Defending the War
Oak Ridge, TN
July 12, 2004
Thank you for the warm
welcome. I realize the Y-12 National Security Complex doesn't
get a lot of visitors -- (laughter) -- so thanks for the
special arrangements. I'm also glad to have the opportunity
to thank each one of you for the vital work you do here.
And please pass the word to your fellow employees, many
of whom were waving, I want you to know, as we drove in,
for which I'm thankful. The nation counts on your great
expertise and your professionalism in producing, protecting,
and maintaining material that is critical to our security.
America is safer because of your service at Oak Ridge.
You need to know our nation is grateful for that service.
I appreciate our Secretary of Energy Spence Abraham. He
traveled with me today. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your
service. I want to thank Jeffrey Wadsworth, who's the Director
of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It's not the first time
I've met Jeffrey. I appreciate Jon Kreykes. I want to thank
all the people who helped make this visit a successful
visit. I want to thank Senator Lamar Alexander, the other
members of the United States Congress who are traveling
with us today -- strong supporters, by the way, of Oak
Ridge. I appreciate the Mayor being here, David Bradshaw.
Mr. Mayor, appreciate you taking time to come. I want to
thank my fellow citizens for giving me a chance to come
I've just had a close look at some of the dangerous equipment
secured in this place. Eight months ago, the centrifuge
parts and processing equipment for uranium were 5,000 miles
away in the nation of Libya. They were part of a secret
nuclear weapons program. Today, Libya, America and the
world are better off because these components are safely
in your care.
These materials are the sobering evidence of a great danger.
Certain regimes, often with ties to terrorist groups, seek
the ultimate weapons as a shortcut to influence. These
materials, voluntarily turned over by the Libyan government,
are also encouraging evidence that nations can abandon
those ambitions and choose a better way.
Libya is dismantling its weapons of mass destruction and
long-range missile programs. This progress came about through
quiet diplomacy between America, Britain and the Libyan
government. This progress was set in motion, however, by
policies declared in public to all the world. The United
States, Great Britain, and many other nations are determined
to expose the threats of terrorism and proliferation --
and to oppose those threats with all our power. (Applause.)
We have sent this message in the strongest diplomatic terms,
and we have acted where action was required.
Every potential adversary now knows that terrorism and
proliferation carry serious consequences, and that the
wise course is to abandon those pursuits. By choosing that
course, the Libyan government is serving the interests
of its own people and adding to the security of all nations.
America's determination to actively oppose the threats
of our time was formed and fixed on September the 11th,
2001. On that day we saw the cruelty of the terrorists,
and we glimpsed the future they intend for us. They intend
to strike the United States to the limits of their power.
They seek weapons of mass destruction to kill Americans
on an even greater scale. And this danger is increased
when outlaw regimes build or acquire weapons of mass destruction
and maintain ties to terrorist groups.
This is our danger, but not our fate. America has the
resources and the strength and the resolve to overcome
this threat. We are waging a broad and unrelenting war
against terror, and an active campaign against proliferation.
We refuse to live in fear. We are making steady progress.
To protect our people, we're staying on the offensive
against threats within our own country. We are using the
Patriot Act to track terrorist activity and to break up
terror cells. Intelligence and law enforcement officials
are sharing information as never before. We've transformed
the mission of the FBI to focus on preventing terrorism.
Every element of our homeland security plan is critical,
because the terrorists are ruthless and resourceful --
and we know they're preparing to attack us again. It's
not possible to guarantee perfect security in our vast,
free nation. But I can assure our fellow Americans, many
fine professionals in intelligence and national security
and homeland security and law enforcement are working around
the clock doing everything they can to protect the country.
And we're grateful to them all. (Applause.)
To overcome the dangers of our time, America is also taking
a new approach in the world. We're determined to challenge
new threats, not ignore them, or simply wait for future
tragedy. We're helping to build a hopeful future in hopeless
places, instead of allowing troubled regions to remain
in despair and explode in violence. Our goal is a lasting,
democratic peace, in which free nations are free from the
threat of sudden terror. Our strategy for peace has three
commitments: First, we are defending the peace by taking
the fight to the enemy. We will confront them overseas
so we do not have to confront them here at home. (Applause.)
We are destroying the leadership of terrorist networks
in sudden raids, disrupting their planning and financing,
and keeping them on the run. Month by month, we are shrinking
the space in which they can freely operate, by denying
them territory and the support of governments.
Second, we're protecting the peace by working with friends
and allies and international institutions to isolate and
confront terrorists and outlaw regimes. America is leading
a broad coalition of nations to disrupt proliferation.
We're working with the United Nations, the International
Atomic Energy Agency, and other international organizations
to take action in our common security. The global threat
of terrorism requires a global response. To be effective,
that global response requires leadership -- and America
will lead. (Applause.)
