America Rising to Tasks of History, Bush Says in State of Union
By Jim Garamone
Jan. 20, 2004
– The United States has not come through tragedy, trial
and war to falter. Americans are proving the state of the union
is strong, and they are "are rising to the tasks of history,"
President George W. Bush said in the State of the Union address
to both bodies of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, said the government’s
greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American
people. He said that in the 28 months since the attacks of Sept.
11, there are many who believe the danger is passed.
hope is understandable, comforting – and false," he
said. "The killing has continued in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca,
Riyadh, Mombassa, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Baghdad. The terrorists
continue to plot against America and the civilized world. And
by our will and courage, this danger will be defeated."
thousands of American servicemen and women are deployed across
the world in the war on terror, the president noted, and their
efforts make America more secure. Law enforcement and intelligence
officials are examining threats and "their vigilance is protecting
America faces a choice: "We can go forward with confidence
and resolve, or we can turn back to the dangerous illusion that
terrorists are not plotting and outlaw regimes are no threat to
the American military is leading the fight on terror. Service
members have now captured or killed two-thirds of the known al
of very skilled and determined military personnel are on a manhunt,
going after the remaining killers who hide in cities and caves,"
the president said. "And, one by one, we will bring the terrorists
States is also determined to take action against regimes that
harbor terrorists or could supply terror groups with weapons of
mass destruction, Bush said. "The first to see our determination
were the Taliban, who made Afghanistan the primary training base
of al Qaeda killers."
has now agreed to a new constitution, guaranteeing free elections
and full participation by women, and with help from the new Afghan
National Army, the U.S.-led coalition is operating against surviving
members of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free
and proud and fighting terror – and America is honored to
be their friend," Bush said.
In Iraq there
is a similar litany of success. The regime of Saddam Hussein is
overthrown and U.S. soldiers captured him hiding in a hole in
broken the Baathist regime, we face a remnant of violent Saddam
supporters," the president said. "These killers, joined
by foreign terrorists, are a serious, continuing danger. Yet we
are making progress against them."
forces have captured or killed 45 of the 55 most-wanted former
regime members. "Our forces are on the offensive, leading
over 1,600 patrols a day, and conducting an average of 180 raids
every week," he said. "We are dealing with these thugs
in Iraq, just as surely as we dealt with Saddam Hussein’s evil
that building a new Iraq will be hard, but it is worth the effort.
In June, the coalition will transition to full Iraqi sovereignty.
He vowed that the United States will stand by Iraq as it makes
the transition to democracy.
been other positive consequences of America’s resolve to win the
war on terror, Bush pointed out. In December Libyan leader Moammar
Qadhafi voluntarily pledged to disclose and dismantle all of his
regime’s weapons of mass destruction programs, including a uranium-enrichment
project for nuclear weapons.
months of intense negotiations involving the United States and
Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy
with Iraq did not," Bush said. "And one reason is clear:
For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible –
and no one can now doubt the word of America."
threats require different strategies. The United States is working
with nations of the region to get North Korea to dismantle its
nuclear program and stop proliferating missile technology. The
international community is demanding Iran meet its commitments
and not develop nuclear weapons. "America is committed to
keeping the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of
the world’s most dangerous regimes," the president said.
Congress and the American people that the nation is really at
war. He said many people view terrorism more as a crime, a problem
to be solved mainly with law enforcement and indictments.
the World Trade Center was first attacked in 1993, some of the
guilty were indicted, tried, convicted and sent to prison,"
he said. "But the matter was not settled. The terrorists
were still training and plotting in other nations and drawing
up more ambitious plans.
the chaos and carnage of September 11th, it is not enough to serve
our enemies with legal papers," he continued. "The terrorists
and their supporters declared war on the United States — and
war is what they got."
He said that
many in America did not agree with the war to rid Iraq of Saddam
Hussein. But what has been revealed since coalition forces took
Baghdad say it was the right thing to do, he emphasized.
report of the Iraqi Survey Group, chaired by David Kay, identified
dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities
and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from
the United Nations. "Had we failed to act, the dictator’s
weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day,"
Had the coalition
not acted, Saddam would still be flouting the U.N. Security Council.
"Iraq’s torture chambers would still be filled with victims
– terrified and innocent," Bush said. "The killing
fields of Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of men, women and
children vanished into the sands, would still be known only to
the killers. For all who love freedom and peace, the world without
Saddam Hussein’s regime is a better and safer place."
took on critics who say the coalition in Iraq must be internationalized.
"This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners
in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand,
Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania,
the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries
that have committed troops to Iraq," he said.
States owes a debt of gratitude to those nations and more who
have supported the war on terror, Bush noted. "There is a
difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations,
and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never
seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people."
the nation has gone through much in the last three years. "By
our actions, we have shown what kind of nation we are," he
said. "In grief, we found the grace to go on. In challenge,
we rediscovered the courage and daring of a free people. In victory,
we have shown the noble aims and good heart of America. And having
come this far, we sense that we live in a time set apart."