CRAWFORD, Texas -- To President Bush, 2005 was a year in which the United States became more prosperous, advanced the cause of freedom abroad, and enhanced its security at home.
''Our duties continue in the new year," he said.
In his weekly radio address yesterday, Bush lauded political developments in Iraq and Afghanistan and offered reassurance that progress was being made.
''This year, we watched the Iraqi people defy the terrorists and suicide bombers and hold three successful elections, voting to choose the only constitutional, democratic government in the Arab world," Bush said in the New Year's Eve broadcast, which was taped at his Texas ranch.
''We also saw the people of Afghanistan elect a democratic parliament in a nation that only a few years ago was ruled by the Taliban," he said.
In the new year, the president said, US troops will clear the enemy out of Iraqi cities and towns, transfer more control to Iraqi units and bolster security forces.
He said his administration also would help the Iraqis build its institutions and its economy.
''Our coalition is . . . moving forward with a reconstruction plan to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure," Bush said. ''As we help Iraq build a peaceful and stable democracy, the United States will gain an ally in the war on terror, inspire reformers across the Middle East, and make the American people more secure."
On the home front, Bush stressed improvements in the US economy and the push to make tax cuts permanent and expand trade.
The administration can point to the creation of 1.8 million new jobs in the past year. Although there are concerns about deficits, Republicans hope that touting improvements in the economy will blunt Democrats' attempts to use it as an issue in next year's elections.