Excerpt from speech given 12-12-05, full text follows below.
"If you‘re a supporter of Israel , I would strongly urge you to help other countries become democracies. Israel‘s long-term survival depends upon the spread of democracy in the Middle East". Source
Oddly, a Google News search for this quote
brings up only THREE websites,none of which are American.
Why is that, you figure?Text of Bush Speech on Iraq, Part Two
Staff and agencies
12 December, 2005
54 minutes ago
Text of President Bush ‘s speech Monday on Iraq , as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions:
BUSH: The terrorists know that democracy is their enemy. And they will continue fighting freedom‘s progress with all the hateful determination they can muster.
When the new Iraqi government takes office next year, Iraqis will have the only constitutional democracy in the Arab world, and Americans will have a partner for peace and moderation in the Middle East.
In a 1998 fatwa, Osama bin Laden argued that the suffering of the Iraqi people was justification for his declaration of war on America. Now bin Laden and al-Qaida are the direct cause of the Iraqi people‘s suffering.
A free Iraq‘s not going to be a quiet Iraq. It‘ll be a nation full of passionate debate and vigorous political activity. It‘ll be a nation that continues to face some level of violence.
We‘ve done this kind of work before. We must have confidence in our cause.
In the Cold War, free nations defeated communism and helped our former Warsaw Pact adversaries become strong democracies. And today nations of Central and Eastern Europe are allies in the war on terror.
And the advance of freedom in the Middle East requires freedom in Iraq. By helping Iraqis build a lasting democracy, we will spread the hope of liberty across a troubled region. We‘ll gain new allies in the cause of freedom.
Not far from here, where we gather today, is a symbol of freedom familiar to all Americans: the Liberty Bell. When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public, the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration and a witness said, It rang as if it meant something.
Thank you for letting me come.
Thank you. Sit down, please.
I‘ve got a little extra time on my hands, so I thought I might answer some questions.
QUESTION: Since the inception of the Iraq war, I‘d like to know the approximate total of the Iraqis who have been killed. And by Iraqis, I include civilians, military, police, insurgents, translators...
BUSH: How many Iraqi citizens have died in this war? I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis.
We‘ve lost about 2,140 of our own troops in Iraq.
BUSH: I‘ll repeat the question. If I don‘t like it, I‘ll make it up.
QUESTION: Central to your policy in Iraq is the role of the Iraqis.
QUESTION: And we hear wildly different tales about how the Iraqis are doing in their own area of defense.
Could you give us your perspective on how they‘re doing, how well their military training is going, what your view of their capability is to do the tasks that you want them to do, and clear up some of the wildly different impressions that we hear about?
BUSH: No, I appreciate that.
When we first began training — our strategy all along has been to train Iraqis so they could take the fight, and succeed in what we‘re trying to do, which is a democracy: a democracy which will serve as an example for others, a democracy which will join us in the fight on terror, a democracy which will help us prevent other countries from becoming safe haven for terrorists who still want to kill us. That was our objective. And all along, we wanted the Iraqis to be able to take the fight.
When we first got going, we said,
We‘ll train an army that will be able to deal with external threats and a civil defense corps that will be able to deal with internal threats.‘
And the problem with that strategy was that the internal threats were a heck of a lot more severe than the external threats and the civilian corps we trained was not properly trained and equipped.
So we adjusted. We trained everybody for the army, recognizing that the army is going to have to not only take the fight to the enemy — or the new army, take the fight to the enemy, but when we clear enemies out of places like Mosul, that there has to be an Iraqi army presence to earn the confidence of the people.
When the war first got going, we‘d move into Mosul, clear out an enemy, leave and the enemy would return. And so the Iraqi people had no confidence in the future.
They didn‘t dare, for example, tell coalition forces or Iraqi forces the names of those who were killing their citizens because they didn‘t have the confidence that there would be a force to protect them.
And so we began the process of clearing out and holding with more and more trained Iraqi forces, and now the Iraqi forces are helping to rebuild these cities.
Democracy‘s only going to succeed if people say,
My life is going to be better.‘ I mean, it‘s no different than a campaign here, you know,
Vote for me. I want to help improve your life.‘
And that‘s what — and so the strategy has been to — let me just say, we adjusted our strategy. And there‘s about 200,000-plus capable units.
Now, not all of them are ready to take the fight to the enemy. In order to have a division or a battalion ready to fight, you got to be able to communicate, you got to be able to move, you got to be able to have logistical supplies. But more and more the Iraqis are in the lead in the fight, and more and more Iraqis are being trained so they can hold the positions once we clear.
We haven‘t completed the job of training the Iraqis. But what is beginning to happen is, is that you‘re beginning to see our troops step back from the fight.
I don‘t know if you realized, we had some 90 bases in Iraq.
