Re(2): President Delivers Commencement Address at the United States Military Academy at West Point
What are we, the British, the Australians, the Poles, the Italians, the Israelis, the Iraqis the Afghans, and many others now fighting for – almost five years since the Global War on Terror lifted its curtain?
We are struggling to build a lasting peace:
Our inaction during the gathering storm we now know as World War II led to the Katrina of allying with, and later dealing with, one of the great evils of our time - Josef Stalin and his Soviet Union.
President Bush: All our efforts over the past three years have been aimed towards this goal. This past weekend, the world watched as Iraqis stood up a free and democratic government in the heart of the Middle East. With our help, Iraq will be a powerful force for good in a troubled region, and a steadfast ally in the war on terror.
With the emergence of this government, something fundamental changed in Iraq last weekend. While we can expect more violence in the days and weeks ahead, the terrorists are now fighting a free and constitutional government. They're at war with the people of Iraq, and the Iraqi people are determined to defeat this enemy, and so are Iraq's new leaders, and so are the United States and Great Britain.
Prime Minister Blair: And I think what is important now is to say that after three years, which have been very, very difficult indeed, and when at times it looked impossible for the democratic process to work, I think after these three years and the democratic process working and producing this government, then it is our duty, but it is also the duty of the whole of the international community, to get behind this government and support it, because the other thing that came across to me very strongly from talking to them was that the reason there is bloodshed and violence in Iraq is that the very forces that we are confronting everywhere, including in our own countries, who want to destroy our way of life, also want to destroy their hope of having the same type of life. In other words, the very forces that are creating this violence and bloodshed and terrorism in Iraq are those that are doing it in order to destroy the hope of that country and its people to achieve democracy, the rule of law and liberty.
And I think there is a pattern here for us in the international community. I know
the decision to remove Saddam was deeply divisive for the international community, and deeply controversial. And there's no point in rehearsing those arguments over and over again. But whatever people's views about the wisdom of that decision, now that there is a democratic government in Iraq, elected by its people, and now they are confronted with those whose mission it is to destroy the hope of democracy, then our sense of mission should be equal to that and we should be determined to help them defeat this terrorism and violence.
And I believe very, very strongly, indeed -- even more so having talked to the leaders there and now coming back and examining our own situation and how we help -- I'm more than ever convinced that what is important for them in Iraq is to know that we will stand firm with them in defeating these forces of reaction.
This time we challenged the occupation of the Rhineland.
This time we challenged the ‘Rape of Nanking’
Uncle Joe and his ilk and his progeny are unneeded and unwanted worms. They are to be ignored so that the civilized world - without the impediment of fascist, totalitarian, socialist and/or autocratic opinion and realpolitik - can initiate a strategy that marches consent of the governed and peace and prosperity to the very center of hell:
We are winning the war decisively, or have won the war decisively - so we need to look to the future. And, thankfully, it is a future without the pox of a Yalta Agreement. Instead, we have a real democratic leader - with almost three years left in office - defining the future strategy of our nation and the world. A strategy of Liberty and Freedom:
QUESTION: One gets a clear sense of your mutual relief that a government has now been formed, an elected government has been formed in Iraq. But, nonetheless, the current Secretary General of the United Nations has said that he believes that the invasion of Iraq was probably illegal. When you look at your legacy and you look ahead to the reforms in the United Nations you want to see, are you really saying that what you'd actually like to see is a United Nations which could take preemptive action legally?
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: I think what we need to do is to recognize that there are threats in our world today that require us to act earlier and more effectively. And I think we can debate the institutional structure within which that should happen in the United Nations and elsewhere, but I also think that when we look at this global terrorism that we face, there is -- to me, at any rate -- a very clear link between the terrorism that is afflicting virtually every country in the Western world, either in actuality or potentially, the terrorism that is happening all over different countries of the Middle East and in Asia and elsewhere, and the terrorism that is there in Iraq
And one of the things I think, certainly for our people they find most difficult to understand, is, they will say, well, is it -- can it be worth everything that we are doing? I mean, it's such a huge sacrifice that is being made. Can it be worth it? And I think the answer to that is, it is worth it to those engaged in this violence and terrorism to try to stop us, and we should have the same faith and confidence in our determination to succeed as they have in their determination to make us fail.
