Skip to comments.Bush declares terror war is 'struggle for civilization'
Posted on 09/11/2006 7:02:04 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON -- President Bush, marking five years since the Sept. 11 attacks, said Monday the war against terror is nothing less than "a struggle for civilization" and must be fought to the end. He said defeat would surrender the Middle East to radical dictators with nuclear weapons.
"We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations," Bush said in remarks prepared for a prime-time address from the Oval Office. Two months before November elections, the president attempted to spell out in graphic terms the stakes he sees in the unpopular war in Iraq and the broader war on terror.
The address was coming at the end of a day in which Bush honored the memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks that rocked his presidency and thrust the United States into a costly and unfinished war against terror.
"Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead," he said.
It was a day of mourning, remembrance and resolve. Before his address, Bush visited New York, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon to place wreaths and console relatives of the victims.
Five years ago, the attacks transformed Bush's presidency and awakened the world to Osama bin Laden -- who is still at large -- and his band of al-Qaida terrorists. While the public has soured on the war in Iraq, which Bush calls the central front in the war on terror, the president still gets high marks for his handling of Sept. 11.
Terrorism has been a potent political issue for Republicans, and they hope to capitalize on it in the November elections. GOP lawmakers are anxious about holding control of both houses of Congress.
Congress has approved $432 billion for Iraq and the war on terrorism. At least 2,666 U.S. servicemen and women have died in Iraq. The toll in Afghanistan is 272.
"America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over," the president said. "And so do I. But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious."
"If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons," Bush said. "We are in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world."
White House officials said Bush's speech was not intended to outline new strategy. Rather, it was portrayed as an appeal for unity and a commitment to win the struggle against terror at a time when the war in Iraq is widely opposed. There was no mention of Iraq in the excerpts of the speech, but officials said Bush would talk about it in his address.
"This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations," the president said. "In truth it is a struggle for civilization." He said the United States was standing with democratic leaders and reformers, offering a path away from radicalism.
"Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country," the president said. "So we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. ... We will defeat our enemies."
While Bush urged resolve, the two co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission accused the Bush administration and Congress of a continued lack of urgency in protecting the country. About half of their 41 recommendations to better secure Americans, offered in July 2004, have become law.
"Where in the world have we been for five years?" said former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., who was joined by his Republican counterpart, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean. Hamilton spoke of failures to put first responders on the same radio spectrum so they can talk to each other during an emergency -- as firefighters and police officers who died in the World Trade Center could not in 2001.
The 9/11 attacks changed the political tone in Washington and abroad -- but only briefly.
"We had an astonishing moment of unity in America and around the world," former President Clinton told a Jewish conference in Washington. That has given way to bitter political divisions between Democrats and Republicans. Many nations that rushed to stand with the United States now accuse the Bush administration of failing to honor human rights, tolerance and diversity of cultures.
Still, dozens of lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, joined on the steps of the Capitol Monday to remember the attacks, singing "God Bless America" as they had five years ago.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday, "Five years later, we have to continue to move forward with unity, urgency and in the spirit of international cooperation, because we are not yet fully healed and not yet as safe as we should be."
Bush began the day in New York with firefighters and police officers at a Lower East Side firehouse. He stood in front of a door salvaged from a fire truck destroyed on Sept. 11. It was a cloudless morning reminiscent of the sunny day when two hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
The mourners silently bowed their heads, at 8:46 a.m. and again at 9:03 a.m., marking the moments when the planes slammed into the towers. The attacks killed 2,749 people.
Bush spent time talking with the first responders about what they had been through the last five years, spokesman Tony Snow said.
The next stop was in Shanksville, Pa., where Bush and his wife stood without umbrellas in a chilly rain to lay a wreath honoring the 40 passengers and crew killed when United Airlines Flight 93 plowed into a Pennsylvania field. The terrorists apparently had been planning on crashing the plane into the White House or the Capitol until passengers stormed the cockpit to take control.
"We stand here today with pride because of heroism," said Hamilton Peterson, whose father and stepmother died when the plane went down.
The Rev. Paul H. Britton, whose brother, Marion Britton, died on Flight 93, offered a prayer for all as well as for Bush, whom he called "our conscience and our heart."
Bush had an emotional meeting with relatives of the Shanksville victims. "There were some people who were still clearly grieving about what happened five years ago," Snow said.
Terrorism is a cancer. If it is not removed, it will kill the host (us)
same article titled differently and posted earlier as
Bush: Put Aside Differences on Terrorism
Great speech from the President, one of the best. God Bless President Bush!
I would rather have a good plan today than a perfect plan two weeks from now.
General George S. Patton quote
At one time I would argue that if we left Iraq now many people would be killed similarly to the way many died in Viet Nam. I am still sure that is correct.