And I think we‘ve closed about 40 — or turned over; closed or turned over 40 of those bases to the Iraqis.
In other words, our profile is beginning to move back as the Iraqis get trained up, so that we can continue working on training and also help them chase down Zarqawi and his buddies.
These guys are very tough and they‘re cold-blooded killers. The enemy‘s got one weapon. See, they can‘t defeat us militarily. What they can do is that they can and will kill innocent people in the hopes of trying to get the United States of America to leave the battlefield early.
The only way we can lose is if we lose our nerve. And they know that. And they‘ve stated that publicly.
But the training is going much better than it was in the first year. And we‘ve just got more to do and we need to do it, because a free Iraq, again, will be an important ally in this war.
This is a global struggle we‘re in. This isn‘t an enemy that is isolated: kind of, an angry group of people.
These are people that have got a totalitarian vision. They‘ve got designs and ambitions. They‘ve laid our their strategy and they explained their tactics. And we‘ve got to listen to them and take them seriously.
And part of their tactics is to create vacuums so that their hateful ideology flows in.
Listen, the attack of September the 11th was a part of a broad strategy to get us to retreat from the world.
And people say, He‘s making it up, that they want to want to establish a totalitarian empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia. I‘m telling you what they said, not me. This is what Zawahiri has said, the number two man in al-Qaida.
It seems like, to me, we need to take it seriously when the enemy says something.
Kind of getting off subject here.
QUESTION: Mr. President, I‘m a proud U.S. citizen, naturalized, and a card-carrying Republican. I voted for you both times.
I grew up in India, a Sunni. In fact, the president of the Republic of India is a Sunni. And I think it‘s a great testimony to this nation, the vision of which was laid out within a half a mile of here, that somebody like me can be in a position of leadership and be successfully engaged in contributing to the current and future economic well-being of this nation.
Mr. President, I support your efforts in Iraq, but I‘d like to know, what are we going to do in the broader battle in creating a favorable image and reaching out to people across the world, so that people like me all over the world can be passionate supporters of the United States?
BUSH: I appreciate that.
First of all, success will help the image of the United States.
Look, I recognize we got an image issue, particularly when you got Arabic television stations that are constantly just pounding America, you know, saying, America is fighting Islam. Americans can‘t stand Muslims. This is a war against a religion.
And we‘ve got to, obviously, do a better job of reminding people that ours is not a nation that rejects religion; ours is a nation that accepts people of all faith, and that the great strength of America is the capacity for people to worship freely.
It‘s difficult. I mean, their propaganda machine is pretty darn intense. And so we‘re constantly sending out messages. We‘re constantly trying to reassure people. But we‘re also acting.
And that‘s what‘s important for our citizens to realize. Our position in the world is such that I don‘t think we can retreat. I think we have a duty and an obligation to use our vast influence to help.
BUSH: I cite two examples of where I think American image in the Muslim world will be improved.
One is the tsunami. When the tsunamis hit, it was the United States military, through the USS Abraham Lincoln, that provided the logistical organization necessary to save a lot of lives.
We moved. A lot of people, kind of, sat around and discussed; not us. We saw a problem and we moved.
Same in Pakistan. The earthquake in Pakistan is devastating. The United States of America was first on the scene. Got a lot of kids flying choppers all around that country providing help and aid.
And so I guess what I‘m saying to you is that a proper use of influence that helps improve people‘s lives is the best way to change the image of our country and to defeat the propaganda.
Having said all that, a lot of people want to come to America. You know, the image may be bad, but given a change, All of you who want to come to America raise your hand, there‘s a lot wanting to come. That‘s another issue, which is immigration reform.
But thank you for that.
Once thing America must never do is lose our capacity to take people from all walks of life and help them become an American first and foremost. That‘s what distinguishes us from other cultures and other nations. You can come from wherever you are and I can come from Texas, and we both share the same deal: We‘re Americans first and foremost.
I happen to be a Methodist, you‘re a Sunni.
QUESTION: Mr. President, I would like to know why it is that you and others in your administration keep linking 9/11 to the invasion of Iraq when no respected journalists or Middle Eastern expert confirmed that such a link existed.
BUSH: What did she — I missed the question. Sorry.
I beg your pardon. I didn‘t hear you. Seriously.
QUESTION: I would like to know why you and others in your administration invoke 9/11 as justification for the invasion of Iraq when no respected journalists or other Middle Eastern experts confirm that such a link existed.
BUSH: Oh, I appreciate that.
9/11 changed my look on foreign policy. I mean, it said that oceans no longer protect us; that we can‘t take threats for granted; that if we see a threat, we‘ve got to deal with it. It doesn‘t have to be militarily necessarily but we got to deal with it. We can‘t just hope for the best anymore.
So the first decision I made, as you know, was to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan because they were harboring terrorists. This is where the terrorists plan and plotted.
