Saturday, September 04, 2004

Capture of bin Laden Close?

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.


"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.


Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months — when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaida operatives — Black said, "Yes, I would say this."


Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaida fugitives would be nabbed.


"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place," he told Geo.


Bin Laden and his top associate, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding some place along the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan (news - web sites). Officials have divulged no solid intelligence about bin Laden's precise whereabouts, and it's not clear if they have any.


Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, and Black's visit comes weeks after Pakistani security forces captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in east Africa, and Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert allegedly linked to al-Qaida operatives around the world.


The arrests led to a terror warning in the United States, and arrests in Britain and the United Arab Emirates.


Black attended a meeting of the Pakistan-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement in Islamabad on Thursday and Friday.


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MEMRI:London Convention Will Celebrate 9/11

The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that the extremist Islamic movement Al-Muhajiroun had announced a convention in London, titled "The Choice is in Your Hands: Either You're with the Muslims or with the Infidels," to mark the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The organization had planned a similar anniversary event a year ago, called "The Magnificent 19 [Suicide Attackers]," but had cancelled it at the last minute. The following is a summary of the report: [1]


Al-Muhajiroun leader Omar Bakri, a Syrian residing in London, told the paper by phone that the convention would feature Al-Qa'ida "surprises," with the screening of a never-before-shown video. He said that the convention will focus on "the anniversary of the division of the world into two great camps – the camp of faith and the camp of unbelief," and would take place September 11, 2004 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Bakri added: "On this day, we will talk about the ramifications of these [9/11] operations for Afghanistan and Iraq… We want the world to remember this operation … that lifted the head of the [Muslim] nation." Bakri called 9/11 "a cry of Jihad against unbelief and oppression," and said that the aim of remembering it is to "revive the commandment of Jihad among the youth of the [Muslim] nation."

Bakri said that the convention will also feature a lecture about the Islamic religious roots of "slaughtering the infidels," that is, beheading foreigners in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and that there will be films by Al-Qa'ida, the Tawhid and Jihad organization, and the Brigades of the Two Holy Places in the Arabian Peninsula, and that there will also be a film on the most recent operations in Chechnya. He added that one of the speeches, by Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, known to be Al-Qa'ida's military commander in Iraq, will be translated.

Another lecture, he said, would be dedicated to the memory of three Al-Qa'ida commanders: Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Muqren (Abu Hajer), killed in June 2004 by Saudi security forces; his predecessor Yousef Al-Ayyiri, killed in June 2003 in a clash with Saudi security forces, and Abu Hafs Al-Masri, a top Al-Qa'ida military officer, killed in the U.S. attack on Kandahar in late 2001.

According to Bakri, the anticipated criticism of Al-Muhajiroun for the organization's insistence on memorializing 9/11 will be "a simple sacrifice in comparison with what we must actually do – that is, support the Jihad led by bin Laden."

Attorney Anjam Choudry, secretary-general of Al-Muhajiroun in Britain, said, "A large hall has already been secured for the convention, but the announcement came only two days ago for fear that the British police would try to cancel it, as happened with the previous convention."


http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD77804
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Friday, September 03, 2004

Campaign 2004: Bush Opens Double-Digit Lead

http://www.time.com/time/press_releases/article/0,8599,692562,00.html

Campaign 2004: Bush Opens Double-Digit Lead
TIME Poll: Among likely voters, 52% would vote for President George Bush, while 41% would vote for John Kerry and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader



Friday, Sep. 03, 2004
New York: For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Poll results are available on TIME.com and will appear in the upcoming issue of TIME magazine, on newsstands Monday, Sept. 6.

Most important issues: When asked what they consider are the most important issues, 25% of registered voters cited the economy as the top issue, followed by 24% who cited the war on terrorism as the top issue. The situation in Iraq was rated the top issue by 17% of registered voters, moral values issues such as gay marriage and abortion were the top issue for 16% of respondents, and health care was the most important issue for 11% of respondents.

Bush vs. Kerry:
The economy: 47% trust President Bush more to handle the economy, while 45% trust Kerry.
Health care: 48% trust Senator Kerry to handle health care issues, while 42% trust Bush.
Iraq: 53% trust Bush to handle the situation in Iraq, while 41% trust Kerry.
Terrorism: 57% trust Bush to handle the war on terrorism, while 36% trust Kerry.
Understanding the needs of people: 47% said they trust Kerry to understand the needs of people like themselves, while 44% trusted Bush to understand their needs.
Providing strong leadership: 56% said they trust Bush to provide strong leadership in difficult times, while 37% said they trust Kerry to provide leadership in difficult times.
Tax policy: 49% trust Bush to handle tax policy, while 40% trust Kerry.
Commanding the Armed Forces: 54% said they trust Bush to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, while 39% said they trust Kerry.

