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Transcript: Bush Speech Aboard Warship

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 870 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... BUSH MAKES HISTORIC SPEECH ABOARD WARSHIP CNN
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2003
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      Thursday, May 1, 2003


      ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CNN) -- The following is an unedited
      transcript of President Bush's historic speech from the flight deck of the
      USS Lincoln, during which he declared an end to major combat in Iraq:

      Thank you. Thank you all very much.

      Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham
      Lincoln, my fellow Americans, 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

      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.
      Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each
      other made this day possible.

      Because of you our nation is more secure. Because of you the tyrant has
      fallen and Iraq is free.

      Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision and
      speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen

      From distant bases or ships at sea, we sent planes and missiles that could
      destroy an enemy division or strike a single bunker. Marines and soldiers
      charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground in one of the swiftest
      advances of heavy arms in history.

      You have shown the world the skill and the might of the American armed

      This nation thanks all of 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 of 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 General
      Franks and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United
      States: America is grateful for a job well done.

      The character of our military through history, the daring of Normandy, the
      fierce courage of Iwo Jima, the decency and idealism that turned enemies
      into allies is fully present in this generation.

      When Iraqi civilians looked into the faces of our service men and women,
      they saw strength and kindness and good will. When I look at the members of
      the United States military, I see the best of our country and I am honored
      to be your commander in chief.

      In the images of fallen statues we have witnessed the arrival of a new era.
      For a hundred of years of war, culminating in the nuclear age, military
      technology was designed and deployed to inflict casualties on an
      ever-growing scale.

      In defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Allied forces destroyed entire
      cities, while enemy leaders who started the conflict were safe until the
      final days. Military power was used to end a regime by breaking a nation.

      Today we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and
      aggressive regime.

      With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives
      without directing violence against civilians.

      No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance
      when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.

      In the images of celebrating Iraqis we have also seen the ageless appeal of
      human freedom. 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're bringing order to parts of that
      country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old
      regime who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search
      for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of
      sites that will be investigated.

      We are helping to rebuild Iraq where the dictator built palaces for himself
      instead of hospitals and schools.

      And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a
      government of, by and for the Iraqi people.

      The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is
      worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done and then
      we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

      The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September
      the 11th, 2001 and still goes on.

      That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology,
      gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They
      imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be
      the beginning of the end of America.

      By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their
      allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our
      retreat from the world.

      They have failed.

      In the battle of Afghanistan, we destroyed the Taliban, many terrorists and
      the camps where they trained. We continue to help the Afghan people lay
      roads, restore hospitals and educate all of their children.

      Yet we also have dangerous work to complete. As I speak, a special
      operations task force lead by the 82nd Airborne is on the trail of the
      terrorists and those who seek to undermine the free government of

      America and our coalition will finish what we have begun.

      From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down
      Al Qaida killers.

      Nineteen months ago I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the
      patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight nearly one half of
      Al Qaida's senior operatives have been captured or killed.

      The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror.
      We have removed an ally of Al Qaida and cut off a source of terrorist

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

      In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and
      deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the
      victims of September the 11th, 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

      Our war against terror is proceeding according to the principles that I have
      made clear to all.

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

      Any person, organization or government that supports, protects or harbors
      terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and equally guilty of
      terrorist crimes. 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.

      And anyone in the world, including the Arab world, who works and sacrifices
      for freedom has a loyal friend in the United States of America.

      Our commitment to liberty is America's tradition, declared at our founding,
      affirmed in Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, asserted in the Truman
      Doctrine and in Ronald Reagan's challenge to an evil empire.

      We are committed to freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq and in a peaceful

      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.

      When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a
      better life.

      American values and American interests lead in the same direction. We stand
      for human liberty.

      The United States upholds these principles of security and freedom in many
      ways: with all of the tools of diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence and

      We are working with a broad coalition of nations that understand the threat
      and our shared responsibility to meet it.

      The use of force has been and remains our last resort. Yet all can know,
      friend and foe alike, that our nation has a mission: We will answer threats
      to our security, and we will defend the peace.

      Our mission continues. Al Qaida 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. Our government has
      taken unprecedented measures to defend the homeland and 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.

      No act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or
      alter their fate. Their cause is lost; free nations will press on to

      Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy
      and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return
      home. And that is your direction tonight.

      After service in the Afghan and Iraqi theaters of war, after 100,000 miles
      on the longest carrier deployment in recent history, you are homeward bound.

      Some of you will see new family members for the first time; 150 babies were
      born while their fathers were on the Lincoln. Your families are proud of
      you, and your nation will welcome you.

      We are mindful as well that some good men and women are not making the
      journey home. One of those who fell, Corporal 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

      Every name, every life is a loss to our military, to our nation and to the
      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

      All of you, all in this generation of our military, have taken up the
      highest calling of history: You were defending your country and protecting
      the innocent from harm.

      And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope, a message that is ancient
      and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "To the captives, come
      out; and to those in darkness, be free."

      Thank you for serving our country and our cause.

      May God bless you all. And may God continue to bless America.


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