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AFTER THE WAR

'America is grateful for a job well done ... '

May 02, 2003

These are excerpts from the prepared text of President Bush's speech Thursday:

Major combat operations in Iraq have ended.

In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment.

Yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it....

*

This nation thanks all the members of our coalition who joined in a noble cause. We thank the armed forces of the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland, who shared in the hardships of war. We thank all the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in the liberation of their own country. And tonight, I have a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld, for Gen. Franks, and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States: America is grateful for a job well done....

I am honored to be your commander in chief....

*

Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices. And everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We are pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We have begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated.... Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq....

*

The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror.

We have removed an ally of Al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding.

And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because that regime is no more....

We have not forgotten the victims of Sept. 11, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got....

Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country, and a target of American justice....

Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups, and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction, is a grave danger to the civilized world, and will be confronted....

We are committed to freedom in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in a peaceful Palestine. The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world.

Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope....

*

Our mission continues. Al Qaeda is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations, and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people. The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger. The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we.... We will continue to hunt down the enemy before he can strike.

The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide....

*

We are mindful as well that some good men and women are not making the journey home. One of those who fell, Cpl. Jason Mileo, spoke to his parents five days before his death. Jason's father said, "He called us from the center of Baghdad, not to brag, but to tell us he loved us. Our son was a soldier."

Every name, every life, is a loss to our military, to our nation, and to loved ones who grieve. There is no homecoming for these families. Yet we pray, in God's time, their reunion will come.

Those we lost were last seen on duty. Their final act on this Earth was to fight a great evil, and bring liberty to others. All of you, all in this generation of our military, have taken up the highest calling of history. You are defending your country, and protecting the innocent from harm. And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope....

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