Bush on the Issues:
Iraq: Half (50%) of those surveyed approve of the way President Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while 46% disapprove. In last week’s TIME poll, 48% approved of the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq and 48% disapproved.
Terrorism: Almost two thirds (59%) said they approve of how President Bush is handling the war on terrorism, while 38% disapprove. Last week’s TIME poll found 55% approved of Bush’s handling of the war on terrorism, while 40% disapproved.
The Economy: Survey respondents were split on the President’s handling of the economy. Almost half (48%) said the approved of Bush’s handling of the economy, while 48% said the disapproved.

Other results include:
Was U.S. Right Going to War with Iraq? Over half of those surveyed (52%) think the U.S. was right in going to war with Iraq, while 41% think the U.S. was wrong to go to war.

Have the United States’ actions in Iraq made the world safer? Almost half (45%) think the United States’ actions in Iraq have made the world safer, while 45% think the world is more dangerous. In a similar TIME poll taken Aug. 3 – 5, over half (52%) said the world was more dangerous, and 38% said the world was safer.

# # #

Methodology: The TIME Poll was conducted August 31 – September 2 by telephone among a random sample of 1,316 adults, including 1,128 reported registered voters and 926 likely voters. The margin of error for registered voters is +/- 3% points, and +/- 4% points for likely voters. Schulman, Ronca, & Bucuvalas (SRBI) Public Affairs conducted the poll, and more complete results are attached.


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Germany warns of major al-Qaida attack on U.S.

New York Times

BERLIN — The leader of Germany's foreign intelligence agency warned Tuesday night of an increased likelihood of a major terror attack by al-Qaida in the weeks before the American presidential election.

"There is fear of a big attack on America by the terror organization al-Qaida before the presidential elections in November," August Hanning, director of the Federal Intelligence Service, said in a speech in Heidelberg, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

Hanning said that in the last few months al-Qaida had realigned its organizational structure and personnel resources and that the likelihood of terror attacks was "bigger than ever before, " the news agency reported.

Countries that were allies of the United States or supported the war in Iraq were the most likely targets for al-Qaida attacks, but American institutions in Germany, which has opposed the war, were also under threat, he said.

Rolf Tophoven, director of Germany's Institute for Terrorism Research and Security Policy, said Hanning's warning should be taken seriously.

"The inside information of the German Federal Intelligence Service is very good, especially when it comes to militant Islamists," Tophoven said.

"Either the Germans have better intelligence findings than the American intelligence agencies or we are dealing with a case of psychological warfare against the terrorists," he said.

The intelligence service, he said, "tries to disorient the terrorists by telling them: 'We know exactly what you are up to. Just because nothing happened during the European soccer championship and the Olympic Games in Athens doesn't mean we've become less alert now.' "





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BBC: Explosions in Russian School

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3624024.stm

Heavy gunfire and explosions have engulfed the school in North Ossetia, where hundreds of children and adults are being held hostage.
A large number of people have been seen fleeing the premises, many of them covered in blood.

The hostage takers apparently tried to escape the school building together with some of the hostages as soldiers fired on them.

Helicopters hovered overhead and there were troops everywhere.


Parts of the school are reported to have been blown up, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford reported, and a section of the roof appears to have collapsed

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

President Bush Speech

Mr. Chairman, delegates, fellow citizens: I am honored by your support, and I accept your nomination for President of the United States.


When I said those words four years ago, none of us could have envisioned what these years would bring. In the heart of this great city, we saw tragedy arrive on a quiet morning. We saw the bravery of rescuers grow with danger. We learned of passengers on a doomed plane who died with a courage that frightened their killers. We have seen a shaken economy rise to its feet. And we have seen Americans in uniform storming mountain strongholds, and charging through sandstorms and liberating millions, with acts of valor that would make the men of Normandy proud.


Since 2001, Americans have been given hills to climb and found the strength to climb them. Now, because we have made the hard journey, we can see the valley below. Now, because we have faced challenges with resolve, we have historic goals within our reach, and greatness in our future. We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America and nothing will hold us back.


