Bush gave another great speech tonight, you can read the whole thing here.
On the morning of September the 11th, 2001, we saw the destruction that the terrorists intend for this nation. We know they want to strike again. Our nation has made a clear choice.
We will confront this mortal danger to our humanity, and we will not tire and we will not rest until the war on terror is won. (Applause.)
In the four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places, in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid and Beslan and Taba and Natanya and Baghdad and elsewhere.
PRESIDENT BUSH: In the past few months we have seen a new terror offensive with attacks on London and Sharm el-Sheikh and a deadly bombing in Bali once again.
PRESIDENT BUSH: All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random and isolated acts of madness. Innocent men, women and children have died simply because they boarded the wrong train or worked in the wrong building. (Audience applauds silencing of heckler.) They have died because they checked into the wrong hotel.
Yet while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane. Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant jihadism; and still others, Islamofascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent and political vision. The establishment by terrorism, subversion and insurgency of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom.
These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews, and also against Muslims who do not share their radical vision, whom they regard as heretics. Many militants are part of a global, borderless, terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, which spreads propaganda and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like the attacks of September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups often associated with al Qaeda — paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, the Philippines and Pakistan and Chechnya and Kashmir and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells, inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally controlled or directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with military branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives fighting on scattered battlefields share a similar ideology and vision for our world.
We know the vision of the radicals because they’ve openly stated it in videos and audiotapes and letters and declarations and websites. First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East because we stand for democracy and peace, and we stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, quote, “their resources, sons and money to driving the infidels out of their lands.” The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter-century. They hit us, and they expect us to run.
Earlier this month, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda’s number two leader, a man named Zawahiri.
He wrote this letter to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to the Vietnam War as a model to al Qaeda. Zawahiri writes, quote, “The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam, and how they ran and left their agents, is noteworthy.” The terrorists witnessed a similar response after the attacks on American troops in Beirut in 1983, in Mogadishu in 1993. They believe that America can be made to run again, only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.
Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and to conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal for a time in Afghanistan, and now they have set their sights on Iraq.
In his recent letter, Zawahiri writes that al Qaeda views Iraq as, quote, “the place for the greatest battle.” End quote. The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity, and we must recognize Iraq was the central front in our war against terror.
Third, these militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia. Zawahiri writes that the terrorists, quote, “must not have their mission end with the expulsion of Americans from Iraq.” He goes on to say the jihad requires several incremental goals: expel the Americans from Iraq, establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.
With the greater economic, military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to achieve their stated agenda — to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to assault the American people and to blackmail our government into isolation.
Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme, but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zawahiri has vowed, we will either achieve victory over the human race or we will pass to the eternal life.
And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history, from Hitler, to Stalin, to Pol Pot, consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously, and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply. (Applause.)
[…]The militants are aided, as well, by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories and speak of so-called American war on Islam, with seldom a world — word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Somalia and Kosovo and Kuwait and Iraq, and with seldom a word about our generous assistance to Muslims recovering from natural disasters in places like Indonesia and Pakistan.
Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001. and al Qaeda attacked us anyway.
The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the militants killed more then 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.
Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence: the Israeli presence on the West Bank, the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we’re not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We’re facing a radical ideology with an unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of killers, and no consequence, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans of murder. On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response. We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less then complete victory.
The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century, yet in many ways this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by self-appointed vanguards that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own rules to tell Muslims, quote, “what is good for them and what is not.” And what this man, who grew up in wealth and privilege, considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride.
Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We’ve seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg ,and Margaret Hansen and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo van Gogh turned to the victim’s grieving mother and said, “I don’t feel your pain because I believe you’re an infidel.” And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.
[…]We didn’t ask for this global struggle, but we are answering history’s call with confidence and a comprehensive strategy. Defeating a broad and adaptive network requires patience, and constant pressure, and strong partners in Europe, in the Middle East, in North Africa, in Asia and beyond. Working with these partners, we’re disrupting militant conspiracies, and we’re destroying their ability to make war, and are working to give millions in a troubled region of the world a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence.
[…]The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them because they are equally guilty of murder. (Applause.)
[…]The terrorists’ goal is to overthrow a rising democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven for terror, destabilize the Middle East, and strike America and free nations with ever-increasing violence. That’s their goal.
Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power. So we will defeat the enemy in Iraq.
[…]Wars are not won without sacrifice, and this war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve. The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we have ever faced, unconstrained by any notion of common humanity or by the rules of warfare. No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight. Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It is not justified. With every random bombing and with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters. They are murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves. In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast. By any standard or precedence of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress from tyranny to liberation to national elections to the ratification of a constitution in the space of two and a half years.
[…]Some observers question the durability of democracy in Iraq. They underestimate the power and appeal of freedom. We’ve heard it suggested that Iraq’s democracy must be on shaky ground because Iraqis are arguing with each other. But that’s the essence of democracy. You make your case, you debate with those you disagree with, you build consensus by persuasion, and you answer to the will of the people.
We’ve heard it said that the Shi’a, the Sunnis and the Kurds of Iraq are too divided to form a lasting democracy. In fact, democratic federalism is the best hope for unifying a diverse population because a federal constitutional system respects the rights and religious traditions of all citizens while giving all minorities, including the Sunnis, a stake and a voice in the future of their country.
It’s true that the seeds of freedom have only recently been planted in Iraq, but democracy when it grows is not a fragile flower, it’s a healthy, sturdy tree. As Americans, we believe that people everywhere prefer freedom to slavery, and that liberty, once chosen, improves the lives of all. And so we’re confident as our coalition and the Iraqi people each do their part, Iraqi democracy will succeed.
Some observers also claim that America would be better off by cutting our losses and leaving Iraq now. This is a dangerous illusion, refuted with a simple question: Would the United States and other free nations be more safe or less safe with Zarqawi and bin Laden in control of Iraq, its people and its resources?
Having removed a dictator who hated free peoples, we will not stand by as a new set of killers, dedicated to the destruction of our country, seizes control of Iraq by violence. There is always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems in the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. That would be a pleasant world, but it’s not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday’s brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory, and so we will keep our nerve and win that victory.
[…]Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision, and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would- be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure, until those societies collapse in corruption and decay.
And tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent until the day that free men and women defeat them.
We don’t know the course of our own struggle, where it will take us, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead, but we do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice. We do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history, and we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail.
Thank you for having me. May God bless you all.