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.