THE SPEECH

No flight suit–just the dark suit with light blue tie that Bush has made the standard Washington uniform. A very brief speech but one that sounded the right note.

WaPo has Audio and Video. The full text will presumably be available soon.

Update (1227): NYT’s initial synopsis:

* Tells Iraqis That They ‘Don’t Have to Fear the Rule of Saddam’ Ever Again
* Warns Capture Will Not Mean an End to Iraq Violence
* Hussein Will Face ‘the Justice He Denied Millions’
* ‘A Hopeful Day Has Arrived’

Update (1238): Alan has the full text up at Command Post via some sort of TiVo interface:

Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30 PM Baghdad time, United States military forces captured Saddam Hussein alive.

He was found near a farm house outside the city if Tikrit, in a swift raid, conducted without casualties, and now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.

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 and killed in his name.

For the Baathist holdouts largely responsible for the current violence, there will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held. For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and secret police are gone forever.

And this afternoon I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side. The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals: sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.

In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq. The success of yesterday̢۪s mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator̢۪s footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies, have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people.

Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our armed forces and I congratulate them. I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people, and they will be defeated.

We̢۪ve come to this moment through patience and resolve and focused action, and that is our strategy moving forward. The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by our perseverance, and by our sheer belief in the success of liberty, and the United States of America will not relent until this war is won.

May God bless the people of Iraq, and may God bless America.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.