Third, we are extending the peace by supporting the rise
of democracy, and the hope and progress that democracy
brings, as the alternative to hatred and terror in the
broader Middle East. In democratic and successful societies,
men and women do not swear allegiance to malcontents and
murderers; they turn their hearts and labor to building
better lives. And democratic governments do not shelter
terrorist camps or attack their neighbors. When justice
and democracy advance, so does the hope of lasting peace.
We have followed this strategy -- defending the peace,
protecting the peace and extending the peace -- for nearly
three years. We have been focused and patient, firm and
consistent. And the results are all now clear to see.
Three years ago, the nation of Afghanistan was the home
base of al Qaeda, a country ruled by the Taliban, one of
the most backward and brutal regimes of modern history.
Schooling was denied girls. Women were whipped in the streets
and executed in a sports stadium. Millions lived in fear.
With protection from the Taliban, al Qaeda and its associates
trained, indoctrinated, and sent forth thousands of killers
to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including
Today, Afghanistan is a world away from the nightmare
of the Taliban. That country has a good and just President.
Boys and girls are being educated. Many refugees have returned
home to rebuild their country, and a presidential election
is scheduled for this fall. The terror camps are closed
and the Afghan government is helping us to hunt the Taliban
and terrorists in remote regions. Today, because we acted
to liberate Afghanistan, a threat has been removed, and
the American people are safer. (Applause.)
Three years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries
in the world that recognized the Taliban regime. Al Qaeda
was active and recruiting in Pakistan, and was not seriously
opposed. Pakistan served as a transit point for al Qaeda
terrorists leaving Afghanistan on missions of murder. Yet
the United States was not on good terms with Pakistan's
military and civilian leaders -- the very people we would
need to help shut down al Qaeda operations in that part
of the world.
Today, the governments of the United States and Pakistan
are working closely in the fight against terror. President
Musharraf is a friend of our country, who helped us capture
Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational planner behind the
September the 11th attacks. And Pakistani forces are rounding
up terrorists along their nation's western border. Today,
because we're working with the Pakistani leaders, Pakistan
is an ally in the war on terror, and the American people
are safer. (Applause.)
Three years ago, terrorists were well-established in Saudi
Arabia. Inside that country, fundraisers and other facilitators
gave al Qaeda financial and logistical help, with little
scrutiny or opposition. Today, after the attacks in Riyadh
and elsewhere, the Saudi government knows that al Qaeda
is its enemy. Saudi Arabia is working hard to shut down
the facilitators and financial supporters of terrorism.
The government has captured or killed many first-tier leaders
of the al Qaeda organization in Saudi Arabia -- including
one last week. Today, because Saudi Arabia has seen the
danger and has joined the war on terror, the American people
are safer. (Applause.)
Three years ago, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of
America, who provided safe haven for terrorists, used weapons
of mass destruction, and turned his nation into a prison.
Saddam Hussein was not just a dictator; he was a proven
mass murderer who refused to account for weapons of mass
murder. Every responsible nation recognized this threat,
and knew it could not go on forever.
America must remember the lessons of September the 11th.
We must confront serious dangers before they fully materialize.
And so my administration looked at the intelligence on
Iraq, and we saw a threat. Members of the United States
Congress from both political parties looked at the same
intelligence, and they saw a threat. The United Nations
Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it saw
a threat. The previous administration and the Congress
looked at the intelligence and made regime change in Iraq
the policy of our country.
In 2002, the United Nations Security Council yet again
demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons
programs. As he had for over a decade, Saddam Hussein refused
to comply. In fact, according to former weapons inspector
David Kay, Iraq's weapons programs were elaborately shielded
by security and deception operations that continued even
beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. So I had a choice
to make: Either take the word of a madman, or defend America.
Given that choice, I will defend America every time. (Applause.)
Although we have not found stockpiles of weapons of mass
destruction, we were right to go into Iraq. We removed
a declared enemy of America, who had the capability of
producing weapons of mass murder, and could have passed
that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them. In
the world after September the 11th, that was a risk we
could not afford to take.
Today, the dictator who caused decades of death and turmoil,
who twice invaded his neighbors, who harbored terrorist
leaders, who used chemical weapons on innocent men, women,
and children, is finally before the bar of justice. (Applause.)
Iraq, which once had the worst government in the Middle
East, is now becoming an example of reform to the region.
And Iraqi security forces are fighting beside coalition
troops to defeat the terrorists and foreign fighters who
threaten their nation and the world. Today, because America
and our coalition helped to end the violent regime of Saddam
Hussein, and because we're helping to raise a peaceful
democracy in its place, the American people are safer.
