Transcript: Bush on the USS Lincoln

ByABC News
May 1, 2003, 8:27 PM

May 1 -- 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 USSAbraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraqhave ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allieshave prevailed.

And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructingthat country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty and forthe peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud ofthis accomplishment, yet it is you, the members of the United Statesmilitary, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to facedanger for your country and for each other made this day possible.

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

Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combinationof precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and theworld had not seen before.

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

You have shown the world the skill and the might of the Americanarmed forces.

This nation thanks all of the members of our coalition who joinedin a noble cause. We thank the armed forces of the United Kingdom,Australia and Poland who shared in the hardships of war. We thank allof the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in theliberation 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 uniformof the United States: America is grateful for a job well done.

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

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

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

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