However now we must look at the facts. Islam is spreading, they are planting people in every nation, they are actively pursuing a course of world domination. If we leave they will grow stronger, they will eventually become nuclear ,and they will eventually grow strong enough to challenge any other country in the world including the United States. Many countries are even now becoming overwhelmed by islamic immigrants,some parts of our own countryare overpopulated with people who wish to live in America like they lived in their former Arab countries.
george bush is correct, we must stop this now or our grandchildren will be wearing Burka's and kneeling toward Mecca.
PMS-NBCers immediately were on there after the speech saying it was election year politics. Imagine the reaction if the brown shirts had said that during WW2 - they would have been arrested. Therefore .....
In this video frame grab taken from television, President Bush addresses the nation from the Oval Office in Washington, Monday Sept. 11, 2006. (AP Photo/APTN)
U.S. President George W. Bush sits in the Oval Office at the White House after delivering his address to the nation on the fifth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks when hijackers crashed airliners into icons of U.S. finance and government, in Washington September 11, 2006. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES)
The main question is: Is it possible to civilize them.
...and I strongly suspect the answer is no.
Once we went to war with Iraq there was no acceptable reason to withdraw our troops without a clear victory and stable civilian government. That goal must remain.
President Bush reacts as he meets with friends and family members of victims at the Pentagon shortly after he laid a wreath marking the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
US President George W. Bush wipes his eye as he meets with families of the victims of the September 11th attacks on the U.S. at the Pentagon in Washington September 11, 2006. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES)
I share your sentiment.
9/11 -- Never Again, Always, and Forever, Never Again!
I sincerely hope that beneath all of this that plans are being made to do something about Iran. Over and over we hear how they are the head of the snake. I know we can't nuke 'em at this point, but short of that we've simply got to get busy reducing their ability to wreak havoc all over the world with their puppet regimes.
What a president! He is absolutely inspired.
I am not so sure we didnt attack the wrong country, more and more it seems Iran is more dangerous. That part no longer matters. the Iraq war whether justified or not has only forced us to face Islamic Fascists sooner , rather than later.
Those who believe this war with radical Islamics would have never started if we had stayed in the Unbited States are wrong. It just started the festivities before the Jihadi's were ready. The Islamics hated anyone not Islamic long before the US went to Iraq, hell, they even hate each other. We should really be thankful it started before we were infiltrated worse than we are.
Our biggst mistake now IMO is in allowing any more Islamic immigrations or students into this country.
Its been a rough day on the President today. Many emotional feelings. Hope he has a quiet night.
Anyone watching the History Channel right now? Countdown to ground Zero, First time I've seen it, Pretty good so far..Check it out.
Two months before November elections, the president attempted to spell out in graphic terms the stakes he sees in the unpopular war in Iraq and the broader war on terror.
Terence, first of all, the speech was made in honor of and in response to 9/11, and therefore was made on September 11th, not because it is two months before the election. Jerk.
Second, the President didn't "attempt to spell out" some sort of political message. He said clearly and honestly what needs to be said.
Third, it's not an "unpopular war in Iraq" except with the traitor left, their media enablers, and those less than perceptive people whom "reporters" like you have succeeded in brainwashing. Get with the program, like the President said, or our civilization will die.
"Bush declares terror war is 'struggle for civilization'"
Thank goodness. I was wondering if he got that.
Amazing speech. Couldn't agree more with every word the President said. I was really impressed. Very strong nad direct and to the point. Impressive. This is a war to save civilization. Those in our civilization who don't get that are liabilities, and if they don't get with the program, they'll get us all killed.
'The Calling of Our Generation'
President's Address to the Nation
The Oval Office
9:01 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Five years ago, this date -- September the 11th -- was seared into America's memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history. They murdered people of all colors, creeds, and nationalities -- and made war upon the entire free world. Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war unlike any we have fought before.
Today, we are safer, but we are not yet safe. On this solemn night, I've asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.
On 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil. Yet on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion, and responding with extraordinary acts of courage. We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers -- and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love. We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm -- and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke -- and ran back in to answer cries for help. On this day, we remember the innocent who lost their lives -- and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.
For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh. I've met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of fallen comrades. I've stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania, who take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims -- and gave America our first victory in the war on terror. I've sat beside young mothers with children who are now five years old -- and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms. Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.
Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy -- but not without purpose. We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam -- a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations. The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century, and the calling of our generation.
Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century -- and determine the destiny of millions across the world.
For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy -- it changed the way we look at the world. On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them. So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We put al Qaeda on the run, and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks, including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned by the Central Intelligence Agency, and they provided valuable information that has helped stop attacks in America and across the world. Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay, so they can be held to account for their actions. Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice.
On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before they reach our shores, whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states. I'm often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. My administration, the Congress, and the United Nations saw the threat -- and after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.
Al Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have joined the remnants of Saddam's regime and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out. Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed -- but so are Iraqi and coalition forces. We're adapting to stay ahead of the enemy, and we are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds.
We're training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We're helping Iraq's unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. Osama bin Laden calls this fight "the Third World War" -- and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's "defeat and disgrace forever." If we yield Iraq to men like bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened; they will gain a new safe haven; they will use Iraq's resources to fuel their extremist movement. We will not allow this to happen. America will stay in the fight. Iraq will be a free nation, and a strong ally in the war on terror.
