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12/2/03 - BUSH IN BAGHDAD - 2003-12-02

On November 27th, President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to U.S. troops in Iraq. The trip occurred on the U.S. holiday known as Thanksgiving, a day on which Americans give thanks for their freedom and many other blessings.

In Baghdad, President Bush shared a holiday meal with the troops and thanked them for their service to the civilized world and to the Iraqi people. “By helping the Iraqi people become free,” he said, “you're helping [to] change a troubled and violent part of the world.”

Mr. Bush also made it clear that the U.S.-led coalition will not be intimidated by foreign terrorists and remnants of the ousted Saddam Hussein regime who are trying to force the coalition to leave Iraq:

“Those who attack our coalition forces and kill innocent Iraqis are testing our will. They hope we will run. We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost in casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator, and liberate twenty-five million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.”

President Bush delivered this message directly to the people of Iraq:

“You have an opportunity to seize the moment and rebuild your great country, based on human dignity and freedom. The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone forever. The United States and our coalition will help you, help you build a peaceful country so that your children can have a bright future. We'll help you find and bring to justice the people who terrorized you for years and are still killing innocent Iraqis. We will stay until the job is done.”

“I'm confident we will succeed,” said President Bush, “because you, the Iraqi people, will show the world that you're not only courageous, but that you can govern yourself wisely and justly.”