqis can share the burden of security and govern their own country while the constitution is drafted. Iraqis are grateful to the people of the United States for the sacrifices you have made for our freedom. Too many brave citizens of both our countries already have made the ultimate sacrifice. The best way to return security to Iraq now is to return sovereignty to Iraqis quickly.