Transcript: Bush on the USS Lincoln

Following is a transcript of President Bush's speech from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

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 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. 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 before.

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 forces.

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.

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