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Iraq Excerpts from Presidential Remarks in Arkansas 5/5/03 (Full Transcript)
I had a good time on our ranch. One of the guests that we had down there was the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard. (Applause.) And his wife. The reason why we welcomed them there is because Australia is an important ally of ours. Australia is a strong friend of the United States of America. The Australians fought beside our forces in Iraq. (Applause.) They were a part of our coalition, a coalition that believes in peace and security; a coalition which believes every person ought to be free. They rose to their responsibilities as a free nation. Because of their hard work, and because of the bravery and skill of our military, and because of the bravery and skill of our coalition, America is more secure, the world is more peaceful, and the Iraqi people are free. (Applause.)
This has been a time of testing for this country. It really has
been. But I'm absolutely confident we've got the strength to meet every
test that's put in our way. For 20 months, we've been fighting a war
against terror. For 20 months, this nation has been at war against
people who hate freedom, and they hate America because of what we stand
for. And we are winning that war against terror.
America is more secure as a result of the liberation of Iraq. Saddam Hussein is no more. The terrorists can no longer find a source of funding in the Saddam Hussein regime. They won't be able to find weapons of mass destruction from Saddam Hussein regime because that regime is gone forever. (Applause.)
I had the honor of being on the USS Abraham Lincoln. It was an unusual arrival. (Laughter and applause.) But it was such an honor to be with our sailors and pilots -- people from all walks of life, all parts of our country that had been on a very long deployment. Morale was high. Their spirits were strong. They couldn't wait to get home to see their loved ones. I told them all in my speech there on the deck, I said, you wait and see what's going to happen. America welcomes you home. We're proud of your service and we're proud of your bravery. (Applause.)
And for those of you -- for those of you with a loved one in our service, for those of you with a loved one overseas, I want to thank you very much for your sacrifices. When you talk to them, tell them the Commander-in- Chief really appreciates the job they're doing. So do the Iraqi people, by the way. (Applause.)
Not all our troops are coming home immediately; we've got a job to do in Iraq. We've got to make sure the quality of life improves, and we're working on that right now -- the quality of life for all Iraqis. Got to make sure that the elements of the old Baathist Party that still wants to create havoc there is brought to justice. We'll do that. We're going to stay there to make sure that the environment is such that a democratic government emerges.
See, we believe that the Iraqi people are plenty competent of running their own government. We believe that the habits of democracy and freedom are how you fight hatred in the world; that a free society is one in which people have got positive aspirations for the future; a free society is one in which will mean more likely a peaceful partner in a troubled neighborhood. We'll stay to help the Iraqi form a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people, and then we're coming home. (Applause.)
You see, here's what America and Americans believe -- that freedom is not America's gift to the world, that freedom is the Almighty's gift to each and every individual who lives in the world.
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