Bush: Terrorists Can't Stop Advance of Freedom
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 4, 2005 Terrorists may continue to kill innocent people, but they can't stop the advance of freedom, President Bush told an Independence Day audience in Morgantown, W.Va., today.
"Our enemies in this new war are men who celebrate murder, incite suicide and thirst for absolute power," Bush said. "They seek to spread their ideology of tyranny and oppression across the world. They seek to turn the Middle East into a haven for terror. They seek to drive America out of the region. These terrorists will not be stopped by negotiations, or concessions, or appeals to reason. In this war, there is only one option, and that is victory.
"We're denying our enemies sanctuary and making it clear that America will not tolerate regimes that harbor or support terrorists," he continued. "And we're spreading freedom, because the terrorists know there is no room for them in a free and democratic Middle East."
Terrorists from across the region are converging on Iraq to fight the rise of democracy, the president noted.
"The images of cruelty and suffering we see on television are real, and they are difficult for our compassionate nation to watch," he said. "Yet, the terrorist violence has not brought them any closer to achieving their strategic objectives. The terrorists tried to intimidate the Iraqi Governing Council, and they failed. They tried to delay the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq, and they failed. They tried to stop the free Iraqi elections, and they failed.
"They continue to kill in the hope that they will break the resolve of the American people," he continued, "but they will fail. The lesson of this experience is clear: the terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom."
The president noted the work U.S. military members are doing in Iraq. "By helping Iraqis build a free and democratic nation," he said, "we will give strength to an ally in the war on terror, and we'll make America more secure. To continue building a free and democratic Iraq, Americans and Iraqis are fighting side by side to stop the terrorists and insurgents. And our military is helping to train Iraqi forces so they can defend their own liberty."
He repeated his pledge from a nationally televised June 28 speech at Fort Bragg, N.C., that as Iraqi forces stand up, U.S. forces will be able to stand down and return home.
Bush also offered thanks to military families. "I thank all the military families who are with us today," he said. "Times of war are times of great sacrifice, and the burden falls especially hard on the families. You're playing a vital role at a crucial time in our nation's history. All Americans are inspired by the strength and the sacrifice of our military families.
And noting that "some of America's finest men and women have given their lives in the war on terror," the president said the nation remembers them in celebrating its independence.
"We pray for the families who have lost a loved one in freedom's cause," he said. "And we know that the best way to honor their sacrifice is to complete the mission, so we will stay until the fight is won."
As he has on other occasions in recent days, the president encouraged the audience to visit a Defense Department Web site, www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil, to find ways to support the nation's men and women in uniform. "At this time, when we celebrate our freedom, our troops have got to understand that the American people support them all the way," he said.
Bush recalled the difficulty of America's revolution and the spirit it kindled in the nation's citizens for generations to follow. "During that hot summer in Philadelphia more than 200 years ago, from our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a civil war, to the hard-fought battles of the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way," he said.
"But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths: We know that the freedom we defend is meant for all men and women, and for all times," he continued. "And we know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat; it is courage."