Three years ago, the nation of Libya, a longtime supporter
of terror, was spending millions to acquire chemical and
nuclear weapons. Today, thousands of Libya's chemical munitions
have been destroyed. And nuclear processing equipment that
could ultimately have threatened the lives of hundreds
of thousands is stored away right here in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Today, because the Libyan government saw the seriousness
of the civilized world, and correctly judged its own interests,
the American people are safer. (Applause.)
Three years ago, a private weapons proliferation network
was doing business around the world. This network, operated
by the Pakistani nuclear scientist, A. Q. Khan, was selling
nuclear plans and equipment to the highest bidder, and
found willing buyers in places like Libya, Iran, and North
Korea. Today, the A. Q. Khan network is out of business.
We have ended one of the most dangerous sources of proliferation
in the world, and the American people are safer. (Applause.)
Breaking this proliferation network was possible because
of the outstanding work done by the CIA. Dedicated intelligence
officers were tireless in obtaining vital information,
sometimes at great personal risk. Our intelligence services
do an essential job for America. I thank them for their
dedication and hard work. (Applause.) The Senate Intelligence
Committee has identified some shortcomings in our intelligence
capabilities; the Committee's report will help us in the
work of reform. Our nation needs more intelligence agents
-- what is called human intelligence -- to cover the globe.
We must have the best, cutting-edge technology to listen
and look for dangers. We must have better coordination
among intelligence services. I need, and the Congress needs,
the best possible intelligence in order to protect the
American people. We're determined to make sure we get it.
Three years ago, the world was very different. Terrorists
planned attacks, with little fear of discovery or reckoning.
Outlaw regimes supported terrorists and defied the civilized
world, without shame and with few consequences. Weapons
proliferators sent their deadly shipments and grew wealthy,
encountering few obstacles to their trade.
The world changed on September the 11th, and since that
day, we have changed the world. (Applause.) We are leading
a steady, confident, systematic campaign against the dangers
of our time. There are still terrorists who plot against
us, but the ranks of their leaders are thinning, and they
know what fate awaits them. There are still regimes actively
supporting the terrorists, but fewer than there used to
be. There are still outlaw regimes pursuing weapons of
mass destruction, but the world no longer looks the other
way. Today, because America has acted, and because America
has led, the forces of terror and tyranny have suffered
defeat after defeat, and America and the world are safer.
All this progress has been achieved with the help of other
responsible nations. The case of Libya's nuclear disarmament
is a good example. In the fall of 2003, American and British
intelligence were tracking a large shipment of nuclear
equipment bound for Tripoli aboard a German-registered
cargo ship. We alerted German and Italian authorities,
who diverted the ship to an Italian port where the cargo
was confiscated. We worked together. These events helped
encourage Libya to reconsider its nuclear ambitions. That
was a dramatic breakthrough, achieved by allies working
together. And the cooperation of America's allies in the
war on terror is very, very strong.
We're grateful to the more than 60 nations that are supporting
the Proliferation Security Initiative to intercept illegal
weapons and equipment by sea, land, and air. We're grateful
to the more than 30 nations with forces serving in Iraq,
and the nearly 40 nations with forces in Afghanistan. In
the fight against terror, we've asked our allies to do
hard things. They've risen to their responsibilities. We're
proud to call them friends. (Applause.)
We have duties and there will be difficulties ahead. We're
working with responsible governments and international
institutions to convince the leaders of North Korea and
Iran that their nuclear weapons ambitions are deeply contrary
to their own interests. We're helping governments fight
poverty and disease, so they do not become failed states
and future havens for terror. We've launched our Broader
Middle East Initiative, to encourage reform and democracy
throughout the region, a project that will shape the history
of our times for the better. We're working to build a free
and democratic Palestinian state, which lives in peace
with Israel and adds to the peace of the region. We're
keeping our commitments to the people of Afghanistan and
Iraq, who are building the world's newest democracies.
They're counting on us to help. We will not abandon them.
(Applause.) Delivering these nations from tyranny has required
sacrifice and loss. We will honor that sacrifice by finishing
the great work we have begun. (Applause.)
In this challenging period of our history, Americans fully
understand the dangers to our country. We remain a nation
at risk, directly threatened by an enemy that plots in
secret to cause terrible harm and grief. We remain a nation
at war, fighting for our security, our freedom, and our
way of life. We also see our advantages clearly. Americans
have a history of rising to every test; our generation
is no exception. We've not forgotten September the 11th,
2001. We will not allow our enemies to forget it, either.
We have strong allies, including millions of people in
the Middle East who want to live in freedom. And the ideals
we stand for have a power of their own. The appeal of justice
and liberty, in the end, is greater than the appeal of
hatred and tyranny in any form. The war on terror will
not end in a draw, it will end in a victory, and you and
I will see that victory of human freedom. (Applause.)
I want to thank you all for coming. Thank you for your
dedication. May God bless you and your families, and may
God continue to bless our great country. Thank you very
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