President Bush reiterated his battle plan with extraordinary clarity, passion and eloquence in his address to AIPAC today: “Our nation is stronger and safer with Israel as ally.” Here’s some of the good stuff:
Our nation, and the nation of Israel, have much in common. We’re both relatively young nations, born of struggle and sacrifice. We’re both founded by immigrants escaping religious persecution in other lands. We have both built vibrant democracies, built on the rule of law and market economies. And we’re both countries founded on certain basic beliefs: that God watches over the affairs of men, and values every life. (Applause.)
These ties have made us natural allies, and these ties will never be broken. (Applause.) In the past, however, there was one great difference in the experience of our two nations: The United States, through most of our history, has been protected by vast oceans to our east and west, and blessed with friendly neighbors to our north and south. Israel has faced a different situation as a small country in a tough neighborhood. The Israeli people have always had enemies at their borders and terrorists close at hand. Again and again, Israel has defended itself with skill and heroism. And as a result of the courage of the Israeli people, Israel has earned the respect of the American people. (Applause.)…
We saw the nature of this enemy again in recent days when terrorists in Iraq beheaded an American citizen, Nicholas Berg. The message that accompanied the videotape of this brutal slaying promised more such atrocities. Here’s what the killer said, “We will send you coffin after coffin, box after box, slaughtered in this way.” The faces of the terrorists were cloaked, but we have seen their kind before.
Followers of the terrorist ideology executed an elderly man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, and pushed his body off the side of a ship into the sea. They kidnapped the journalist, Daniel Pearl, and cut his throat, because he was a Jew. This enemy has left blood on the streets of Jakarta and Jerusalem, Casablanca and Riyadh, Mombasa and Istanbul, Bali, Baghdad and Madrid. They have declared war on the civilized world — and war is what they got. (Applause.)
America is on the offensive, and we will stay on the offensive until the terrorists are stopped and our people are safe. (Applause.) I will use every asset at our disposal to do our most important job, which is to protect the American people. (Applause.) And that includes the United States military. We have come to know the skill and the courage of the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.) They have fulfilled every mission their country has given to them. They and their families have endured long deployments and uncertainty. Our men and women in uniform have fought in mountain passes and desert sands in the remotest part of the world. They’ve lost brave friends and comrades, who will always be remembered and honored by a grateful nation. (Applause.)
They have done all this to defend our country and to advance the cause of freedom and peace. And their loved ones, and those who wear our uniform, must know that America is very grateful to their service. (Applause.)…
My resolve is firm. (Applause.) The resolve of the American people is solid. Our military is skilled, spirits are high. They are determined to succeed. We understand the stakes are high for America and for the world. We will not be intimidated by thugs and assassins. We will win this essential important victory in the war on terror. (Applause.)
This is an historic moment. The world watches for weakness in our resolve. They will see no weakness. We will answer every challenge. U.S. Army soldiers and Iraqi security forces are systematically destroying the illegal militia in the south of Iraq. (Applause.) Coalition forces are working with Iraqis in Fallujah to end control by Saddam loyalists and foreign fighters. (Applause.) We’re building up Iraqi security forces so they can safeguard their own country. We’re flexible in our methods, but our goal is unchanging: Iraq will be free, and Iraq will be a democratic nation. (Applause.)…
We are living through historic times. We are called to do important work in the world. We will stand together against bigotry in every land and every language. We will answer violent men with patient, determined justice. We will expand human freedom and the peace that freedom brings. And by our resolve, and by our courage, we will prevail. (Applause.)
You will want to be sure to read all of this outstanding speech.