Dec. 14, 2003 -- In a televised address to the nation, President George W. Bush said that Saddam Hussein will face the justice that he "denied to millions," but that the capture of the dictator does not mean violence in Iraq is over.
He also said that the Iraqi people will never have to fear Saddam Hussein again. Bush spoke to the nation from the White House Cabinet Room at 12:15 p.m. Eastern Time Sunday. He did not take questions from reporters after his remarks.
Here is a transcript of his speech.
Good afternoon. Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30p.m. Baghdad time, United States military forces captured SaddamHussein alive. He was found near a farmhouse outside the city ofTikrit, in a swift raid conducted without casualties. And now theformer dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied tomillions.
The capture of this man was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq.It marks the end of the road for him, and for all who bullied andkilled in his name. For the Baathist holdouts largely responsiblefor the current violence, there will be no return to the corruptpower and privilege they once held. For the vast majority of Iraqicitizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event bringsfurther assurance that the torture chambers and the secret policeare gone forever.
And this afternoon, I have a message for the Iraqi people: Youwill not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. AllIraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side.The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals — sovereigntyfor your country, dignity for your great culture, and for everyIraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.
In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. Ahopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together andreject violence and build a new Iraq. The success of yesterday's mission is a tribute to our men andwomen now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superbwork of intelligence analysts who found the dictator's footprintsin a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill andprecision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women andour coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt formembers of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope andfreedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do therisks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of ourArmed Forces and I congratulate them.
I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of SaddamHussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still faceterrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than acceptthe rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East. Such men are adirect threat to the American people, and they will be defeated.
We've come to this moment through patience and resolve andfocused action. And that is our strategy moving forward. The war onterror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cellby cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by ourperseverance and by our sure belief in the success of liberty. Andthe United States of America will not relent until this war is won.
May God bless the people of Iraq, and may God bless America.Thank you.