14th April 11:31
OT: The President's Thanks To Our Troops, and His Committment to Freedom (heart)
From the State of the Union:
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.
Last January, Iraq's only law was the whim of one brutal man. Today our
coalition is working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with
a bill of rights.
We are working with Iraqis and the United Nations to prepare for a transition to
full Iraqi sovereignty by the end of June.
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.
The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom.
Because of American leadership and resolve, the world is changing for the
Last month, the leader of Libya voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle
all of his regime's weapons of mass destruction programs, including a
uranium-enrichment project for nuclear weapons. Colonel Gaddafi correctly judged
that his country would be better off and far more secure without weapons of mass
When I came to this rostrum on September 20, 2001, I brought the police shield
of a fallen officer -- my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not
I gave to you and to all Americans my complete commitment to securing our
country and defeating our enemies. And this pledge, given by one, has been kept
You in the Congress have provided the resources for our defense and cast the
difficult votes of war and peace. Our closest allies have been unwavering.
America's intelligence personnel and diplomats have been skilled and tireless.
And the men and women of the American military, they have taken the hardest
duty. We've seen their skill and their courage in armored charges and midnight
raids and lonely hours on faithful watch. We have seen the joy when they return
and felt the sorrow when one is lost.
I've had the honor of meeting our service men and women at many posts, from the
deck of a carrier in the Pacific to a mess hall in Baghdad.
Many of our troops are listening tonight. And I want you and your families to
know: America is proud of you. And my administration and this Congress will give
you the resources you need to fight and win the war on terror.
I know that some people question if America is really in a war at all. They view
terrorism more as a crime, a problem to be solved mainly with law enforcement
After the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the guilty were
indicted and tried and convicted and sent to prison. But the matter was not
settled. The terrorists were still training and plotting in other nations and
drawing up more ambitious plans.
After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our
enemies with legal papers. The terrorists and their supporters declared war on
the United States. And war is what they got.
Some in this chamber and in our country did not support the liberation of Iraq.
Objections to war often come from principled motives. But let us be candid about
the consequences of leaving Saddam Hussein in power.
We're seeking all the facts. Already, the Kay report identified dozens of
weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts
of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations.
Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would
continue to this day.
Had we failed to act, Security Council resolutions on Iraq would have been
revealed as empty threats, weakening the United Nations and encouraging defiance
by dictators around the world.
Iraq's torture chambers would still be filled with victims -- terrified and
The killing fields of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of men and women and
children vanished into the sands, would still be known only to the killers.
For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein's regime is
a better and safer place.
Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This
particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia,
Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark,
Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador and
the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq.
As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our
international partners or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America
has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and
we have gained much support.
There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and
submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip
to defend the security of our country.
We also hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle
East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken and condescending to assume that
whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and
I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in
freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will
As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it
will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America
and our friends.
So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East.
We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror and
expect a higher standard from our friend.
To cut through the barriers of hateful propaganda, the Voice of America and
other broadcast services are expanding their programming in Arabic and Persian.
And soon, a new television service will begin providing reliable news and
information across the region.
America is a nation with a mission, and that mission comes from our most basic
beliefs. We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire. Our aim is a
democratic peace, a peace founded upon the dignity and rights of every man and
America acts in this cause with friends and allies at our side, yet we
understand our special calling: This great republic will lead the cause of
---End Quoted Portion---
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