Bush: Americans Have Security Commitment to Future Generations
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 2, 2003 Americans have a commitment to future generations to keep this country secure, President Bush said at a defense plant in California today.
"And we will keep that commitment," he said. "We have made progress, but there is more to do."
He outlined many of the government's efforts to ensure that security during a speech at United Defense Industries, in Mountain View, not long after leaving the Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln at San Diego.
Bush had flown aboard the ship May 1 and addressed the nation from her deck, as the Lincoln and her 5,000 crew members steamed the last leg of a 10-month deployment at sea. The president spent the night on the ship before she stop briefly in San Diego en route to her homeport in Washington state.
"I was so proud to be with those men and women who wear our nation's uniform," Bush said at the plant. "Their morale is high. They have served our nation well, and this country is proud of them."
Regarding the war on terrorism, Bush spoke of how U.S. forces led a battle in Afghanistan that "destroyed one of the most barbaric regimes in the history of mankind."
"That regime no longer exists," the president said of the Taliban. "Many al Qaeda leaders no longer exist, and the (terrorist) training camps no longer exist." He said that nearly one-half of al Qaeda's senior leaders were in custody.
In Iraq, the president observed, American and other coalition forces drove from power a regime that was an ally to al Qaeda, a source of funding for terrorists and, it was feared, a potential source for weapons of mass destruction.
That's not a concern now, Bush said, "because the regime that used to be in Iraq is no longer!"
These successes can be attributed to the "bravery and skill" of America's military service members.
"By their courage, our nation is more secure. By their skill and sacrifice, Iraq and Afghanistan are now free," Bush said. "The people who serve our country deserve our gratitude, and they deserve the finest equipment we can provide."
New technology, like much of that developed at United Defense, "allow us to redefine war on our terms, which makes it more likely the world will be more free and more peaceful," Bush said.
One United Defense product, the Hercules tank recovery system, was used in pulling down a larger-than-life statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad an act that was broadcast repeatedly around the world.
"That meant more to the Iraqi people than you can possibly imagine," Bush said to the company's employees. "It was a symbol of their future, a future based upon something that we hold dear to our hearts, a future based on freedom."
Major combat may be past, but U.S. forces and experts are still working to "exploit" hundreds of suspected chemical or biological weapons sites. "Listen, this guy (Saddam Hussein) spent years and years and years of hiding weapons from weapons inspectors," the president said. "It's going to take time, but the world will see the truth."
America's efforts all point back to instilling peace and freedom around the world. "We believe in the peace, in keeping the peace. And the best way to make the world more peaceful, and the best way to fight hatred, hateful ideologies oftentimes found in corners of the world, is to promote freedom," Bush said. "Free people are less likely to hate. Free people are more likely to focus on a hopeful future.
"We love freedom in America. It's ingrained in our soul. We also understand the habits of freedom are more likely to make the world a more peaceful and hopeful place," he continued. "We will stay in Iraq until it is free. And we will stay to make sure the foundations for freedom are real and solid."