President Bush, in a Christmas message to U.S. troops worldwide, reiterated his vow to try to bring those serving in the Persian Gulf home without a shot fired and told them, "The world is behind you.

"In this season of peace it is your commitment and your courage that makes peace possible," Bush said in the taped message that was being broadcast on armed services radio beginning at noon Monday."Back home, some talk of the cost of war. But it is you who understand the price of peace," he said.

Bush, who with his wife Barbara spent Thanksgiving visiting troops in Saudi Arabia, recalled that visit in his talk.

"And when I got back, I spoke to the American people, told them of your bravery and reminded them why we're there."

Bush was spending the Christmas holidays with members of his family at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.

"We're in the gulf because the world must not reward aggression, because our vital interests are at stake, and because of the brutality and danger of Saddam Hussein," Bush said.

With the United Nations-set deadline of Jan. 15 for Saddam to leave Kuwait just weeks away, Bush said, "When you come home, and we hope it's soon, you'll be welcomed as what you are: all-American heroes."

Bush reiterated his vow to "do my level best to bring you home without a shot being fired."

"The sacrifices you make will never be forgotten. America is behind you. The world is behind you and history is behind you."

The president concluded the message with a story about a military couple serving in the gulf.

"I think of Lt. Mary Danko, the flight nurse who volunteered for Saudi Arabia. Her husband, a C-130 navigator, was already flying in support of Desert Shield. And when asked if leaving their baby with relatives was a hard thing to do, Mary said: 'it's the right thing to do. We're needed.'

"And when asked, `now what about the kid?' Mary explained, `we're doing it for the kid.' "