Key Points:

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."
-- MAY 1, 2003, Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln under the banner "Mission Accomplished"

"What I was saying is there's more than just terrorist attacks that are taking place in Iraq. There's schools opening, there are hospitals opening. The electricity -- the capacity to deliver electricity to the Iraqi people is back up to pre-war levels. ... I know it's a dangerous place. And I also know our strategy to rout them out -- which is to encourage better intelligence and get more Iraqis involved, and have our strike teams ready to move -- is the right strategy."
-- OCTOBER 23, 2003, White House press conference in response to questions about the "Mission Accomplished" comments

"The work of building a new Iraq is hard, and it is right. And America has always been willing to do what it takes for what is right ... As democracy takes hold in Iraq, the enemies of freedom will do all in their power to spread violence and fear. They are trying to shake the will of our country and our friends, but the United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins ... Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security and their own future."
-- JANUARY 20, 2004, State Of The Union address

"We are safer -- we are safer and the world is better off because Saddam is sitting in a prison cell ... There must be a compelling national need to put our troops into harm's way. I felt that. I felt we had a compelling national need. I know we had tried diplomacy. I knew that diplomacy at this point couldn't possibly work because he had no intention of listening to demands of the free world. And when you put your troops in harm's way, you better have the best -- the best equipment, the best support, and the best possible pay."
-- AUGUST 5, 2004, A Bush re-election campaign event in Columbus, Ohio

"We're optimistic that more and more Iraqi troops are becoming better trained to fight the terrorists. We're optimistic about the constitutional process. There is a political track that's moving forward in parallel with the security track. No question about -- it's difficult ... But nevertheless, progress is being made, and the defeat of the enemy -- and they will be defeated -- will be accelerated by the progress on the ground in Iraq that -- the establishment of a democratic state that listens to the hopes and aspirations of all the people in Iraq will lead to the defeat of this enemy."
-- JUNE 24, 2005, Welcoming Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari to the White House

"Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. We've made progress, but we have a lot of -- a lot more work to do. Today Iraqi security forces are at different levels of readiness ... We're building up Iraqi security forces as quickly as possible, so they can assume the lead in defeating the terrorists and insurgents."
-- JUNE 28, 2005, Address to nation from Fort Bragg, N.C.

"We're making progress toward peace. We're making progress toward an ally that will join us in the war on terror, that will prevent al Qaeda from establishing safe haven in Iraq, and a country that will serve as an example for others who aspire to live in freedom."
-- OCTOBER 16, 2005, Statement after Iraq approved constitution

"In World War II, victory came when the empire of Japan surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri. In Iraq, there will not be a signing ceremony on the deck of a battleship. Victory will come when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation. As we make progress toward victory, Iraqis will take more responsibility for their security and fewer US forces will be needed to complete the mission. America will not abandon Iraq."
-- NOVEMBER 30, 2005, Speech to naval academy in Annapolis, Maryland

"It is true that much of the intelligence [used to support an invasion of Iraq] turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq, and I am also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities and we're doing just that. We are in Iraq today because our goal has always been more than the removal of a brutal dictator."
-- DECEMBER 15, 2005, Last of four speeches outlining his Iraq strategy

"Some look at the challenges in Iraq, and conclude that the war is lost, and not worth another dime or another day. I don't believe that. Our military commanders don't believe that. Not even the terrorists believe it. We know from their own communications that they feel a tightening noose -- and fear the rise of a democratic Iraq."
-- DECEMBER 19, 2005, Speaking after Iraqi elections

"My fellow citizens: Not only can we win the war in Iraq - we are winning the war in Iraq."
-- DECEMBER 20 2005, Oval Office address to the nation

"We will leave Iraq, but when we do, it will be from a position of strength, not weakness," Bush said. "Americans have never retreated in the face of thugs and assassins, and we will not begin now."
-- MARCH 21, 2006, Speech to the City Club of Cleveland

"I'm optimistic we'll succeed," he said. "If not, I'd pull our troops out. If I didn't believe we had a plan for victory, I wouldn't leave our people in harm's way."
-- MARCH 22, 2006, At White House media conference

"I fully recognise that's not going to end the war," Bush said. "On the other hand it was a major blow to al Qaeda, and the killers and terrorists who are trying to spread violence and suffering and stop the emergence of a new democracy."
-- JUNE 13, 2006, Speaking after the killing of Iraq al Qaeda leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi

"America will not abandon the Iraqi people. No question it's tough in Baghdad. And no question it's tough in other parts of Iraq. But there are also places where progress is being made."
-- JULY 26, 2006, Speaking after meeting Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki

"If we were to leave before the mission is complete, it would hurt US credibility. Who would want to stand with the United States of America if we didn't complete the mission in a mission that can be completed, and will be completed? If we leave before the mission is complete, if we withdraw, the enemy will follow us home."
-- AUGUST 17, 2006, In a campaign speech for the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania

"I hear a lot of talk about civil war. I'm concerned about that of course ... The Iraqi leadership is determined to thwart the efforts of the extremists and radicals."
-- AUGUST 22, 2006, Speaking after 20 Shi'ite pilgrims were killed in Iraq

"We should all agree that the battle for Iraq is now central to the ideological struggle of the 21st century. If we give up the fight in the streets of Baghdad, we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities."
-- SEPTEMBER 1, 2006, In a speech to US veterans

"Our goal in Iraq is clear and unchanging: our goal is victory. What is changing are the tactics we use to achieve that goal."
-- OCTOBER 23, 2006, Weekly radio address

"We are pressing Iraq's leaders to take bold measures to save their country. We're making it clear that America's patience is not unlimited. I know we're not going to succeed, however, if we set artificial timetables for withdrawal or we get out of there, or we say to the enemy, just keep fighting; we'll leave soon. That's not going to work. What will work is a strategy that's constantly - tactics that constantly change to meet the enemy."
-- OCTOBER 26, 2006, At a White House media conference

Saddam Hussein's trial is a milestone in the Iraqi people's effort to replace the rule of a tyrant with the rule of law. It is a major achievement for Iraq's young democracy and its constitutional government."
-- NOVEMBER 6, 2006, At a media conference in Waco

"I'm open to any idea or suggestion that will help us achieve our goals of defeating the terrorists and ensuring that Iraq's democratic government succeeds."
-- NOVEMBER 10, 2006, After Democrats took control of the US Congress

"I've always said we'd like our troops out as fast as possible. I think that's an important goal."
-- DECEMBER 8, 2006, Responding to a bipartisan Iraq Study Group report recommending the start of a US troop withdrawal

"If we lose our nerve, if we're not steadfast in our determination to help the Iraqi government succeed, we will be handing Iraq over to an enemy that would do us harm. I'm not going to be rushed into making a difficult decision, a necessary decision to say to our troops: 'We're going to give you the tools necessary to succeed and a strategy to succeed."
-- DECEMBER 14, 2006, Defending his decision to delay the announcement of a change in policy

"We are looking at all options and that includes increasing more troops… I have not made up my mind. There has to be a specific mission that can be accomplished with more troops before I agree on that strategy."
-- DECEMBER 21, 2006, At a Washington media conference

"Many difficult choices and further sacrifices lie ahead. Yet the safety and security of the American people require that we not relent in ensuring that Iraq's young democracy continues to progress."
-- JANUARY 1, 2006, Speaking after Saddam Hussein's execution

- REUTERS / NZHERALD STAFF