Bush: A Democratic Iraq Will Help Defeat Global Terrorism
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2006 Establishing democracy to replace the tyranny Iraqis endured under Saddam Hussein will assist in defeating terrorists operating there and elsewhere, President Bush said today in Louisville, Ky.
President Bush greets the crowd after remarks on the global war on terror in Louisville, Ky., Jan. 11. White House photo by Eric Draper
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Long-term victory against global terrorists will be achieved "by defeating the hopelessness and despair that these killers exploit, with a system that is open and hopeful," Bush said during a question-and-answer session following his remarks given at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
"And the only such system is a free system," Bush said.
Bush said he has confidence in the ability of the world's peoples to practice self-government. Some doubted, he said, that post-World War II Japan would be able to change from its centuries-old, imperial system to a democracy.
Yet, today Japan is a powerful -- and democratic -- ally of the United States, Bush said.
Parts of the Middle East became an incubator for terrorists, Bush said, because of governments like Saddam's now-defunct regime that brutally oppressed the Iraqi people.
"I do know that tyrants breed resentment and hatred," Bush said. Such oppressive environments can become a breeding ground for terrorist groups which fan and exploit the frustrations of the population for their own ends.
Democratic governments -- including the separation of church and state -- didn't exist in Asia until the emergence of post-war Japan, Bush said.
"That is why the constitution written in Iraq is an important constitution," Bush said, "because it separates church and state for the first time in a modern-day constitution in Iraq."
And, "the Iraqi example is going to spread" across the Middle East, the president said.
Bush said Islamic radicals who meld religion and government into one entity fear the spread of democracy across the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. That's because democracy, unlike the theocracies envisioned by the terrorists, promotes the separation of church and state and respects human rights.
"And those thoughts frighten the enemy," Bush said.