Wolfowitz: Terrorists Destined for "Dust Heaps of History"
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 11, 2002 Rainy, gray and blustery skies didn't deter Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz from flying here today to attend a Veterans Day ceremony honoring Revolutionary War-era troops.
Wolfowitz praised past and present military veterans during a dedication ceremony marking the transfer of Washington Square from the city of Philadelphia to the National Park Service.
Located near historic Independence Hall, Washington Square is the burial site of thousands of U.S. Continental Army soldiers commanded by then-Gen. George Washington. It also features the gravesite of the unknown American soldier of the Revolutionary War.
Re-enactors clad in Continental Army- and Civil War-era uniforms were conspicuous among the audience as Wolfowitz praised U.S. military veterans from the Revolution to the present day, noting their great contributions to the health and safety of the nation.
"How fortunate we are to stand here surrounded by the legacy of patriots' dreams, to know there are those who have been willing to give up their lives and their personal liberties so that we can say: 'We are Americans and we are free,'" Wolfowitz said.
America's greatest strength, Wolfowitz noted, is its dedication to the principles of freedom and equality for all. Today, he emphasized, terrorists and dictators like Saddam Hussein are testing those values. Consequently, American liberty and way of life are now "in peril," he declared.
"We need to remind ourselves, once more, who we are, what we stand for, (and) what we are fighting for," he emphasized, pointing out that Washington Square is "ground where heroes sleep."
Such a place -- commemorating such heroes -- belongs to every American, he said.
"As we remember them, and all our nation's veterans, and as we persevere in our own great duties, let us remember the words from Scripture that are inscribed on the Liberty Bell: 'Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land, And To All The Inhabitants Thereof.'"
Historically, America has sought to share its liberty and good fortune with other nations, Wolfowitz said. In the past, he noted, Americans have helped other nations confront and defeat the worldwide threats of fascism and communism.
In the war against global terrorism, America, again, is assisting others "to fight the darkness that opposes liberty," Wolfowitz pointed out, adding that "each time, history brushed that darkness aside."
The sacrifices -- sometimes ultimate -- of American troops in Afghanistan have helped Afghans to reclaim their country from such "dark" forces, Wolfowitz said.
Terrorism -- and dictators like Saddam Hussein -- represents "freedom's latest adversary," Wolfowitz declared, noting that terrorists and countries that support terrorism foster bigotry, persecution, resentment, oppression, hatred and death.
Today's enemies of freedom "want to turn back the tide of democracy and use its fruits to destroy freedom our freedom and the freedom of people throughout the world," he emphasized.
The terrorists will fail, and, like the fascists and communists before them, "will end up on the dust heaps of history," Wolfowitz said.
Wolfowitz noted that he hoped war would not be necessary to force Saddam to give up his chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction programs, pointing out that the U.N. resolution 17 passed Nov. 8 gives Saddam one more, final chance to disarm.
However, he emphasized, the strength and resolve of America's military men and women remain key factors in influencing the Iraqi dictator to jettison his WMDs.
"Let us be clear. We would never have succeeded at the United Nations without the willingness of those brave young men and women in uniform to risk their lives for their country," the deputy defense secretary concluded.