TRANSCRIPT: Finally, it’s up: President Bush Announces Military Strikes. Kudos to WaPo for beating NYT and the White House’s own site.
Particularly good lines:
More than 35 countries are giving crucial support, from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.
This is not only a gracious nod to allies, most of whose support is token, but also a not-so-subtle yet classy jab at the opposition. Charges of unilateralism will seem absurd within the next 24 hours.
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 the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.
We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.
This casts the war in a very noble light, which is essential in gaining support in a democracy. Further, it should give comfort to the Iraqi civilians who can hear the message and spread the word. Frankly, I am less impressed with the civilization and religion in question. But this was a nice, and necessary, thing to say.
Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure. 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.
We will meet that threat now with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of firefighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities. [emphasis added]
Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory.
This is not only eloquent but the best statement of the case for this war Bush has yet made. The sentence I highlighted in bold is the thesis statement of this war.