US President George W Bush has made a televised address announcing the start of war against Iraq. This is the text of his speech:
Bush: We will prevail
"My fellow citizens, at this hour American and coalition forces
are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.
"On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected
targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war.
"These are opening stages of what will be a broad and
"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 honour of serving in our common
"To all of the men and women of the United States armed forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you.
"That trust is well placed.
"The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and
bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honourable and decent spirit of the American military.
"In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military; a final atrocity against his people.
"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.
Prayers for safety
"I know that the families of our military are praying that all
those who serve will return safely and soon.
"Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of
your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent.
"For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the
American people and you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.
"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
"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
"My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world
will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others.
"And we will prevail.
"May God bless our country and all who defend her."