Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bush's Speech

This is a transcript of President Bush's 9/11 speech. It's very good.

Five years ago, this date — September the 11th — was seared into America's memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history. They murdered people of all colors, creeds and nationalities — and made war upon the entire free world. Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war unlike any we have fought before. Today, we are safer, but we are not yet safe.

Read the rest

On this solemn night, I've asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.

On 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil. Yet on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion and responding with extraordinary acts of courage. We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers — and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love. We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm — and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke — and ran back in to answer cries for help.

On this day, we remember the innocent who lost their lives — and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.

For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh. I've met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of fallen comrades. I've stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania, who take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims — and gave America our first victory in the war on terror. I've sat beside young mothers with children who are now five years old — and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms.

Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.

Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy — but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam — a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations.

The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.

Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I.

But the war is not over, and it won't be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We're in a war that will set the course for this new century — and determine the destiny of millions across the world.

For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy. It changed the way we look at the world. On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them. So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We put al-Qaida on the run, and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks, including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned by the Central Intelligence Agency, and they provided valuable information that has helped stop attacks in America and across the world. Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay, so they can be held to account for their actions. Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice.

On September 11, we learned America must confront threats before they reach our shores, whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states. I'm often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress and the United Nations saw the threat — and after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.

Al-Qaida and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have joined the remnants of Saddam's regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out. Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed — but so are Iraqi and coalition forces. We're adapting to stay ahead of the enemy, and we are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds.

We're training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We're helping Iraq's unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. Osama bin Laden calls this fight "the Third World War" — and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's "defeat and disgrace forever." If we yield Iraq to men like bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened; they will gain a new safe haven; they will use Iraq's resources to fuel their extremist movement. We will not allow this to happen. America will stay in the fight. Iraq will be a free nation, and a strong ally in the war on terror.

We can be confident that our coalition will succeed because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. And we can be confident in victory because of the skill and resolve of America's armed forces. Every one of our troops is a volunteer, and since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation's uniform. In Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have suffered terrible injuries — and nearly 3,000 have given their lives. America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will never back down from the work they have begun.

We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe, and we are giving them the tools they need to protect our people. We've created the Department of Homeland Security. We have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information. We've tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders, and we've created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.

Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil, but they've not been idle. Al-Qaida and those inspired by its hateful ideology have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States. They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens — and we are determined to stop them. We'll continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.

In the first days after the 9/11 attacks I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists, wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, girls enrolling in schools or families worshiping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it's a struggle for civilization. We're fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we're fighting for the possibility good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.

We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we're offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free.

Across the broader Middle East, the extremists are fighting to prevent such a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it — sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle. When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima — but he would not have been surprised at the outcome. When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall — but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down. Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged, and every time we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.

At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity. We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground, but the talent and creativity of their people. We look to the day when moms and dads throughout the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children. And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part, the appeal of radicalism will decline and we will leave our children with a better and safer world.

On this solemn anniversary, we rededicate ourselves to this cause. Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country, and we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies. We will protect our people. And we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.

Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. That day I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son, Patrick, accept his commission in the finest Army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City.

On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th — and never came home. His sons lost their father that day, but not the passion for service he instilled in them. Here is what RoseEllen says about her boys: "As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety — but as worried as I am, I'm also proud, and I know their dad would be, too."

Our nation is blessed to have young Americans like these — and we will need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. They're not the first to try, and their fate will be the same as those who tried before. 9/11 showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did, but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer, came to the aid of neighbors in need and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word. The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.

Thank you, and may God bless you.


Matt said...

Safer but not yet safe... safer but not yet safe. What does that really mean? It obviously implies that (since it is an election year) you are in physical peril at all times, yet if a republican is in office you are safer... right? I'm sick and tired of getting the crap scared out of me for political gain. This is yet another example of bush and repubs using 9/11 and the war on terror as a backdrop for their re-election campaigns. Obviously they should be doing this, but to what extent? They're focusing on terrorism and terrorism alone two months before the elections because that's really all they have going for them. They have nothing else to talk about. So how safe am I on a scale of one to ten? And how safe will I be if democrats are elected in november? Will I be at a 1? I find this extremely unlikely and I think it's laughable to say that we'll be safer if the same guys are still in office. Like I've said before, terrorism is a psychological battle more than anything. It doesn't have the cabability of destroying nations and the only way to truly defeat it is to focus on your own national security. The idea that the outcome of the "battle for civilization" will be determined in the streets of baghdad makes absolutely no sense and is a construct of the GOP in an election year. But, of course you've swallowed the slogan whole, no questions asked. Lovers of logic don't usually blindly follow their political leaders into illogical territory.

