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17 May 2003

Bush Pledges Nation to Keep Peace, Combat Terrorism

(Honors service and sacrifice of military on U.S. Armed Forces Day)
(870)


Although the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq are important
victories, the attacks in Saudi Arabia are a stark reminder that the
larger war against terrorism continues throughout the world, President
Bush said in his weekly radio address to the nation on May 17.

Bush spoke on U.S. Armed Forces Day, when the nation honors the men
and women who serve in all branches of the U.S. military.

"With fine allies at their side, American soldiers and sailors,
airmen, and Marines used advanced technology to gain historic
victories in Iraq and Afghanistan," Bush said.

He added, "For all the contributions of technology, however, the
battles of Iraq and Afghanistan were won by the skill and courage of
well-trained, highly motivated men and women. In the recent fighting,
Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile
ground in one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history."

In taking notice of the attacks in Saudi Arabia, Bush said, "The
enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. Our government is
taking unprecedented measures to defend the homeland. And from
Pakistan to the Philippines, to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting
down al Qaeda killers. So far, nearly one-half of al Qaeda's senior
operatives have been captured or killed. And we will remain on the
hunt until they are all brought to justice."

(begin transcript)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
May 17, 2003

RADIO ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. May 17th is Armed Forces Day, when
America honors the men and women who serve in every branch of the
service. Here in the Oval Office, I'm joined by some distinguished
Americans, eight members of the military who fought bravely during the
battle of Iraq. All of them were wounded in battle and are recovering
from their injuries. All of them have earned the respect and the
gratitude of our nation.

Americans are proud of every man and woman who has faced the risks of
war in the cause of freedom. Many still face dangerous duty in Iraq
and Afghanistan as they provide order and stability in liberated
countries. Many are fighting on other fronts in the war against
terror, and some brave Americans have given their lives to protect our
country and to keep the peace. Our whole nation honors their memory,
and our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones they left behind.

The world has seen the tremendous capabilities of the United States
military. With fine allies at their side, American soldiers and
sailors, airmen, and Marines used advanced technology to gain historic
victories in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unmanned Predator aircraft carried
out bombing missions deep behind enemy lines, keeping more of our
pilots out of harm's way. Satellites high above the Earth, at any time
of day or night, provided detailed images of individual targets and
whole battlefields. At least two-thirds of the bombs used by coalition
forces in Iraq were precision-guided by lasers or global-positioning
satellites, compared with just 13 percent of the bombs we used in the
1991 Gulf War.

For all the contributions of technology, however, the battles of Iraq
and Afghanistan were won by the skill and courage of well-trained,
highly motivated men and women. In the recent fighting, Marines and
soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground in one
of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history. Pilots flew through
blinding sandstorms, soldiers and Marines ran into the fact of
gunfire, at times ignoring their own injuries to save wounded
comrades. Special Operations forces conducted daring raids to seize
airfields and missile launch sites. Every branch of the service worked
in united purpose, and displayed the highest standards of
professionalism and honor.

With the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we have removed allies of
al Qaeda, cut off sources of terrorist funding, and made certain that
no terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from Saddam
Hussein's regime.

These two battles were important victories in the larger war on
terror. Yet the terrorist attacks this week in Saudi Arabia, which
killed innocent civilians from more than half a dozen countries,
including our own, provide a stark reminder that the war on terror
continues.

The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. Our
government is taking unprecedented measures to defend the homeland.
And from Pakistan to the Philippines, to the Horn of Africa, we are
hunting down al Qaeda killers. So far, nearly one-half of al Qaeda's
senior operatives have been captured or killed. And we will remain on
the hunt until they are all brought to justice.

This nation accepts the responsibilities of keeping the peace. And the
best way to keep the peace is to make sure that our military remains
second to none. On this Armed Forces Day, we are grateful to all who
serve and sacrifice as members of the United States Army, Navy, Coast
Guard, Air Force, and Marines.

Thank you for listening.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)