President Bush gave another great speech at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska today. You can read it all here, and really should. It reiterates the points he has hammered away at for a long time, laying out, once again, his strategy for victory in the war against Islamic terrorists.
What strikes me about this speech is that he has ratcheted up the rhetoric against both of his chief enemies, al Qaeda and the Democratic Party. About the terrorists, he said this:
[A] clear strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face. For more than four years, we’ve seen the brutal nature of the terrorists. They’ve targeted the innocent in many countries, people from all walks of life. In Casablanca, they killed diners enjoying their evening meal. In Bali, they killed tourists who were on a holiday. In Beslan, they killed Russian school children. They’ve murdered workers in Riyadh, commuters in Madrid, and hotel guests in Jakarta, and guests at a wedding celebration in Amman, Jordan. They kill Iraqi children in Baghdad.
Translation, for our liberal friends: terrorism didn’t start with the invasion of Iraq. Bush continues:
The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter century: They hit us, and they expect us to run. The terrorists witnessed our response after the attacks on American troops in Beirut in 1983, and in Mogadishu in 1993, and they concluded that America can be made to run again — only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences. The terrorists are mistaken. America will never run. We will stand, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror. (Applause.) ***
In Afghanistan, we put the terrorists on the run, we routed them, and now they’ve set their sights on another country. They’re trying to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban — a terrorist sanctuary from which they can plan and launch attacks against our people. The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.
These militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain. If they are not stopped, the terrorists will be able to advance their agenda to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to break our will and blackmail our government into isolation. I make you this solemn commitment: That’s not going to happen so long as I’m the President of the United States. (Applause.)
Which brings us to the alternative: the Democrats. Here’s what the President had to say about them:
Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war, but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my administration and members of the United States Congress from both political parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq, and reached the same conclusion: Saddam Hussein was a threat.
Let me give you some quotes from three senior Democrat leaders: First, and I quote, “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons.” Another senior Democrat leader said, “The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.” Here’s another quote from a senior Democrat leader: “Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think the President is approaching this in the right fashion.”
They spoke the truth then, and they’re speaking politics now. (Applause.)
The truth is that investigations of intelligence on Iraq have concluded that only one person manipulated evidence and misled the world — and that person was Saddam Hussein. ***
Some of our elected leaders have opposed this war all along. I disagreed with them, but I respect their willingness to take a consistent stand. Yet some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. And that’s irresponsible.
As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them into war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)
Bush needs to keep giving this kind of speech every couple of days for the foreseeable future. There is a limit to the MSM’s ability to censor his message by not reporting his speeches, as they have so often done throughout his Presidency. Sooner or later, if he keeps pounding away, the message will get through. And it is a powerful message indeed.