Matt said...

I think Robert Scheer said it best:

The model for this administration is the opposite of Jeffersonian democracy, and instead increasingly invites comparison with the madness that destroyed Rome, Germany and the Soviet Union: Authoritarianism that thrives on stoking paralyzing fear of the barbarians at the gate. "We are in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world," Bush said, justifying his Iraq quagmire while sidestepping the fact that Islamic extremism, as well as 15 of the 19 hijackers, was most clearly nurtured by Saudi Arabia, the bizarre oil theocracy with intimate ties to the Bush dynasty, but not former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

k2aggie07 said...

However, the Saudis are our allies.

They don't violate UN treaties. They don't attack our allies. They don't publicly harbor terrorists -- in fact, the Saudi government has executed quite a number of terrorists (and has had some problems fighting terrorism within their own country).

Calling Saddam Hussein president is about as idiotic as they come. Its like calling Hitler prime minister.

Bush Dynasty? Intimate ties? You've been watching too much Michael Moore.

I don't think anyone is saying that bam, first day with a democratic congress and boom, America is attacked. I do firmly believe that the country is safer because of our involvement in Iraq. I think that others who might have had ideas about attacking us (or harboring those who would) are having second thoughts if not abandoning their plans completely after seeing what has gone on in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think Libya is a perfect example.

Let's look at the bigger picture here for a second. We could possibly be on the cusp of WWIII. I think everyone knows it, but won't admit it. Iran's posturing is shaping up in many ways to be similar to Hitler's in 1939. If this situation escalates (which it probably will), who would you rather have? A hawkish Lieberman or a pro-pullout Lamont? A guy with a track record for actually fighting terrorism (Bush) or a guy who just said he did (Clinton)?

Thats the real question when you're talking about security issues.

Matt said...

For one thing, Clinton DID fight terrorism and it's on his record. We retaliated on Al Qaeda training sites after the first bombing of the WTC. Or is that another "Michael Moore lie". Speaking of so called "lies", it's been well documented that Bush's family has had ties to the bin laden family. Don't act like you've never heard of the Carlyle group.

Wall Street Journal, Europe: Through this investment and its ties to Saudi royalty, the bin Laden family has become acquainted with some of the biggest names in the Republican Party. In recent years, former U.S. President George Bush, ex-Secretary of State James Baker and ex-Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci have made the pilgrimage to the bin Laden family's headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Bush makes speeches on behalf of Carlyle Group and is senior adviser to its Asian Partners fund, while Mr. Baker is its senior counselor.

Through his lofty position at Carlyle and as a consultant, George Bush Sr. is closely linked to the bin Ladens. As are other powerhouse U.S. politicians.

Given that Carlyle's business is "defense," the Bushes and bin Ladens may well profit handsomely from the current war.


Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War.

What I don't understand is how you can take a senate report that specifically says Saddam Hussein saw Al-Qaeda as a threat rather than an ally and say that it's proof of connections between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

Yahoo News:Released Friday, the report discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that before the war, Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward" al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates.

Saddam told U.S. officials after his capture that he had not cooperated with Osama bin Laden even though he acknowledged that officials in his government had met with the al-Qaida leader, according to FBI summaries cited in the Senate report.

WWIII may surely happen. But who will instigate it? Who invaded whom? Who raised growing resentment towards the west? It's us! Our current foreign policy makes muslims throughout the middle-east, including in Saudi Arabia HATE us! When we invaded Iraq, we broke the chains that had been tying down the Iranian agenda. They now have free roam throughout the mideast. They are more powerful now than they have ever been. They have more influence in Iraq than we do. It's my firm belief that our foreign policy is specifically to blame for this road towards global war.

Once again, you're twisting things here. Democrats like Lamont aren't against the War On Terror, they're against the war in Iraq! Get it straight, there's a huge difference. If Iran threw the first punch, a Democratic Congress and Executive would be quick to respond and would not hesitate to use military force if necessary. The big difference here is that Democrats believe that invading a country PRE-EMPTIVELY only encourages resentment around the world for US foreign policy.

k2aggie07 said...

Thats the big problem, though. Lamont wants to wait for someone to hang one on us before he does something. News flash -- someone did hang one on us. Bad. 3,000 bad. The time to act is now. Proactive, not reactive. I refuse to vote for someone who is going to wait for Pearl Harbor or 9/11 to attack our enemies. Haven't we learned anything from history? We can't shut the world out.

