Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Remarks by the President on the War on Terror

The President gave a brilliant speech today about how democracy is taking hold in the Middle East. AP story is here. Full text is here. Check out these wonderful excerpts...
The advance of hope in the Middle East requires new thinking in the region. By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future; it is the last gasp of a discredited past. It should be clear that free nations escape stagnation, and grow stronger with time, because they encourage the creativity and enterprise of their people. It should be clear that economic progress requires political modernization, including honest representative government and the rule of law. And it should be clear that no society can advance with only half of its talent and energy -- and that demands the full participation of women.

Across the Middle East, a critical mass of events is taking that region in a hopeful new direction. Historic changes have many causes, yet these changes have one factor in common. A businessman in Beirut recently said, "We have removed the mask of fear. We're not afraid anymore." Pervasive fear is the foundation of every dictatorial regime -- the prop that holds up all power not based on consent. And when the regime of fear is broken, and the people find their courage and find their voice, democracy is their goal, and tyrants, themselves, have reason to fear.

Last month, when soldiers of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment were on combat patrol north of Baghdad, one of their Humvees fell into a canal, and Iraqi troops came to their rescue -- plunging into the water again and again, until the last American was recovered. The Army colonel in charge of the unit said, "When I saw those Iraqis in the water, fighting to save their American brothers, I saw a glimpse of the future of this country." One of the Iraqi soldiers commented, "These people have come a hundred -- 10,000 miles to help my country. They've left their families and their children. If we can give them something back, just a little, we can show our thanks." (Applause.) America is proud to defend freedom in Iraq, and proud to stand with the brave Iraqis as they defend their own freedom.

Before history is written in books, it is written in courage -- the courage of honorable soldiers; the courage of oppressed peoples; the courage of free nations in difficult tasks. Our generation is fortunate to live in a time of courage. And we are proud to serve in freedom's cause.