President Bush says the U.S.-led military mission in Iraq has been accomplished, even though the search continues for hidden Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He spoke at a air base in Qatar, before a crowd of cheering U.S. military personnel.
This is the kind of event the president loves most, a chance to address the troops in person in his role as commander-in-chief.
"I've been on the road for a while. And I hope you don't mind us stopping by," the president said. "We have seen a lot of fine sights but there is no finer sight than to see the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States of America. "
At a massive air base on the fringes of Doha, he praised their efforts during the war, and vowed to stay engaged in Iraq to secure the peace.
"We have got a lot of work to do in Iraq," heh said. "And we are going to stay the course until the job gets done. We will stand with them as they build a stable democracy and a peaceful future."
Mr. Bush pledged to contine the search for weapons of mass destruction. And he left no doubt he believes they will be found.
"We are on the look. We will reveal the truth. But one thing is certain. No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime because the Iraqi regime is no more! " he exclaimed.
This was not a time for talk of policy and programs. Instead, it was more personal as the president dressed in shirtsleeves, spoke of the sacrifice of the troops and extended America's thanks.
"Because of you a great evil has been ended. Because of you, the dignity of a great nation is being restored," the president said.
Earlier, the president met in private with Paul Bremmer, the U.S. civil administrator for Iraq, and with General Tommy Franks, who led the successful military operation. The president also paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Qatar, praising him as a steadfast friend of the United States.