A blog by patriotic Brandeis University
students who support America, American values, freedom, and democracy world wide.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
About Iraq and the War on Terror
From President Bush's address in California
We made a pledge that day, and we have kept it. We are bringing the guilty to justice. We're taking the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)
And now we see that enemy clearly. The terrorists plot in secret and target the innocent. They defile a great religion, and they hate everything this nation stands for. These committed killers will not be stopped by negotiations; they will not respond to reason. The terrorists who threaten America cannot be appeased. They must be found; they must be fought; and they will be defeated. (Applause.)
In this new kind of war, America is following a new strategy. We are not waiting for further attacks. We are striking our enemies before they can strike us again. (Applause.) We have taken unprecedented steps to protect the homeland. Yet wars are won on the offensive, and America and our friends are staying on the offensive. We're rolling back the terrorist threat -- not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power. (Applause.)
We have sent a message understood throughout the world: If you harbor a terrorist, if you support a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist. And the Taliban found out what we meant. (Applause.) Thanks to a great military -- (applause) -- Afghanistan is no longer a haven for terror. The Afghan people are free. And the people of America are safer from attack. (Applause.)
And we fought the war on terror in Iraq. The regime of Saddam Hussein possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, sponsored terrorist groups, and inflicted terror on its own people. Nearly every nation recognized and denounced this threat for over a decade. Finally, the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 1441 demanded that Saddam Hussein disarm, prove his disarmament to the world, or face serious consequences. The choice was up to the dictator, and he chose poorly. (Laughter and applause.)
I acted because I was not about to leave the security of the American people in the hands of a madman. I was not about to stand by and wait and trust in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) So our coalition acted in one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history. And nearly six months ago, the statue of the dictator was pulled down. (Applause.)
Since the liberation of Iraq, our investigators have found evidence of a clandestine network of biological laboratories, advanced design work on prohibited longer-range missiles, and an elaborate campaign to hide illegal programs. There's still much to investigate. Yet it is now undeniable that Saddam Hussein was in clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441. It is undeniable that Saddam Hussein was a deceiver and a danger. The Security Council was right to demand that Saddam Hussein disarm, and America was right to enforce that demand. (Applause.)
Who can possibly think that the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power? Surely not the dissidents who would be in his prisons or end up in his mass graves. Surely not the men and women who would fill Saddam's torture chamber or rape rooms. Surely not the families of victims he murdered with poison gas. Surely not anyone who cares about human rights and democracy and stability in the Middle East. There is only one decent and humane reaction to the fall of Saddam Hussein -- good riddance. (Applause.)
Now our country is approaching a choice. After all the action we have taken, after all the progress we have made against terror, there is a temptation to think the danger has passed. But the danger has not passed. Since September the 11th, the terrorists have taken lives in Casablanca, Mombasa, Jerusalem, Amman, Riyadh, Baghdad, Karachi, New Delhi, Bali, Jakarta, and most recently American lives were lost by terrorist attack in the Gaza.
The terrorists continue to plot. They continue to plan against our country and our people. America must never forget the lessons of September the 11th. America cannot retreat from our responsibilities and hope for the best. Our security will not be gained by timid measures. Our security requires constant vigilance and decisive action. I believe America has only one option: We will fight this war against terror until it is won. (Applause.)
We are fighting on many fronts. Iraq is now the central front. Saddam holdouts and foreign terrorists are trying desperately to undermine Iraq's progress and throw the country into chaos. The terrorists in Iraq believe their attacks on innocent people will weaken our resolve. They believe we will run from a challenge. They're mistaken. Americans are not the running kind. (Applause.)
The United States did not run from Germany and Japan following World War II. We helped those nations to become strong and decent and democratic societies that no longer waged war against America, that became our friends. That's our mission in Iraq today. We're rebuilding schools. We're repairing hospitals, restoring water and electricity, so the Iraqi people can live a normal life.
