Bush’s 9-11 message
The following is President Bush’s address to the nation on the anniversary
Five years ago, this date -- September the 11th -- was seared into America's
memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history.
They murdered people of all colors, creeds and nationalities, and made war
upon the entire free world.
Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war
unlike any we have fought before.
Today we are safer, but we are not yet safe.
On this solemn night, I have asked for some of your time to discuss the
nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our
nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to
peace for America and the world.
On 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil.
Yet, on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American:
ordinary citizens rising to the occasion and responding with extraordinary
acts of courage.
We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of
burning skyscrapers, and called home so that their last words to their
families would be of comfort and love.
BUSH: We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd
Psalm and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff
who made it out of the flames and smoke and ran back in to answer cries for
On this day, we remember the innocent who've lost their lives, and we pay
tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.
For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh.
I have met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of
I have stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania, who
take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims and gave
America our first victory in the war on terror.
I've sat beside young mothers with children who are now 5 years old and
still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms.
Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we
seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.
BUSH: Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy.
We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy, but not without
We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven
by a perverted vision of Islam: a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom,
rejects tolerance and despises all dissent.
And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire
where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer
meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on
America and other civilized nations.
The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the
decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our
Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of
the Cold War.
We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane
tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our
BUSH: And we know that, if they were able to get their hands on weapons of
mass destruction, they would use them against us.
We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes.
America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So
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. We are in a war that will set the course for this new
century and determine the destiny of millions across the world.
For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy; it changed the way we look at the
BUSH: On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense
against our enemies and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and
those who harbor or support them.
So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. We put Al Qaida on
the run and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks,
including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned by the Central
Intelligence Agency, and they have provided valuable information that has
helped stop attacks in America and across the world.
Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay, so they can be held
to account for their actions.
Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to
them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we
will bring you to justice.
On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before
they reach our shores; whether those threats come from terrorist networks or
I am often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible
for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a
My administration, the Congress and the United Nations saw the threat.
BUSH: And, after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not
afford to take.
The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.
And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that
fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in
free elections last December.
Al Qaida and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to
stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have
joined the remnants of Saddam's regime and other armed groups to foment
sectarian violence and drive us out.
Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed, but so are Iraqi and
coalition forces. We are adapting to stay ahead of the enemy, and we are
carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds.
We are training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We are helping
Iraq's unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not
leave until this work is done.
Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to
think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone.
They will not leave us alone. They will follow us.
The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of
Osama bin Laden calls this fight "The Third World War," and he says that
victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace
If we yield Iraq to men like bin Laden, our enemies will be emboldened. They
will gain a new safe haven. They will use Iraq's resources to fuel their
BUSH: We will not allow this to happen.
America will stay in the fight. Iraq will be a free nation and a strong ally
in the war on terror.
We can be confident that our coalition will succeed because the Iraqi people
have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence. And we can be
confident in victory because of the skill and resolve of America's armed
Every one of our troops is a volunteer. And since the attacks of September
the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our
In Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and
women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have
suffered terrible injuries, and nearly 3,000 have given their lives.
America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will
never back down from the work they have begun.
We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe, and we
are giving them the tools they need to protect our people.
We have created the Department of Homeland Security; we have torn down the
wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information; we
have tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders; and we've
created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls.
BUSH: Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence
professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved
Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another
attack on our soil, but they have not been idle.
Al Qaida, and those inspired by its hateful ideology, have carried out
terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. And, just last month, they
were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United
They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens, and we are
determined to stop them.
We will continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and
legal authority they need to do their jobs.
In the first days after the 9/11 attacks, I promised to use every element of
national power to fight the terrorists wherever we find them. One of the
strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom.
The terrorists fear freedom as much as they do our firepower.
BUSH: They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the
election lever, girls enrolling in schools, or families worshiping God in
their own traditions.
They know that, given a choice, people will choose freedom over their
extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging
against the forces of freedom and moderation.
This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a
struggle for civilization.
We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And
we're fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the
Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and
We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom.
Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want
their freedom and whether the forces of moderation can prevail.
For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then,
on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the
Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace
had left us with neither.
So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world
to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression
BUSH: With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward
to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men
and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy.
And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the
Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and
By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the
hopes of decent men and women, we are offering a path away from radicalism.
And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the
Middle East: the desire of millions to be free.
Across the broader Middle East, the extremists are fighting to prevent such
a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it;
sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle.
When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he
could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima, but he would not have been
surprised at the outcome.
When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting
Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall,
but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down.
BUSH: Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged. And,
every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.
At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people
of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of
liberty and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity.
We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize their greatest
resource is not the oil in the ground, but the talent and creativity of
their people. We look to the day when moms and dads throughout the Middle
East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children.
And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part, the appeal of
radicalism will decline, and we will leave our children with a better and
On this solemn anniversary, we re-dedicate ourselves to this cause.
BUSH: Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead.
Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country.
And we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test
that history has given us.
We will defeat our enemies, we will protect our people, and we will lead the
21st century into a shining age of human liberty.
Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was
there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at
West Point after the attacks of September the 11th.
That day, I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch
her son, Patrick, accept his commission in the finest army the world has
ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James,
graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City.
On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to
share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343
firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on
September the 11th and never came home.
His sons lost their father that day, but not the passion for service he
instilled in them.
Here's what RoseEllen says about her boys: "As a mother, I cross my fingers
and pray all the time for their safety. But, as worried as I am, I am also
proud. And I know their dad would be too."
BUSH: Our nation is blessed to have young Americans like these, and we will
need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our
way of life.
They're not the first to try, and their fate will be the same as those who
9/11 showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and
they did; but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in
prayer, came to the aid of neighbors in need, and resolved that our enemies
would not have the last word.
The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength. And we go
forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose, and faith in a
loving God who made us to be free.
Thank you, and may God bless you.
The following is the message sent to Democrat loyalists by Democrat National
Committee Chairman Howard Dean regarding appropriate thoughts on the
nation’s anniversary of 9-11:
Today we remember many things.
We remember where we were. We remember the scenes on television.
We remember the victims who were murdered. We remember the families and
loved ones they left behind.
We remember the heroes who charged into danger to save lives.
We remember a moment of unity at home and around the world, where people
rallied around a single mission and a common sense of justice that must be
Today we face many challenges at home and abroad. And too often it's too
easy to be distracted by the politics, the pundits, and the posturing.
We must always remember that the dangers we face know no political party,
and the solutions and leadership we need now go beyond ideology.
We must meet these challenges head-on -- remembering to stand together in
action as we live together under threat. We are all Americans.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become
silent about things that matter."
We will not be silent.
Today we remember many things.
And tomorrow, back on the campaign trail, we will remember to take with us
the plain truth and a commitment to true justice for all those whose lives
were transformed on this day five years ago.
Vilsack will decide
Governor Tom Vilsack (D-IA) announced to the media that he will decide on
whether he will run for president soon after the November election. Vilsack
came in fourth in an Iowa Des Moines Register poll. Several Iowa political
pundits view Vilsack in a no win situation. A likely scenario is that
Vilsack will at some point endorse Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.