November 20, 2003
The Three Pillars Of Peace
President Bush's speech at Whitehall Palace yesterday is to the war on terrorist nations what Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech in Fulton, Missouri was to the Cold War. A gem of political persuasion, the speech defines our era.
Since the liberation of Iraq, we have seen changes that could hardly have been imagined a year ago. A new Iraqi police force protects the people, instead of bullying them. More than 150 Iraqi newspapers are now in circulation, printing what they choose, not what they're ordered. Schools are open with textbooks free of propaganda. Hospitals are functioning and are well-supplied. Iraq has a new currency, the first battalion of a new army, representative local governments, and a Governing Council with an aggressive timetable for national sovereignty. This is substantial progress. And much of it has proceeded faster than similar efforts in Germany and Japan after World War II.
Yet the violence we are seeing in Iraq today is serious. And it comes from Baathist holdouts and Jihadists from other countries, and terrorists drawn to the prospect of innocent bloodshed. It is the nature of terrorism and the cruelty of a few to try to bring grief in the loss to many. The armed forces of both our countries have taken losses, felt deeply by our citizens. Some families now live with a burden of great sorrow. We cannot take the pain away. But these families can know they are not alone. We pray for their strength; we pray for their comfort; and we will never forget the courage of the ones they loved.
The terrorists have a purpose, a strategy to their cruelty. They view the rise of democracy in Iraq as a powerful threat to their ambitions. In this, they are correct. They believe their acts of terror against our coalition, against international aid workers and against innocent Iraqis, will make us recoil and retreat. In this, they are mistaken.
We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties, and liberate 25 million people, only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins. We will help the Iraqi people establish a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East. And by doing so, we will defend our people from danger.
The full text of the president's speech is here.
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