The middle east already hates us. They've hated us for a long time. Now they just have a new excuse to blame their hatred on. If they didn't hate us before Iraq, why Beirut? Why the WTC round 1? Why the USS Cole? Why 9/11?

Clinton's counterterrorism efforts were political gestures at best. A few cruise missiles here, a stern glance there...his inaction is legendary. He bombed AQ training camps -- brilliant. What a great and lasting solution!

As for Iraq --
Iraq was not complying with their UN agreements. The UNSC did absolutely nothing. Iraq fire repeatedly on our peacekeeping forces in the region (we had 40,000 troops there already) and violated the no-fly zone that was part of the cease-fire we negotiated at the end of Desert Storm. Those items by themselves are sufficient casus belli for us to go in to Iraq. The fact that all the intelligence of the time (and some significant sources even now -- did you even read the second post?) pointed towards a terrorist - Iraq cooperation was only the spark that lit it off.

And finally, if you had read the IBD editorial article, you'd know that this piece of Phase II reporting was actually crafted by a Democrat. Partisan politics at its best. He left so much information out that its staggering.

Matt said...

Sorry Matt, but I'll choose to believe the mouthpiece of the administration over you. Your facts in your post are admittedly very convincing. But why exactly did Tony Snow come out today and say that Saddam Hussein and say this:

"The Senate report -- rather than get -- you know what, I don't want to get into the vagaries of the Senate report, but it is pretty clear, among other things, again, that there were al Qaeda operators inside Iraq, and they included Zarqawi, they included a cleric who had been described as the best friend of bin Laden who was delivering sermons on TV. But we are simply not going to go to the point that the President is -- the President has never made the statement that there was an operational relationship, and that's the important thing, because I think there's a tendency to say, aha, he said that they were in cahoots and they were planning and doing stuff; there's no evidence of that."

There are terrorists that operate inside of Israel, there are terrorists that are harbored by Saudi Arabia and Syria and Iran and Lebanon. Are you saying that we should invade the WHOLE MIDDLE EAST? Surely Iraq wasn't the main culprit in this "struggle against civilization"... or whatever catch phrase they're calling it these days. My point is, Iraq wasn't an imminent threat, and even if it was using the doctrine of pre-emptive strike, they were certainly not the first ones on the list of terrorist states.

Furthermore, this isn't the first report to come to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein and Zarqawi had no connection. There are more than several other CIA reports claiming the exact same thing.

Some Bush officials said publicly before the war that the Saddam regime would not have allowed the jihadist to remain in Baghdad if it did not condone his presence.
But post-invasion intelligence collection showed that Saddam considered Zarqawi an outlaw and sent his intelligence service to capture him. "The [Iraqi Intelligence Service] formed a special committee and actively attempted to locate and capture al-Zarqawi without success, contradicting prewar assessments that the IIS almost certainly possessed the capability to track him," the Senate report said.

There wasn't an operation connection between Zarqawi and Saddam, there was no connection... tomatoes, tomotoes; it's all semantics.

Matt said...

I need to start proofreading my comments, sorry for the horrible grammar.

rightonq said...

WIth regards to the Robert Sheer quote...

I don't think it even comes close to describing our current state of affairs.

First, I realize that invoking Jefferson's name might give his statement some sense of credibility and historical context, but it doesn't mean anything here. The same could have been said by Jefferson himself as George Washington and Alexander Hamilton established a powerful federal gov't totally at odds with Jefferson's ideals as he suggested himself.

Second, while it is true that Authoritarianism not only thrives, but depends on "stoking paralyzing fear" the same could have been said for every threat from the war of 1812 to World War II. The fact of the matter is that there are threats out there and some of them need to be confronted. If our attitude was always that we have to avoid making our citizens fearful then we would be Neville Chamberlain who almost lost England to Hitler and finally realized that his policy of appeasment had been an abject failure. Oops.

And finally, I don't even get the point about Saudi Arabia. Is it another point to suggest that terrorism is our fault and that Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism? Iraq became a front in the War in Terror for several reasons, but ultimately it was a longer term strategy to foster democracy in the middle east. Iraq made sense because we already had a policy of regime change, we (and everyone else) thought he had WMD, he had some ties to terrorism. Why would we invade Saudi Arabia? And BTW, the Saudi Oil Theocracy also had intimate ties with Clinton and every other American president since we became oil dependent in the 70s.