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Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.


National Security Portion of Bush's Pennsylvania Speech  | e-mail post

This probably won't get much coverage, since there is so much attention being paid to the fact that Iraq didn't have WMD stockpiles, which I thought everyone argeed with. No headlines are leading with the fact that they were engaged in conventional weapons development in violation of UN sanctions, or that Iraq apparently had plans to spin up their WMD development when they were no longer subject to international scrutiny.

In any event, what follows is the national security portion of George Bush's speech in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, pulled from the Washington Post transcript. For readability, I have removed all of the "(APPLAUSE)" and "(LAUGHTER)" notations, but it should be otherwise unchanged.

It's a good speech, in my opinion, although I am basing that on reading it, not seeing or hearing it. Certainly not so Machiavellian as I was in my post yesterday, but he does lay out that from an active risk reduction standpoint (i.e. reducing the probability of the harm materializing rather than mitigating the impact of the harm), going after Iraq made sense.

In any event, here are President George Bush's remarks on national security from his Pennsylvaia speech:
Our differences are also clear on issues of national security. When I took office in 2001, threats to America had been gathering for years. Then on one terrible morning, the terrorists took more lives than America lost at Pearl Harbor.

Since that day we have waged a global campaign to protect the American people and bring our enemies to account. Our government has trained over a half a million first responders. We tripled spending on homeland security. Law enforcement intelligence have better tools to stop terrorists thanks to the Patriot Act -- which Senator Kerry voted for, but now wants to weaken.

The Taliban regime that sheltered Al Qaida is gone from power and the people of Afghanistan will vote in free elections this very week.

A black market network that provided weapons materials to North Korea and Libya and Iran is now out of business.

Libya itself has given up its weapons of mass destruction programs.

We convinced Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to join the fight against the terrorists. And more than three-quarters of Al Qaida's key members and associates have been brought to justice.

After September the 11th, America had to assess every potential threat in a new light. Our nation awakened to an even greater danger: the prospect that terrorists who killed thousands with hijacked airplanes would kill many more with weapons of mass murder.

We had to take a hard look at everyplace where terrorists might get those weapons and one regime stood out: the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

We knew the dictator had a history of using weapons of mass destruction, a long record of aggression and hatred for America. He was listed by Republican and Democrat administrations as a state sponsor of terrorists.

There was a risk, a real risk, that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or materials or information to terrorist networks.

In the world after September the 11th, that was a risk we could not afford to take.

After 12 years of United Nations Security Council resolutions, we gave him a final chance to come clean and listen to the demands of the free world.

We've had many victories in the war on terror and that war goes on. Our nation is safer but not yet safe.

To win this war, we must fight on every front. We'll stay on the offensive against terrorist networks, striking them before they come to America to hurt us. We'll confront governments that support terrorists and could arm them, because they're equally guilty of terrorist murder.

And our long-term victory requires confronting the ideology of hate with freedom and hope.

Our victory requires changing the conditions that produce radicalism and suicide bombers and finding new democratic allies in a troubled part of the region. America is always more secure when freedom is on the march and freedom is on the march in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere.

There will be good days and there will be bad days in the war on terror. But every day we will show our resolve and we will do our duty. This nation is determined: We will stay in the fight until the fight is won.

My opponent agrees with all this except when he doesn't.

Last week in our debate, he once again came down firmly on every side of the Iraq war. He stated that Saddam Hussein was a threat and that America had no business removing that threat.

Senator Kerry said our soldiers and Marines are not fighting for a mistake but also called the liberation of Iraq a colossal error. He said we need to do more to train Iraqis, but he also said we shouldn't be spending so much money over there.

He said he wants to hold a summit meeting so he can invite other countries to join what he calls the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He said terrorists are pouring across the Iraqi border but also said that fighting those terrorists is a diversion from the war on terror.

You hear all that and you can understand why somebody would make a face. My opponent's endless back and forth on Iraq is part of a larger misunderstanding. In the war on terror, Senator Kerry is proposing policies and doctrines that would weaken America and make the world more dangerous. Senator Kerry approaches the world with a September-the-10th mindset.

He declared in his convention speech that any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. That was the mindset of the 1990s, while al Qaeda was planning the attacks on America.

After September the 11th, our object in the war on terror is not to wait for the next attack and respond, but to prevent attacks by taking the fight to the enemy.

In our debate, Senator Kerry said that removing Saddam Hussein was a mistake because the threat was not imminent. The problem with this approach is obvious: If America waits until a threat is at our doorstep, it might be too late to save lives.

Tyrants and terrorists will not give us polite notice before they launch an attack on our country.

I refuse to stand by while dangers gather. In the world after September the 11th, the path to safety is the path of action. And I will continue to defend the people of the United States of America.

My opponent has also announced the Kerry doctrine, declaring that Americans actions in the war on terror must pass a global test.

Under this test, America would not be able to act quickly against threats because we're sitting around waiting for our grade from other nations and other leaders.

I have a different view. America will always work with allies for security and peace, but the president's job is not to pass a global test. The president's job is to protect the American people. Thank you all.

When my opponent first ran for Congress, he argued that American troops should be deployed only at the directive of the United Nations.

