Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary
October 6, 2005
President Bush Discusses the War on Terror
Today's Presidential Action:
Today, President Bush Addressed The National Endowment For Democracy On The Nature Of The Enemy We Face And The Strategy For Victory. In this new century, freedom is once again under assault. The President outlined the ideology of the terrorists and the strategy needed to defeat this danger and see freedom's victory.
- In The Four Years Since September 11th, The United States And The World Have Been Committed To Winning The War On Terror. The evil that came to our shores on September 11th has reappeared on other days and in other places. In cities across the world, we have seen images of destruction and suffering that can seem like random acts of madness but are part of a larger terrorist threat. To combat this evil, we must remember the calling of September 11th - we will confront this mortal danger to all humanity and not tire or rest until the war on terror is won.
- Muslims Are Playing A Vital Role In The War On Terror. Muslim leaders are denouncing terrorism, and the time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to denounce an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends and defiles a noble faith. Many Muslims have joined the fight against extremism. The United States is proud to stand by those who stand up for the liberty, justice, and humanity of their own tradition.
The Militant Threat And The Importance Of Winning The War On Terror
The Terrorists Serve A Clear And Focused Ideology. The ideology known as Islamic radicalism, militant Jihadism, or Islamo-fascism -- different from the religion of Islam -- exploits Islam to serve a violent political vision that calls for the murder of all those who do not share it. The followers of Islamic radicalism are bound together by their shared ideology, not by any centralized command structure. Although they fight on scattered battlefields, these terrorists share a similar ideology and vision for the world openly stated in videos, audiotapes, letters, declarations, and websites.
- First, These Extremists Are Determined To End American And Western Influence In The Middle East. Because the United States is spreading democracy and peace, we stand in the way of their radical ambitions. Al-Qaida's leader Osama Bin Laden has called on Muslims to dedicate their "resources, sons and money to driving the infidels out of their lands." To meet this goal, they hit us and expect us to run in the hope that we will repeat the sad history of Beirut in 1983 and Mogadishu in 1993 - only this time on a larger scale and with greater consequences.
- Second, The Militant Network Wants to Use The Vacuum Created By Retreat To Expand Its Power. As they once did in Afghanistan and are trying to do now in Iraq, they will seek to gain control of an entire country -- a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments.
- Third, From Their New Base, These Militants Will Seek To Establish A Radical Islamic Empire. The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East and establish a radical Islamic empire that spreads from Spain to Indonesia.
- To Accomplish Their Extremist Agenda, The Militants Thrive On The Suffering And Frustrations Of Others. The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization, exploit resentful and disillusioned young men and women, and use modern technology to multiply their destructive power.
- In Pursuit Of Their Goals, Islamic Radicals Are Empowered By Helpers And Enablers. They are sheltered and supported by authoritarian regimes -- allies of convenience like Syria and Iran -- that share the goal of hurting America and moderate Muslim governments, and that use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, America, and Jews. They are strengthened by front operations -- such as corrupted charities - and those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam. The militants are aided by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, feed conspiracy theories, and speak of a so-called American "war on Islam" -- with seldom a word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Iraq.
- This Extremism Cannot Be Given Concessions, Bribed, Or Appeased. We Must Never Accept Anything Less Than Victory. To those who argue that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our Coalition in Iraq, we must remember that we were not in Iraq on September 11, 2001. The radicals' hatred existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is an excuse. The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the Islamic militants killed more than 180 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.
Islamic Radicalism Is Another In A Line Of Bankrupt Ideologies:
The Islamic Radical Threat Of This Century Greatly Resembles The Bankrupt Ideology Of The Last. The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century.
- Like Communism, Islamic Radicalism Is Led By An Elitist Self-Appointed Vanguard That Presumes To Speak For The Muslim Masses. Bin Laden says his role is to tell Muslims "what is good for them and what is not." What this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this is the road to paradise - though he never offers to go along for the ride.
- Islamic Radicals Purposely Target Innocent Individuals For A Political Vision. This explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life seen in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Margaret Hassan, and many others. These militants have shown themselves to be enemies of not only America and Iraq, but enemies of Islam and humanity. The world has witnessed this kind of cruelty before -- the heartless zealotry that led to the gulags, the Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields.
- Islamic Radicals Pursue Totalitarian Aims. Islamic Radical leaders have endless ambitions of imperial domination, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing a future of oppression and misery -- banning dissent and books, brutalizing women, and controlling every aspect of life.
- Islamic Radicalism Is Dismissive Of Free Peoples. Zarqawi has said that Americans are "the most cowardly of God's creatures." However, it is cowardice that kills children and the elderly with car bombs, cuts the throat of a bound captive, or targets worshipers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated 50 million people from tyranny, keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of a rising democracy, and will once again destroy the enemies of freedom.