Americans are providing this help not only because our hearts are good, but because our vision is clear. A stable and democratic and hopeful Iraq will no longer be a breeding ground for terror, for tyranny and aggression. Free nations are peaceful nations. Our work in Iraq is essential to our own security. And no band of murderers and gangsters will stop that work or shake the will of America. (Applause.)
Nearly every day in Iraq, we're launching swift precision raids against the terrorists. Helped by intelligence from Iraqis, we're rounding up the enemy and we're taking their weapons, and we're working our way through the famous deck of cards. (Laughter.) We've already captured or killed 43 of the 55 most wanted former Iraqi leaders. And the other -- (applause) -- and the other 12 have got a lot to worry about. (Laughter.) Anyone who seeks to harm our soldiers can know that our soldiers are hunting for them.
Our military is serving with courage, and some of the best have fallen. We mourn every loss. We honor every name. We grieve with every family, and we'll always be grateful that liberty has found such brave defenders. (Applause.)
In defending liberty we are joined by more than 30 nations now contributing military forces in Iraq. Great Britain and Poland are leading two multinational divisions. We're in that cause with fine allies, and we thank them. And that includes the good people of Iraq. Last week the first battalion of the new Iraqi army completed its training. Within the year, Iraq will have 40,000-member military force. Tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens are guarding their own borders, they're defending vital facilities, and they're policing their own streets. Normal Iraqis want Iraq to be secure and peaceful. (Applause.)
Our goal in Iraq is to leave behind a stable, self-governing society which will no longer be a threat to the Middle East or to the United States. We're following an orderly plan to reach this goal. Iraq now has a Governing Council, which appointed interim government ministers. Once a constitution has been written, Iraq will move toward national elections. We want the process to go as quickly as possible, yet it must be done right. The free institutions of Iraq must stand the test of time.
Today, I want to thank the United Nations Security Council for unanimously passing a resolution supporting our efforts to build a peaceful and free Iraq. (Applause.) A democratic Iraq will stand as an example to all the Middle East. We believe, and the Iraqi people will show, that liberty is the hope and the right of every land. Our work in Iraq has been long, and it's hard. It is not finished. Since September the 11th, nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers and airmen have been mobilized for this effort; 16,000 are currently in the Middle East. They're playing a vital role for the defense of this nation. Our country is grateful to those who serve and their families who support them. (Applause.)
Americans have sacrificed in the cause of freedom and security, and that cause goes on. Beyond Iraq, the war on terror continues. There will be no quick victory in this war. But if we persevere, our victory is certain. I'm confident of that victory because I know the character of our military, shown in the conduct of young men like Joseph Robsky. He's a career soldier. He served with the Marines in Bosnia and saw the dangers of unexploded bombs; became an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the Army's 759th Ordnance Company, based in California at Fort Irwin. Along with his unit, he was sent to Iraq. And on September the 10th of this year, he was killed disarming a bomb. Hear the words of his mother, Bonnie: My son always said he had a job to do. He said the terrorist has to be stopped.
Staff Sergeant Joe Robsky's devotion to his nation will not be forgotten. We'll always remember the words, terrorism must be stopped. (Applause.)
This war on terror has brought hardship and loss to our country, beginning with the grief of September the 11th. Let us also remember that the first victory in this war came on that same day, on a hijacked plane bound for the Nation's Capital. Somehow the brave men and women on Flight 93, knowing they would die, found the courage to use their final moments to save the lives of others. In those moments and many times since, terrorists have learned about America. They won't -- we won't be intimidated. We'll fight them with everything we got. Few are called to show the kind of valor seen on Flight 93, or on the field of battle. Yet all of us do share a calling: Be strong in adversity, and unafraid in danger.
We Americans have come through so much. We have much yet to do. If we're patient, united, and determined, our nation will prosper, and our nation will prevail.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Why We Went to War
By Robert Kagan and William Kristol
All the evidence -- including Bill Clinton's testimony -- presented one last time.