Now, he's changed his mind. No, he has, in all fairness. But it is a window into his thinking.

Over the years, Senator Kerry has looked for every excuse to constrain America's action in the world. These days he praises America's broad coalition in the Gulf War, but in 1991 he criticized those coalition members as, quote, shadow battlefield allies who barely carry a burden. Sounds familiar.

At that time he voted against the war. If that coalition didn't pass his global test clearly nothing will.

This mindset will paralyze America in a dangerous world. I will never hand over America's security decisions to foreign leaders and international bodies that do not have America's interests at heart.

My opponent's doctrine has other consequences, especially for our men and women in uniform.

My fellow citizens, as long as I'm your president, Americans in uniform will answer to the officers and laws of the United States, not to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

The senator speaks often about his plan to strengthen America's alliances, but he's got an odd way of doing it.

In the middle of the war, he's chosen to insult America's fighting allies by calling them window dressing and the coalition of the coerced and the bribed.

The Italians who died in Nasiriyah were not window dressing. They were heroes in the war on terror.

The British and the Poles at the head of the multinational divisions in Iraq were not coerced or bribed. They have fought and some have died in the cause of freedom. These good allies and dozens of others deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician.

Instead, the senator would have America bend over backwards to satisfy a handful of governments with agendas different from our own. This is my opponent's alliance-building strategy: brush off your best friends, fawn over your critics.

My opponent says he has a plan for Iraq. It should sound pretty familiar. It's already known as the Bush plan.

Senator Kerry suggests we train Iraqi troops, which we've been doing for months. Just this week Iraqi forces backed by coalition troops fought bravely to take the city of Samarra from terrorists and Baathist insurgents.

Senator Kerry's proposing that Iraq have elections. Those elections are already scheduled for January.

He wants the U.N. to be involved in those elections. Well, the U.N. is already there.

There was one element of Senator Kerry's plan that's a new element. He's talked about artificial timetables to pull our troops out of Iraq.

He sent the signal that America's overriding goal in Iraq would be to leave even if the job isn't done. That may satisfy his political needs, but it complicates the essential work we're doing in Iraq.

The Iraqi people need to know that America will not cut and run when their freedom is at stake. Our soldiers and Marines need to know that America will honor their service and sacrifice by completing the mission. And our enemies in Iraq need to know that they can never outlast the will of America.

Senator Kerry assures us that he's the one to win a war he calls a mistake, an error and a diversion. But you can't win a war if you don't believe in fighting.

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat. I have a strategy of victory.

We returned sovereignty to the Iraqi people ahead of schedule. We've trained about 100,000 Iraqi soldiers police officers and other security personnel and that total will rise to 125,000 by year-end.

We've already allocated more than $7 billion for reconstruction efforts so more Iraqis can see the benefits of freedom.

And although the terrorists will try to stop them, Iraq will hold free elections in January, because the Iraqi people want and deserve to govern themselves.

I understand some Americans have strong concerns about our role in Iraq. I respect the fact that they take this issue seriously, because it is a serious matter.

I assure them we're in Iraq because I deeply believe it is necessary and right and critical to the outcome of the war on terror.

If another terror regime were allowed to emerge in Iraq, the terrorists would find a home, a source of funding, vital support. They would correctly conclude that free nations do not have the will to defend themselves.

If Iraq becomes a free society at the heart of the Middle East, an ally in the war on terror, a model of hopeful reform in a region that needs hopeful reform, the terrorists will suffer a crushing defeat and every free nation will be more secure.

This is why Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman calls Iraq, a crucial battle in the global war on terrorism.

This is why Prime Minister Tony Blair has called the struggle in Iraq, the crucible in which the future of global terrorism will be determined.

This is why the terrorists are fighting with desperate cruelty. They know their own future is at stake.

Iraq is no diversion. It is the place where civilization is taking a decisive stand against chaos and terror. And we must not waver.

Unfortunately, my opponent has been known to waver. His well-chosen words and rationalizations cannot explain why he voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein and then voted against money for bullets and vehicles and body armor for the troops on the ground. He tried to clear it all up by saying, I actually did vote for the $87 billion dollars before I voted against it.

Now he says he made a mistake in how he talked about the war.

The mistake here is not what Senator Kerry said, the mistake is what he did in voting against funding for Americans in combat. That is the kind of wavering a nation at war can never afford.

As a candidate, my opponent promises to defend America. The problem is that the senator, for two decades, he has built a record of weakness.

The record shows he twice led efforts to gut our intelligence service budgets. The record shows he voted against many of the weapons that won the Cold War and are vital to current military operations. And the record shows he has voted more than 50 times against missile defense systems that would help protect us from the threats of a dangerous world.

I have a record in office as well and all Americans have seen that record.

On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the twin towers and it's a day I will never forget. There were workers in hard hats yelling at me, Whatever it takes.

These men and women there took it personally. You took it personally. I took it personally.

I have a responsibility that goes on. I wake up every morning thinking about how to make our country more secure. I have acted again and again to protect our people. I will never relent in defending America whatever it takes.


e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Wednesday, October 06, 2004
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