Cheney to Troops: U.S. Will Keep Its Word in Iraq
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Oct. 17, 2006 Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror, and America’s only option is to take the fight directly to the enemy and accept no outcome except the victory of freedom, Vice President Dick Cheney said here yesterday.
“Having seen our interests attacked repeatedly over the years, and knowing the ambitions of the terrorists, this nation has made a decision,” Cheney said. “We will engage these enemies. We’ll face them far from home, so we do not have to face them on the streets of our own cities.”
Cheney spoke to more than 4,000 troops and family members of the 101st Airborne Division, many of whom returned Sept. 25 from a year-long tour in Iraq. Cheney thanked the troops for their service, noting their honorable peformance under difficult conditions.
“You’ve handled tough assignments with skill and with honor,” Cheney said to the amassed soldiers. “You’ve been faithful to your mission, and to one another. You have re-enlisted at impressive rates. This country is very proud of you.”
America understands the brutal nature of the terrorists and their goal to establish a totalitarian empire throughout the Middle East, Cheney said. The war on terror is difficult because the enemy sees the entire world as a battlefield, he noted, and the terrorists know that if freedom takes hold, their ideologies of hatred and resentment will lose appeal.
The terrorists know they cannot beat the United States in a stand-up fight, Cheney said, so they try to intimidate the civilized world through acts of terror, hoping to break the will of the American people. But Americans have learned the lessons of history, and know that leaving Iraq before the job is done would only cause the terrorists to come after the United States, he said.
Through daily interaction with Iraqis, U.S. servicemembers are showing Iraq the true character of America, Cheney said. Troops have worked diligently to ensure Iraqi families have police protection, electricity, water and sanitation, he said.
“By your openness, your decency, by honor and your kindness to others in thousands of interactions every day, you have built bonds of friendship between our two countries,” Cheney said to the troops. “It’s a sign that much is right with the world as a democratically elected government works to serve the people, to end the violence, and to resolve differences through peaceful means.”
The United States will continue the work of reconstruction in Iraq, Cheney said, as well as continuing to strike the enemy. U.S. forces will train Iraqi forces to defend their own country, and will change tactics as necessary to achieve the mission, he said.
“In all the difficult work that lies ahead, the Iraqi people can know that the United States is a nation that keeps its word,” Cheney said.
Wars are not won on the defensive, Cheney noted, and the United States has had to rely on the bravery, toughness and skill of some very dedicated troops to take the fight to the terrorists. The American people know about the heroism soldiers display every day in the war, and stand in total admiration of those who have put themselves in danger to defend freedom, he said.
“Our freedom depends on men and women who live by the ethic of service above self, and who place duty and the national interest above any considerations of personal comfort or safety,” Cheney said. “Those who put their lives on the line for America are the best among us.”
Every sacrifice of life reminds the nation that freedom comes at a price, and America is fortunate that so many troops have stepped forward to serve, knowing the danger they will face, Cheney said. They and their families are deeply appreciated, and are the reason the U.S. will be victorious in the war on terror, he said.
“Standing here with the soldiers and families of Fort Campbell, I have never had more confidence in the nerve and the will of the American people,” Cheney said. “We know the hopes of the civilized world depend on us. Our cause is right; it is just. And this great nation will prevail.”