President Bush is urging Iraqis to close ranks behind the draft constitution presented to the Iraqi parliament, despite the failure of negotiators to craft a document acceptable to all of Iraq's ethnic and political groups.
Speaking on Sunday from his Texas ranch, Mr. Bush acknowledged opposition to the draft charter from Sunni Arabs opposed to several provisions. But he called the dissent part of a political process that encourages debate and compromise. A national referendum is set to be held by October 15th.
The president said Iraqis and coalition forces can expect an increase in insurgent attacks, because, in his words, "the enemy knows its greatest defeat lies in the expression of free people at the ballot box."
Mr. Bush called the draft charter an inspiration that contains far reaching protections, including freedoms of religion, assembly and expression.