And I think that is an issue for the whole of the international community, because I've got no doubt at all that if we do succeed, as I believe that we will in Iraq, difficult though it will be, and we succeed in Afghanistan, then the whole of this global
terrorism will suffer a defeat. And that's why I think we need an international
community that's capable of recognizing these problems and acting on them.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'd like to see a United Nations that's effective, one that joins us in trying to rid the world of tyranny, one that is willing to advance human rights and human dignity at its core, one that's an unabashed organization -- is unabashed in their desire to spread freedom. That's what I'd like to see, because I believe that freedom will yield to peace. I also believe freedom is universal. I don't believe freedom is just a concept only for America or Great Britain. It's a universal concept. And it troubles me to know that there are people locked in tyrannical societies that suffer. And the United Nations ought to be clear about its desire to liberate people from the clutches of tyranny. That's what the United Nations ought to be doing, as far as I'm concerned.
I was going to contrast the above enumerated vision with the other visions out there. However, after some thought, I realized that there is absolutely no need, nor any desire, to provide voice to small men, with small goals, no strategy, and bereft of any dream.
PRESIDENT BUSH: In this new war, we have helped transform old adversaries into democratic allies. Just as an earlier generation of Americans helped change Germany and Japan from conquered adversaries into democratic allies, today a new generation of Americans is helping Iraq and Afghanistan recover from the ruins of tyranny. In Afghanistan, the terror camps have been shut down, women are working, boys and girls are going to school, and Afghans have chosen a president and a new parliament in free elections. In Iraq, the people defied the terrorists and cast their ballots in three free elections last year. And last week, Iraqis made history when they inaugurated the leaders of a new government of their choosing, under a constitution that they drafted and they approved. When the formation of this unity -- with the formation of this unity government, the world has seen the beginning of something new: a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East. (Applause.) Difficult challenges remain in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But America is safer, and the world is more secure, because these two countries are now democracies -- and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace. (Applause.)
In this new war, we have forged new alliances, and transformed old ones, for the challenges of a new century. After our nation was attacked, we formed the largest coalition in history to fight the war on terror. More than 90 nations are cooperating in a global campaign to dry up terrorist financing, to hunt down terrorist operatives, and bring terrorist leaders to justice. Nations like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that once turned a blind eye to terror are now helping lead the fight against it. And since September the 11th, 2001, our coalition has captured or killed al Qaeda managers and operatives in over two dozen countries, and disrupted a number of serious al Qaeda terrorist plots, including plots to attack targets inside the United States. Our nation is more secure because we have rallied the world to confront this threat to
The greatest threat we face is the danger of terrorists armed with weapons of mass destruction. To confront this danger, we launched the Proliferation Security Initiative, a coalition of more than 70 nations that are working together to stop shipments of weapons of mass destruction on land, at sea, and in the air, and to stop them from falling into terrorist hands. And building on the legacy of Harry Truman, we launched the most dramatic transformation of the NATO Alliance since its founding in 1949. Working with allies, we created a new "NATO Response Force" that will allow NATO to deploy rapid reaction forces on short notice anywhere in the world. And together we transformed NATO from a defensive alliance focused on protecting Europe from Soviet tank invasion into a dynamic alliance that is now operating across the world in the support of democracy and peace.
We have made clear that the war on terror is an ideological struggle between tyranny and freedom. When President Truman spoke here for the 150th anniversary of West Point, he told the Class of 1952: "We can't have lasting peace unless we work actively and vigorously to bring about conditions of freedom and justice in the world." That same principle continues to guide us in today's war on terror. Our strategy to protect America is based on a clear premise: The security of our nation depends on the advance of liberty in other nations. On September the
11th, 2001, we saw that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state
7,000 miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. And we learned an important lesson: Decades of excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe. (Applause.) So long as
the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain
a place where terrorists foment resentment and threaten American security.
So we are pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. I believe the desire for liberty is universal -- and by standing with democratic reformers across a troubled region, we will extend freedom to millions who have not known it -- and lay the foundation of peace for generations to come. (Applause.)
Now the Class of 2006 will enter the great struggle -- and the final outcome depends on your leadership. The war began on my watch -- but it's going to end on your watch. (Applause.) Your generation will bring us victory in the war on terror. My call to you is this: Trust in the power of freedom, and be bold in freedom's defense. Show leadership and courage -- and not just on the battlefield. Take risk, try new things, and challenge the established way of doing things. Trust in your convictions, stay true to yourselves -- and one day the world will celebrate your achievements. (Applause.)
Who, but the arcane historian, remembers Henry Morgenthau Jr.?