In the work we have done, and the work we will do, I am fortunate to have a superb vice president. I have counted on Dick Cheney (news - web sites)'s calm and steady judgment in difficult days and I am honored to have him at my side.


I am grateful to share my walk in life with Laura Bush. Americans have come to see the goodness and kindness and strength I first saw 26 years ago, and we love our first lady.


I am a fortunate father of two spirited, intelligent and lovely young women. I am blessed with a sister and brothers who are also my closest friends. And I will always be the proud and grateful son of George and Barbara Bush.


My father served eight years at the side of another great American — Ronald Reagan (news - web sites). His spirit of optimism and goodwill and decency are in this hall, and in our hearts, and will always define our party.


Two months from today, voters will make a choice based on the records we have built, the convictions we hold and the vision that guides us forward. A presidential election is a contest for the future. Tonight I will tell you where I stand, what I believe, and where I will lead this country in the next four years.


I believe every child can learn and every school must teach — so we passed the most important federal education reform in history. Because we acted, children are making sustained progress in reading and math, America's schools are getting better, and nothing will hold us back.


I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor America's seniors — so I brought Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare. Now seniors are getting immediate help buying medicine. Soon every senior will be able to get prescription drug coverage and nothing will hold us back.


I believe in the energy and innovative spirit of America's workers, entrepreneurs, farmers and ranchers — so we unleashed that energy with the largest tax relief in a generation. Because we acted, our economy is growing again, and creating jobs and nothing will hold us back.


I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.


I am running for President with a clear and positive plan to build a safer world and a more hopeful America. I am running with a compassionate conservative philosophy: that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives. I believe this nation wants steady, consistent, principled leadership — and that is why, with your help, we will win this election.


The story of America is the story of expanding liberty: an ever_widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more. Our nation's founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom.


The times in which we live and work are changing dramatically. The workers of our parents' generation typically had one job, one skill, one career — often with one company that provided health care and a pension. And most of those workers were men. Today, workers change jobs, even careers, many times during their lives, and in one of the most dramatic shifts our society has seen, two-thirds of all moms also work outside the home.


This changed world can be a time of great opportunity for all Americans to earn a better living, support your family, and have a rewarding career. And government must take your side. Many of our most fundamental systems — the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training — were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow.We will transform these systems so that all citizens are equipped, prepared — and thus truly free — to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams.





My plan begins with providing the security and opportunity of a growing economy. We now compete in a global market that provides new buyers for our goods, but new competition for our workers. To create more jobs in America, America must be the best place in the world to do business. To create jobs, my plan will encourage investment and expansion by restraining federal spending, reducing regulation and making tax relief permanent. To create jobs, we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy. To create jobs, we will expand trade and level the playing field to sell American goods and services across the globe. And we must protect small business owners and workers from the explosion of frivolous lawsuits that threaten jobs across America.

Another drag on our economy is the current tax code, which is a complicated mess — filled with special interest loopholes, saddling our people with more than six billion hours of paperwork and headache every year. The American people deserve — and our economic future demands __ a simpler, fairer, pro-growth system. In a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code.

Another priority in a new term will be to help workers take advantage of the expanding economy to find better, higher-paying jobs. In this time of change, many workers want to go back to school to learn different or higher-level skills. So we will double the number of people served by our principal job training program and increase funding for community colleges. I know that with the right skills, American workers can compete with anyone, anywhere in the world.

In this time of change, opportunity in some communities is more distant than in others. To stand with workers in poor communities — and those that have lost manufacturing, textile and other jobs — we will create American opportunity zones. In these areas, we'll provide tax relief and other incentives to attract new business and improve housing and job training to bring hope and work throughout all of America.

As I've traveled the country, I've met many workers and small business owners who have told me they are worried they cannot afford health care. More than half of the uninsured are small business employees and their families. In a new term, we must allow small firms to join together to purchase insurance at the discounts available to big companies. We will offer a tax credit to encourage small businesses and their employees to set up health savings accounts, and provide direct help for low-income Americans to purchase them. These accounts give workers the security of insurance against major illness, the opportunity to save tax-free for routine health expenses and the freedom of knowing you can take your account with you whenever you change jobs. And we will provide low-income Americans with better access to health care: In a new term, I will ensure every poor county in America has a community or rural health center.

