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Bush: 'As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down'

Excerpts from the president's address on Iraq

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President Bush: "Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it"

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FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (CNN) -- The president addressed Americans today in a live televised broadcast from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The following are excerpts from the speech:

"After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy. Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war."

"Our mission in Iraq is clear: We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren."

"Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question, 'Is the sacrifice worth it?' It is worth it. And it is vital to the future security of our country."

"The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom."

"The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like [Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi, and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like [Osama] bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch."

"Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made."

"Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down."

"Today, dozens of nations are working toward a common objective: an Iraq that can defend itself, defeat its enemies and secure its freedom."

"Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong signal to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out."

"We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed and not a day longer."

"If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job."

"Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave."

"The rise of freedom in this vital region [Middle East] will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder and make our nation safer."

"We are fighting against men with blind hatred and armed with lethal weapons who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform. They respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001. They will fail."

"We have more work to do, and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve. The terrorists do not understand America. The American people do not falter under threat -- and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins."

"We fight today because Iraq now carries the hope of freedom in a vital region of the world, and the rise of democracy will be the ultimate triumph over radicalism and terror."

"And we fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand."

"So we'll fight them there, we'll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

"When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom."

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