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For Immediate Release
April 15, 2003
President's Remarks on Iraq from the Rose Garden
On the first day of the new Congress more than three months ago, I spoke to the business leaders in Chicago, Illinois. I described two great and immediate tasks facing our country: first, to meet the dangers to America wherever they gather; and, secondly, to achieve a vigorous and growing economy. Those remain the highest priorities of my administration. And there's no doubt we're going to meet those priorities.
This government is acting to protect the American people from the threats of a new era. In Iraq, the regime of Saddam Hussein is no more. (Applause.) A month ago -- one month ago -- that country was a prison to its people, a haven for terrorists, an arsenal of weapons that endangered the world. Today, the world is safer. The terrorists have lost an ally. The Iraqi people are regaining control of their own destiny. These are good days in the history of freedom. (Applause.)
Our victory in Iraq is certain, but it is not complete. Centralized power of the dictator has ended -- yet, in parts of Iraq, desperate and dangerous elements remain. Forces of our coalition will engage these enemies until they surrender or until they're destroyed. (Applause.) We have waged this war with determination and with clarity of purpose. And we will see it through until the job is done.
As we press on to liberate every corner of Iraq, we are beginning the difficult work of helping Iraqis to build a free and stable country. The immediate tasks involve establishing order, as well as delivering food and water and medicines. We'll help Iraqis to restore electrical power and other basic services. We'll help destroy the former regime's weapons of mass destruction. We'll help the Iraqi people to establish a just and representative government, which respects human rights and adheres to the rule of law. These tasks will take effort, and these tasks will take time. But I have faith in the Iraqi people, and I believe that a free Iraq can be an example of reform and progress to all the Middle East. (Applause.)
Our victory in Iraq will be a crucial advance in the war against terror. Yet, the war on terror continues. Our nation is still threatened by determined and resourceful enemies. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remains a danger to the civilized world. Yet from the very day our country was attacked, we have sent a clear message to all who would threaten us, and our friends, and our allies. The United States of America, and our coalition, will defend ourselves. When we make a pledge, we mean it. We keep our word; and what we begin, we will finish. (Applause.)