As I have traveled our country, I have met too many good doctors, especially ob-gyn , who are being forced out of practice because of the high cost of lawsuits. To make health care more affordable and accessible, we must pass medical liability reform now. And in all we do to improve health care in America, we will make sure that health decisions are made by doctors and patients, not by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

In this time of change, government must take the side of working families. In a new term, we will change outdated labor laws to offer comp time and flex time. Our laws should never stand in the way of a more family friendly workplace.

Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security, and dignity and independence.

Thanks to our policies, homeownership in America is at an all-time high. Tonight we set a new goal: seven million more affordable homes in the next 10 years so more American families will be able to open the door and say "Welcome to my home."

In an ownership society, more people will own their health plans and have the confidence of owning a piece of their retirement. We will always keep the promise of Social Security (news - web sites) for our older workers. With the huge Baby Boom generation approaching retirement, many of our children and grandchildren understandably worry whether Social Security will be there when they need it. We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account — a nest egg you can call your own and government can never take away.

In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path — a path to greater opportunity, more freedom and more control over your own life.

This path begins with our youngest Americans. To build a more hopeful America, we must help our children reach as far as their vision and character can take them. Tonight, I remind every parent and every teacher, I say to every child: No matter what your circumstance, no matter where you live — your school will be the path to the promise of America.

We are transforming our schools by raising standards and focusing on results. We are insisting on accountability, empowering parents and teachers and making sure that local people are in charge of their schools. By testing every child, we are identifying those who need help — and we're providing a record level of funding to get them that help. In northeast Georgia, Gainesville Elementary School is mostly Hispanic and 90 percent poor — and this year 90 percent of its students passed state tests in reading and math. The principal expresses the philosophy of his school this way: "We don't focus on what we can't do at this school; we focus on what we can do. We do whatever it takes to get kids across the finish line." This principal is challenging the soft bigotry of low expectations, and that is the spirit of our education reform and the commitment of our country: No dejaremos a ningun nino atras. We will leave no child behind.

We are making progress — and there is more to do. In this time of change, most new jobs are filled by people with at least two years of college, yet only about one in four students gets there. In our high schools, we will fund early intervention programs to help students at risk. We will place a new focus on math and science. As we make progress, we will require a rigorous exam before graduation. By raising performance in our high schools, and expanding Pell grants for low and middle income families, we will help more Americans start their career with a college diploma.

America's children must also have a healthy start in life. In a new term, we will lead an aggressive effort to enroll millions of poor children who are eligible but not signed up for the government's health insurance programs. We will not allow a lack of attention, or information, to stand between these children and the health care they need.

Anyone who wants more details on my agenda can find them online. The web address is not very imaginative, but it's easy to remember: GeorgeWBush.com.

These changing times can be exciting times of expanded opportunity. And here, you face a choice. My opponent's policies are dramatically different from ours. Senator Kerry opposed Medicare reform and health savings accounts. After supporting my education reforms, he now wants to dilute them. He opposes legal and medical liability reform. He opposed reducing the marriage penalty, opposed doubling the child credit and opposed lowering income taxes for all who pay them. To be fair, there are some things my opponent is for — he's proposed more than two trillion dollars in new federal spending so far, and that's a lot, even for a senator from Massachusetts. To pay for that spending, he is running on a platform of increasing taxes — and that's the kind of promise a politician usually keeps.

His policies of tax and spend — of expanding government rather than expanding opportunity — are the policies of the past. We are on the path to the future — and we are not turning back.

In this world of change, some things do not change: the values we try to live by, the institutions that give our lives meaning and purpose. Our society rests on a foundation of responsibility and character and family commitment.

Because family and work are sources of stability and dignity, I support welfare reform that strengthens family and requires work. Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child. Because religious charities provide a safety net of mercy and compassion, our government must never discriminate against them. Because the union of a man and woman deserves an honored place in our society, I support the protection of marriage against activist judges. And I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law.

My opponent recently announced that he is the candidate of "conservative values," which must have come as a surprise to a lot of his supporters. Now, there are some problems with this claim. If you say the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood, I'm afraid you are not the candidate of conservative values. If you voted against the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act, which President Clinton (news - web sites) signed, you are not the candidate of conservative values. If you gave a speech, as my opponent did, calling the Reagan presidency eight years of "moral darkness," then you may be a lot of things, but the candidate of conservative values is not one of them.

This election will also determine how America responds to the continuing danger of terrorism — and you know where I stand. Three days after September 11th, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the Twin Towers. Workers in hard hats were shouting to me, "Whatever it takes." A fellow grabbed me by the arm and he said, "Do not let me down." Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America — whatever it takes.