And the second decision — which was a very difficult decision for me, by the way, and it‘s one that I didn‘t take lightly — was that Saddam Hussein was a threat. He is a declared enemy of the United States. He had used weapons of mass destruction. The entire world thought he had weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations had declared in more than 10 — I can‘t remember the exact number of resolutions — that disclose or disarm or face serious consequences.
I mean, there was a serious international effort to say to Saddam Hussein:
You‘re a threat.‘ And the 9/11 attacks accentuated that threat, as far as I‘m concerned.
And so we gave Saddam Hussein the chance to disclose or disarm. And he refused.
And I made a tough decision. And knowing what I know today, I‘d make the decision again. Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country.
Last question. I‘ve actually got something to do. You‘re paying me all this money; I‘d better get back to work.
QUESTION: Mr. President, I‘m a supporter of yours.
BUSH: Oops, that, kind of, prejudices your question.
QUESTION: Well, I have a question for you. Do you feel that since invading Iraq, the threat of terrorism on U.S. soil has been reduced significantly?
BUSH: I think it‘s been reduced. I don‘t think we‘re safe.
What‘ll really give me confidence to say that we‘re safe is when I can tell the American people we‘ve got the capacity to know exactly where the enemy is moving.
In other words, this is a different kind of war. These people hide. They‘re patient and they‘re sophisticated. And that‘s why our intelligence-gathering is really important.
You know, occasionally they come out and want to fight like they‘re doing in Iraq.
This guy Zarqawi has sworn his allegiance to bin Laden. He‘s declared his intentions.
But there‘s a lot of them who lurk and hide. And what we‘ve really got to do is continue to hone our intelligence-gathering to make sure that we can, as best as possible, understand their intents and watch their movements.
This requires international cooperation. I will tell you, the international cooperation when it comes to sharing intelligence is good.
It requires us being able to cut off their money. They move money around. It turns out they can‘t launch attacks without money. And so we‘re doing the best we can to work with others to find out where their money‘s moving, and that way it‘ll give us a chance to find out where they are.
The long run in this war is going to require a change of governments in parts of the world. And this is why it‘s very important for me to continue to remind the American people about what‘s taken place in history.
One of my favorite stories is to tell people about — or go by is to tell people about my relationship with Koizumi — Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan. He‘s an interesting guy. He likes Elvis, for example, which is interesting.
And he‘s a friend. He‘s also a friend when it comes to peace. He‘s a reliable, steady ally when it comes to dealing with North Korea .
North Korea is a country that has declared boldly they‘ve got nuclear weapons. They counterfeit our money. And they‘re starving their people to death.
And it‘s good to have an ally that understands human rights and the condition of the human being are vital for this world and world peace.
And yet 60 years ago, my dad fought against the Japanese. Many of your relatives did as well. They were the sworn enemy of the United States.
I find it amazing. I don‘t know if you find it amazing. I find it amazing that I sit down with this guy, strategizing about how to make the world a more peaceful place when my dad and others fought them.
And so what happened? Now, 60 years seems like along time, particularly if you‘re 59 like me.
But it‘s not all that long in history, when you think about it. And what happened was, a Japanese-style democracy emerged.
Democracies yield the peace. That‘s what history has shown us.
That‘s why I tried to say in my peroration in this speech. That‘s a long word. I‘m doing it for Senator Specter.
Just showing off, Senator. Just trying to look good in front of the folks here at home.
But it‘s an accurate portrayal of what has happened. Democracy healed the peace.
So the fundamental question is, do we have the confidence and universal values to help change a troubled part of the world?
If you‘re a supporter of Israel , I would strongly urge you to help other countries become democracies. Israel‘s long-term survival depends upon the spread of democracy in the Middle East.
I fully recognize that some say it‘s impossible; maybe only a certain kind of people can accept democracy. I reject that. I don‘t agree with that.
I believe the desire to be free is universal. That‘s what I believe. And if you believe that, then you got to act on it.
That doesn‘t mean militarily. But that means using the influence of the United States to work with others to help freedom spread.
And that‘s what you‘re seeing in Iraq.
And it‘s hard. It‘s hard for a country that has come from dictatorship two and a half years ago to become a democracy. It is hard work.
There‘s a lot of resentment and anger and bitterness. But I believe it‘s going to happen.
And the only way it won‘t happen is if we leave, if we lose our nerve, if we allow the terrorists to achieve their objective.
The only way we can lose this is for us to say to the terrorists:
Maybe you aren‘t dangerous, after all. You know, by leaving, oh, maybe that you‘ll become hospitable, you know, decent citizens of the world.
That‘s not reality.
And my job as the president is to see the world the way it is, not the way we hope it is.
I again want to thank you for giving me the chance to come and deliver this speech. I‘m grateful for your interests.
May God bless you all and may God continue to bless America.