President Bush in Springfield, MO today:
We have more to do to wage and win the war against terror. America’s future depends on our willingness to lead in the world. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy.
BUSH: This will not happen on my watch.
The world changed on a terrible September morning. And since that day, we’ve changed the world.
Before September the 11th, Afghanistan served as the home base for Al Qaida, which trained and deployed thousands of killers to set up terror cells in dozens of countries, including our own. Today, Afghanistan is a rising democracy, an ally in the war on terror, a place where many young girls go to school for the first time. And as a result of our actions, America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, Pakistan was a safe transit point for terrorists. Today, Pakistani forces are aggressively helping to round up the terrorists and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, in Saudi Arabia, terrorists were raising money and recruiting and operating with little opposition. Today, the Saudi government has taken the fight to Al Qaida and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, Libya was spending millions to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and clear message, the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and America and the world are safer.
Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America.
BUSH: He was defying the world. He was firing weapons at American pilots and forcing the world’s sanctions. He had pursued and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. He had harbored terrorists. He invaded his neighbors. He subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He had murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in the world’s most vulnerable region.
I took those threats seriously. After September the 11th, we had to look at the threats in a new light. One of the lessons of September the 11th is we must deal with threats before they fully materialize.
The September the 11th commission concluded that our institutions of government had failed to imagine the horror of that day. After September the 11th, we cannot fail to imagine that a brutal tyrant, who hated America, who had ties to terror, had weapons of mass destruction and might use those weapons or share his deadly capability with terrorists was not a threat.
We looked at the intelligence. We saw a threat. Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and they saw a threat.
We went to the United Nations, which unanimously demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs or face serious consequences. After 12 years of defiance, he refused to comply with the demands of the free world.
When he continued to deceive the weapons inspectors, I had a decision to make: to hope for the best and to trust the word of a madman and a tyrant, or remember the lessons of September the 11th and defend our country.
BUSH: Given that choice, I will defend America every time.
When it comes to fighting the threats of our world and making America safer and promoting the peace, we’re turning the corner, and we’re not turning back.