We can be confident that our coalition will succeed because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. And we can be confident in victory because of the skill and resolve of America's Armed Forces. Every one of our troops is a volunteer, and since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation's uniform. In Iraq, Afghanistan, and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have suffered terrible injuries -- and nearly 3,000 have given their lives. America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will never back down from the work they have begun.
We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe, and we are giving them the tools they need to protect our people. We've created the Department of Homeland Security. We have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information. We've tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders, and we've created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls. Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.
Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil, but they've not been idle. Al Qaeda and those inspired by its hateful ideology have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States. They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens -- and we are determined to stop them. We'll continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.
In the first days after the 9/11 attacks I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists, wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower. They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, girls enrolling in schools, or families worshiping God in their own traditions. They know that given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we're fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.
We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.
With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we're offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free.
Across the broader Middle East, the extremists are fighting to prevent such a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it -- sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle. When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima -- but he would not have been surprised at the outcome. When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall -- but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down. Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged, and every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.
At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty, and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity. We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground, but the talent and creativity of their people. We look to the day when moms and dads throughout the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children. And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part, the appeal of radicalism will decline, and we will leave our children with a better and safer world.
On this solemn anniversary, we rededicate ourselves to this cause. Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country, and we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. We will defeat our enemies. We will protect our people. And we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.
Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. That day I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son, Patrick, accept his commission in the finest Army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City. On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th -- and never came home. His sons lost their father that day, but not the passion for service he instilled in them. Here is what RoseEllen says about her boys: "As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety -- but as worried as I am, I'm also proud, and I know their dad would be, too."
Our nation is blessed to have young Americans like these -- and we will need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. They're not the first to try, and their fate will be the same as those who tried before. Nine-Eleven showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did, but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer, came to the aid of neighbors in need, and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word. The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose, and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.
Thank you, and may God bless you.
END 9:18 P.M. EDT
I didn't get to watch but just from what I've read above FINALY Why has it taken so long for him to deliver a speech like this and Folks He's Right GOD HELP US AND BLESS US.
There are hundreds of cells in this country. They all need to be kicked out.
Bout damn time.
We should start with two of the biggest enemies to our way of life. CAIR and the ACLU.
You have that right. There's nobody getting to run with the solid leadership capability of President Bush. All on the left are obligated to the kook fringe and I don't seen many strong Republicans. Most would take this back to the Clinton era legal battles in the courts and not prosecute a war. I'm afraid the decades-long war on terror may be over in the first inning -- with us losing.
You're absoluty right, and I give it 4-6 months, maybe less, before we're out of Iraq, and the Stan, another 2-3 months We will be attacked again, and it probably will be worse than 911. Homicide bombers accross the country.. I PRAY that it doesn't get a chance to happen..
Yes they have and I've wachted just about all of them..I didn't care to much for the National Geografic special, especialy towards the end when they had gorlick, clark and the rest of liberal hack jods in that Kangaroo court. Wasn't worth the paper it was printed on..I have noticed since Abc's path to 911 that more people are talking about slick willy's role in 911..Love it
I'm of the opinion our most pressing threat was neither Iran or Iraq, but Pakistan, as it remains today.
Whatever else they believe I don't see McCain or Giuliani running away from the GWOT.
Speaking of kooks, did anyone catch the CSPAN press conference of Press for the Truth with some family members wanting to press for yet another investigation? They want the truth about 911?
And we will damn well do something about that. We have NOT lost and we WILL NOT lose!
i am in no way a pak. apologist, but from everything i have read, musharraf (sp) is walking a fine line domestically. There have been multiple attempts to kill him, and presumably if he pushes too far too much, he will indeed be killed. For bush, the question is what can replace musharraf that would be stable and more favorable to the united states? I honestly don't know what junta or government party that would be.
I don't expect anyone to match Bush as the leader of the WOT. And surely any Democrat would be very dangerous at this point. But for any decent Republican good enough to get his party's nomination, I think the public war weariness would be more of an influence on the campaign (in emphasis) than on their governance once in office.
Very good speech by W. tonight. He said all the right things in the limited time he feels he can take.
With Bush's strong statements in recent weeks, I'm now paying attention to what he's saying again. Hope more voters are, too.
It's easy to say Iran is the most serious threat now. But we didn't have resolutions against Iran then, they weren't at the stage they are now or with that maniac in charge at the time. We were forced to look at Saddam's decade of threats about destroying our country and his noncompliance with agreements at the end of the Gulf War. We couldn't just take his word so we took action. If we had such a tough time with Iraq, what would we have had with Iran? We are forced to deal with the Middle East in particular because they live that culture of terrorism and those regimes offer the most likely place for al Qaeda, the terrorism that struck us on 9/11, to get WMD and deal a more severe blow. That's why Demonrats and the people that say only Bin Laden, Afghanistan are the problem got it all wrong because we have to be on offense and take out these barbarians.