Good morning. American and coalition forces have begun a concerted campaign
against the regime of Saddam Hussein. In this war, our coalition is broad,
more than 40 countries from across the globe. Our cause is just, the security
of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear,
to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's support
for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.
The future of peace and the hopes of the Iraqi people now depend on our
fighting forces in the Middle East. They are conducting themselves in the
highest traditions of the American military. They are doing their job with
skill and bravery, and with the finest of allies beside them. At every stage
of this conflict the world will see both the power of our military, and the
honorable and decent spirit of the men and women who serve.
In this conflict, American and coalition forces face enemies who have no
regard for the conventions of war or rules of morality. Iraqi officials
have placed troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent
men, women and children as shields for the dictator's army. I want Americans
and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort
to spare innocent civilians from harm.
A campaign on harsh terrain in a vast country could be longer and more
difficult than some have predicted. And helping Iraqis achieve a united,
stable, and free country will require our sustained commitment. Yet, whatever
is required of us, we will carry out all the duties we have accepted.
Across America this weekend, the families of our military are praying that
our men and women will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are
praying with them for the safety of their loved ones and for the protection
of all the innocent. Our entire nation appreciates the sacrifices made by
military families, and many citizens who live near military families are
showing their support in practical ways, such as by helping with child care,
or home repairs. All families with loved ones serving in this war can know
this: Our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.
Our nation entered this conflict reluctantly, yet with a clear and firm
purpose. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will
not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons
of mass murder. Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration
is to apply decisive force. This will not be a campaign of half-measures.
It is a fight for the security of our nation and the peace of the world,
and we will accept no outcome but victory.