Iraq's leaders are forming a government that will oversee the next and critical stage in Iraq's political transition: the writing of a permanent constitution.
This process must take place without external influence. The shape of Iraq's democracy must be determined by the Iraqis themselves.
Iraq's democracy, in the long run, must also be defended by Iraqis themselves.
Our goal is to help Iraqi security forces move toward self- reliance. And they're making daily progress.
Iraqi forces were the main providers of security at about 5,000 polling places in the January elections. Our coalition is providing equipment and training to the new Iraqi military, yet they bring a spirit all of their own.
Last month, when soldiers of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment were on combat patrol north of Baghdad, one of their Humvees fell into a canal and Iraqi troops came to the rescue, plunging into the water again and again until the last American was recovered.
The Army colonel in charge of the unit said, "When I saw those Iraqis in the water fighting to save their American brothers, I saw a glimpse of the future of this country."
BUSH: One Iraqi soldier commented, "These people have come 10,000 miles to help my country. They've left their families and their children. If we can give them something back, just a little, we can show our thanks."
America is proud to defend freedom in Iraq. And America is proud to stand with the brave Iraqis as they defend their own freedom.
Three and a half years ago, the United States mourned our dead, gathered our resolve and accepted a mission. We made a decision to stop threats to the American people before they arrive on our shores and we have acted on that decision.
We're also determined to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
This objective will not be achieved easily or all at once or primarily by force of arms. We know that freedom by definition must be chosen and that the democratic institutions of other nations will not look like our own.
Yet we also know that our security increasingly depends on the hope and progress of other nations now simmering in despair and resentment.
BUSH: And that hope and progress is found only in the advance of freedom.
This advance is a consistent theme of American strategy, from the 14 Points, to the Four Freedoms, to the Marshall Plan, to the Reagan doctrine.
Yet the success of this approach does not depend on grand strategy alone. We are confident that the desire for freedom, even when repressed for generations, is present in every human heart.
And that desire can emerge with sudden power to change the course of history.
Americans, of all people, should not be surprised by freedom's power. A nation founded on the universal claim of individual rights should not be surprised when other people claim those rights.
Those who place their hope in freedom may be attacked and challenged, but they will not ultimately be disappointed, because freedom is the design of humanity and freedom is the direction of history.
In our time, America has been attacked, America has been challenged. Yet the uncertainty and sorrow and sacrifice of these years have not been in vain.
Millions have gained their liberty and millions more have gained the hope of liberty that will not be denied. The trumpet of freedom has been sounded and that trumpet never calls retreat.
Before history is written in books, it is written in courage: the courage of honorable soldiers, the courage of oppressed peoples, the courage of free nations in difficult tasks.
Our generation is fortunate to live in a time of courage, and we are proud to serve in freedom's cause.
May God bless you all.