Driving home tonight, I listened to Hugh Hewitt’s show; Hugh was playing President Bush’s magnificent speech to an audience of soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado. The full text of the speech is available at the White House site, but the written text, while excellent, cannot convey the President’s conviction, or the enthusiasm with which he was received by the troops. It’s too bad that more people don’t hear these speeches; the relentless power of the President’s logic is an antidote to the demoralizing mush that mostly constitutes the news.
These paragraphs are the guts of the speech:
“This war began more than two years ago, on September the 11th, 2001, when America was attacked, and thousands of our fellow citizens were murdered. The events of that morning changed our nation. We awakened to new dangers and we accepted new responsibilities. That day we saw the harm that our enemies intend for us. And last week, we saw their cruelty again, in the murders in Istanbul. Today America, Britain and Turkey and all responsible nations are united in a great cause: We will not rest until we bring these committed killers to justice. (Applause.)
“These terrorists will not be stopped by negotiations, or by appeals to reason, or by the least hint of conscience. We have only one option: We must, and we will continue to take the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)
“We fight this war against terror on many fronts. Terrorists hide and strike within free societies, so we’re draining their bank accounts, disrupting their plans. We’re hunting them down one by one until they can no longer threaten America and other free peoples.
“Terrorists need places to hide, to plot, and to train, so we’re holding their allies, the allies of terror to account. (Applause.) Working with a fine coalition, our military went to Afghanistan, destroyed the training camps of al Qaeda, and put the Taliban out of business forever. (Applause.)
“In Iraq, where a dictator defied the world, cultivated ties to terror, armed with deadly weapons, America led a mission to make the world safer, and to liberate the Iraqi people. And that brutal dictator’s regime is no more. (Applause.) Thanks to our great military, Iraqi citizens do not have to fear the dictator’s secret police or ending in a mass grave. Thanks to our military, the torture chambers are closed, and the prison cells for children are empty. Thanks to our military, we have captured many members of the former regime, and the rest of them have a lot to worry about. (Applause.)
“Our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan is clear to our service members, and it’s clear to our enemies. America’s military is fighting to secure the freedom of more than 50 million people who recently lived under two of the cruelest dictatorships on earth. America’s military is fighting to help democracy and peace and justice rise in a troubled and violent region. And because we’re fighting terrorist enemies thousands of miles away, in the heart and center of their power, we are making the United States of America more secure. (Applause.)
“Today, American forces in Iraq are joined by about 24,000 troops from 32 other countries. Together, we’re helping the Iraqi people move steadily toward a free and democratic society. Economic life is being restored to cities of Iraq. A new Iraqi currency is circulating. Local governments are up and running. Iraq will soon begin the process of drafting a constitution, with free elections to follow. As Iraq joins — rejoins the world, it will demonstrate the power of freedom and hope to overcome resentment and hatred. And this transformation will help make America more secure. (Applause.)
“The work we are in is not easy, yet it is essential. The failure of democracy in Iraq would provide new bases for the terrorist network and embolden terrorists and their allies around the world. The failure of democracy in those countries would convince terrorists that America backs down under attack. Yet democracy will succeed in Iraq, because our will is firm and our word is good. Democracy will succeed because every month, more and more Iraqis are fighting for their own country. People we have liberated will not surrender their freedom. Democracy will succeed because the United States of America will not be intimidated by a bunch of thugs. (Applause.)”
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