I have to admit I missed the president’s speech last night – over the summer we pretty much get completely out of the TV habit other than sports and movies and by the time I thought of it, it was over. But a transcript is here and I am pleased to see he is unyielding in the war on terror, which began 9/11/01 and continues apace:
- For a generation leading up to September the 11th, 2001, terrorists and their radical allies attacked innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, without facing a sustained and serious response. The terrorists became convinced that free nations were decadent and weak. And they grew bolder, believing that history was on their side. Since America put out the fires of September the 11th, and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn. We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power.
This work continues. In Iraq, we are helping the long suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East. Together we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass graves into a nation of laws and free institutions. This undertaking is difficult and costly — yet worthy of our country, and critical to our security.
The Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes more lives in America and in other free nations. The triumph of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, in Afghanistan and beyond would be a grave setback for international terrorism. The terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and the resentments of oppressed peoples. When tyrants fall, and resentment gives way to hope, men and women in every culture reject the ideologies of terror, and turn to the pursuits of peace. Everywhere that freedom takes hold, terror will retreat.
….They have ambushed American and British service members — who stand for freedom and order. They have killed civilian aid workers of the United Nations — who represent the compassion and generosity of the world. They have bombed the Jordanian embassy — the symbol of a peaceful Arab country. And last week they murdered a respected cleric and over a hundred Muslims at prayer — bombing a holy shrine and a symbol of Islam’s peaceful teachings.
This violence is directed not only against our coalition, but against anyone in Iraq who stands for decency, and freedom and progress.
There is more at work in these attacks than blind rage. The terrorists have a strategic goal. They want us to leave Iraq before our work is done. They want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past, the terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans, we will run from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken.
Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there — and there they must be defeated. This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure.
….Fellow citizens: We’ve been tested these past 24 months, and the dangers have not passed. Yet Americans are responding with courage and confidence. We accept the duties of our generation. We are active and resolute in our own defense. We are serving in freedom’s cause — and that is the cause of all mankind.
Very glad to hear it Mr. President.
That the world is now a small, interconnected, dangerous place was horrifyingly driven home 9/11/01. It remains so, though progress has been made. We will win if our resolve remains firm.