- And Like Communism, Islamic Radicalism Contains Inherent Contradictions That Doom It To Failure. By fearing freedom, distrusting human creativity, punishing change, and limiting the contributions of half the population, this ideology declares war on the idea of progress itself. The only thing modern about the militants' vision is the weapons they seek to use. The outcome of this war is not in doubt -- those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline, and collapse. Because free people believe in the future, they will own the future.
The Strategy To Win
The President Outlined The Strategy To Win The War On Terror. Defeating a broad and adaptive network requires patience, constant pressure, and strong partners. Working with these partners, the U.S. is disrupting militant conspiracies, destroying their ability to make war, and giving millions a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence.
- First, We Are Preventing Terrorist Attacks Before They Occur. We are reorganizing government for a broad and coordinated homeland defense, reforming intelligence agencies for the difficult task of tracking enemy activity, and acting, along with governments from many countries, to destroy the terrorist networks and incapacitate their leaders. We have prevented terrorist plots and Al-Qaida efforts to case targets in the United States. Because of strikes against terrorist leaders and disruption of their plots, the enemy is wounded but still capable of deadly operations around the globe. Our commitment is clear: we will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken and their leaders held to account for their acts of murder.
- Second, We Are Denying Weapons Of Mass Destruction To Outlaw Regimes And Their Terrorist Allies. Working with Great Britain, Pakistan, and other nations, we shut down A.Q. Khan's black-market operation in nuclear technology. Libya abandoned its chemical and nuclear weapons programs, as well as its long-range ballistic missiles. In the last year, America and our partners in the Proliferation Security Initiative have stopped more than a dozen shipments of suspect weapons technology -- including equipment for Iran's ballistic missile programs. This progress has reduced the danger, but not removed it. Evil men still work to gain these weapons, and we are working urgently to keep them out of their hands.
- Third, We Are Determined To Deny Radical Groups The Support And Sanctuary Of Outlaw Regimes. State sponsors like Syria and Iran have a long history of collaboration with terrorists -- and they deserve no patience from the victims of terror. The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor terrorists, because they are equally guilty of murder.
- Fourth, We Are Fighting To Deny The Militants Control Of Any Nation. The United States is fighting beside our Afghan partners against the remnants of the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies. We are working with President Musharraf to isolate the militants in Pakistan. We are fighting the terrorists and regime remnants in Iraq who seek to overthrow a democracy, claim a strategic country as a haven of terror, destabilize the Middle East, and strike America and other free nations with ever increasing violence. Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of their power -- and we are achieving this goal.
- With Iraqi Forces, The Coalition Is Fighting The Enemy With A Comprehensive And Specific Military Plan. We are improving the lives of Iraqi citizens by conducting offensive operations to clear out enemy forces and leave Iraqi units behind to prevent the enemy from returning. With our help, the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence with every passing month. At the time of our Fallujah operations 11 months ago, there were only a few Iraqi battalions in combat - today there are more than 80. The progress is not easy, but it is steady.
- Iraq Is Making Incredible Political Progress. The extremists in Iraq are not patriots or resistance fighters but murderers at war with the Iraqi people. In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast. In the space of two and a half years, Iraq has made incredible progress on the path to becoming a democracy. It is true that the seeds of freedom have only recently been planted, but we are confident that if our Coalition and the Iraqi people each does their part, Iraqi democracy will succeed.
- We Must Reject The Dangerous Illusion Of Those Who Claim That America Would Be Better Off By Cutting Our Losses And Leaving Iraq Now. Having removed a dictator who hated free peoples, we will not stand by as a new set of killers seize control of Iraq. There is always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, escape the duties and problems of the world, and hope the enemy grows weary. However, this enemy is never tired and considers every retreat an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and win that victory.
- Fifth, We Are Denying The Militants Future Recruits By Advancing Democracy And Hope Across The Broader Middle East. If the region is left to grow in bitterness and misery, while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger. However, the extremists will be marginalized and their violence ended if the peoples of that region are permitted to choose their own destiny and advance by their own energy and participation as free men and women. America is making this stand in practical ways. We are encouraging our friends in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to take the path of reform to strengthen their own societies in the fight against terror by respecting the rights of people. We are standing with dissidents and exiles against oppressive regimes, because we know that the dissidents of today will be the democratic leaders of tomorrow. We are making our case through public diplomacy -- stating clearly and confidently our belief in self-determination, religious freedom, and equal rights for women. By standing for the hope and freedom of others, we will make our own freedom more secure.
Released on August 6, 2005