Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Confidence and universal values

From Bush's speech at the Park Hyatt, Philadelphia yesterday. Some say Bush thinks he hears God calling him but it's his Dad's legacy I think. It's powerful.
Q Well I have a question for you. Do you feel that since invading Iraq, the threat of terrorism on U.S. soil has been reduced significantly?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it's been reduced; I don't think we're safe. What will really give me confidence to say that we're safe is when I can tell the American people we've got the capacity to know exactly where the enemy is moving. This is a different kind of war. These people hide. They -- they're patient and they're sophisticated. And that's why our intelligence-gathering is really important.

You know, occasionally they come out and want to fight like they're doing in Iraq. This guy, Zarqawi, has sworn his allegiance to bin Laden. He has -- he's declared his intentions. But there's a lot of them who lurk and hide. And what we've really got to do is continue to hone our intelligence-gathering to make sure that we can, as best as possible, understand their intents and watch their movements. And this requires international cooperation.

I will tell you the international cooperation, when it comes to sharing intelligence, is good. It requires us being able to cut off their money and move money around. They can't -- it turns out, they can't launch attacks without money. And so we're doing the best we can to work with others to find out where their money is moving. And that way, it will be a -- give us a chance to find out where they are.

The long run in this war is going to require a change of governments in parts of the world. It's -- and this is why it's very important for me to continue to remind the American people about what's taking place in history. One of my favorite stories is to tell people about -- or go-bys -- is to tell people about my relationship with Koizumi, Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan. He's an interesting guy. He likes Elvis, for example, which is -- (laughter) -- interesting -- (laughter). He's a friend. He's also a friend when it comes to peace. He's a reliable, steady ally when it comes to dealing with North Korea. North Korea is a country that has declared boldly they've got nuclear weapons, they counterfeit our money, and they've starving their people to death. And it's good to have an ally that understands human rights and the condition of the human being are vital for this world and world peace.

And yet, 60 years ago, my dad fought against the Japanese -- many of your relatives did, as well. They were the sworn enemy of the United States. I find it amazing -- I don't know if you find it amazing -- I find it amazing that I sit down with this guy, strategizing about how to make the world a more peaceful place when my dad and others fought him.

And so what happened? Now, 60 years seems like a long time, particularly if you're 59, like me. (Laughter.) But it's not all that long in history, when you think about it. And what happened was a Japanese-style democracy emerged. Democracies yield the peace. That's what history has shown us. That's what I tried to say in my peroration in this speech. That's a long word. I'm doing it for Senator Specter here. (Laughter and applause.) Just showing off, Senator. Just trying to look good in front of the folks here at home. (Laughter.) But it's an accurate portrayal of what has happened. Democracies yield the peace.

So the fundamental question is, do we have the confidence and universal values to help change a troubled part of the world. If you're a supporter of Israel, I would strongly urge you to help other countries become democracies. Israel's long-term survival depends upon the spread of democracy in the Middle East. I recognize people have -- (applause) -- I fully recognize that some say it's impossible, that maybe only a certain kind of people can be -- can accept democracy. I just -- I reject that. I don't agree with that. I believe democracy -- the desire to be free is universal. That's what I believe. And if you believe that, then you've got to act on it. That doesn't mean militarily. But that means using the influence of the United States to work with others to help -- to help freedom spread.

And that's what you're seeing in Iraq. And it's hard. It's hard for a country that has come from dictatorship two-and-a-half years ago to become a democracy. It is hard work. There's a lot of resentment and anger and bitterness. But I believe it's going to happen. And the only way it won't happen is if we leave, if we lose our nerve, if we allow the terrorists to achieve their objective. The only way we can lose this is for us to say to the terrorists, maybe you aren't dangerous, after all -- you know, by leaving, maybe that you'll become hospitable, decent citizens of the world. That's not reality. And my job as the President is to see the world the way it is, not the way we hope it is. (Applause.)

I, again, want to thank you for giving me the chance to come and deliver this speech. I'm grateful for your interest. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless America. (Applause.)

END 12:14 P.M. EST

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