Bush: Coalition Victory in Iraq Certain But Not Complete
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 15, 2003 "These are good days for the history of freedom," President Bush said during a Rose Garden ceremony this morning.
In one month Iraq has transformed from being "a prison to its own people, a haven for terrorists (and) an arsenal of weapons that endanger the world," Bush said during remarks on his administration's economic proposals.
"Today the world is safer. The terrorists have lost an ally," he added. "The Iraqi people are regaining control of their own destiny."
Bush noted that victory in Iraq is certain, but not complete. Saddam Hussein's government may have collapsed, but "in parts of Iraq, desperate and dangerous elements remain."
Still, he said, that won't deter American troops. "Forces of our coalition will engage these enemies until they surrender or until they're destroyed," the president said. "We have waged this war with determination and clarity of purpose, and we will see it through until the job is done."
Bush said immediate tasks facing coalition forces include establishing order, delivering food, medical supplies and water, and restoring electricity and other basic services. These forces in Iraq will also find and destroy weapons of mass destruction and help the Iraqis "establish a just and representative government," he said.
"These tasks will take effort, and these tasks will take time," Bush observed. "And I believe that a free Iraq can be an example of reform and progress to all the Middle East."
The president received heavy applause when he spoke of the United States' pride in its military forces. "The world has seen their skill and their courage and their humanity," he said. "They bring security to our country and at the same time bring freedom to the Iraqi people."
He predicted victory in Iraq will be a "crucial advance" in the war on terror, but not the end. "Our nation is still threatened by determined and resourceful enemies," Bush pointed out. "The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains a danger to the civilized world."
Still, strong showings in Afghanistan and Iraq have proven the United States will defend itself. "When we make a pledge, we mean it. We keep our word," Bush said. "And what we begin, we will finish."