Today is a momentous day for the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people have now been liberated in spirit, as well as in fact. As they celebrate, we also stop to remember the many U.S. and Coalition forces who gave their lives to make this moment possible – including many brave Iraqis who served in their new security forces and who have died fighting for their country. Thanks to all of them, the Iraqi people face a future, not of terror, but of freedom. Today, many Iraqis can dare to believe what we have said from the beginning: that the era of the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein is over. His terrorist regime is finished.
Yesterday’s successful capture was the result of close coordination of intelligence and a rapid, skillfully-executed military action by U.S. forces. It reflects hard work, the courage and the determination of U.S. and coalition forces serving in Iraq. Americans can be enormously proud of them. And, it is important to remember, that each is a volunteer. Each stepped forward to serve and to help fight the global war on terror.
Challenges remain, to be sure. But, as President Bush said today, the United States will see this mission through.
We also give thanks for all the brave young men and women in uniform, from 34 nations, who are serving in Iraq today – as well as those stationed in Afghanistan and across the world, defending freedom in the global war on terror. Though they are far from home during this holiday season, they are serving a truly great cause – the cause of liberty. As the American people celebrate the holidays, we do so with gratitude in our hearts for the forces and for their families, who sacrifice for us all.