So we have fought the terrorists across the earth — not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake. Our strategy is clear. We have tripled funding for homeland security and trained half a million first responders, because we are determined to protect our homeland. We are transforming our military and reforming and strengthening our intelligence services. We are staying on the offensive — striking terrorists abroad — so we do not have to face them here at home. And we are working to advance liberty in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring a future of hope, and the peace we all want. And we will prevail.

Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan (news - web sites) was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fund-raising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq (news - web sites) was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer.

This progress involved careful diplomacy, clear moral purpose, and some tough decisions. And the toughest came on Iraq. We knew Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s record of aggression and support for terror. We knew his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction. And we know that Sept. 11th requires our country to think differently: We must, and we will, confront threats to America before it is too late.

In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat. Members of both political parties, including my opponent and his running mate, saw the threat, and voted to authorize the use of force. We went to the United Nations (news - web sites) Security Council, which passed a unanimous resolution demanding the dictator disarm, or face serious consequences. Leaders in the Middle East urged him to comply. After more than a decade of diplomacy, we gave Saddam Hussein another chance, a final chance, to meet his responsibilities to the civilized world. He again refused, and I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office — a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make. Do I forget the lessons of Sept. 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.

Because we acted to defend our country, the murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are history, more than 50 million people have been liberated, and democracy is coming to the broader Middle East. In Afghanistan, terrorists have done everything they can to intimidate people — yet more than 10 million citizens have registered to vote in the October presidential election — a resounding endorsement of democracy. Despite ongoing acts of violence, Iraq now has a strong prime minister, a national council, and national elections are scheduled for January.

Our nation is standing with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, because when America gives its word, America must keep its word. As importantly, we are serving a vital and historic cause that will make our country safer. Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace. So our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned.

Our troops know the historic importance of our work. One Army Specialist wrote home: "We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place ... The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq," he continued, "are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."

That young man is right — our men and women in uniform are doing a superb job for America. Tonight I want to speak to all of them — and to their families: You are involved in a struggle of historic proportion. Because of your service and sacrifice, we are defeating the terrorists where they live and plan and making America safer. Because of you, women in Afghanistan are no longer shot in a sports stadium. Because of you, the people of Iraq no longer fear being executed and left in mass graves. Because of you, the world is more just and will be more peaceful. We owe you our thanks, and we owe you something more. We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory.

Again, my opponent and I have different approaches. I proposed, and the Congress overwhelmingly passed, $87 billion in funding needed by our troops doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor. When asked to explain his vote, the Senator said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." Then he said he was "proud" of that vote. Then, when pressed, he said it was a "complicated" matter. There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.

Our allies also know the historic importance of our work. About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq. And I deeply appreciate the courage and wise counsel of leaders like Prime Minister Howard, and President Kwasniewski, and Prime Minister Berlusconi — and, of course, Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites).

Again, my opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America's allies, quote, a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed." That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador (news - web sites), Australia, and others — allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician. I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.

The people we have freed won't forget either. Not long ago, seven Iraqi men came to see me in the Oval Office. They had "X"s branded into their foreheads, and their right hands had been cut off, by Saddam Hussein's secret police, the sadistic punishment for imaginary crimes. During our emotional visit one of the Iraqi men used his new prosthetic hand to slowly write out, in Arabic, a prayer for God to bless America. I am proud that our country remains the hope of the oppressed, and the greatest force for good on this earth.

Others understand the historic importance of our work. The terrorists know. They know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate. They know that men and women with hope, and purpose, and dignity do not strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent. The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear — and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances — heart by heart, and nation by nation — America will be more secure and the world more peaceful.

America has done this kind of work before — and there have always been doubters. In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times, "Germany is ... a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. European capitals are frightened. In every military headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed." End quote. Maybe that same person's still around, writing editorials. Fortunately, we had a resolute president named Truman, who with the American people persevered, knowing that a new democracy at the center of Europe would lead to stability and peace. And because that generation of Americans held firm in the cause of liberty, we live in a better and safer world today.

The progress we and our friends and allies seek in the broader Middle East will not come easily, or all at once. Yet Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of liberty to transform lives and nations. That power brought settlers on perilous journeys, inspired colonies to rebellion, ended the sin of slavery, and set our Nation against the tyrannies of the 20th century. We were honored to aid the rise of democracy in Germany and Japan and Nicaragua and Central Europe and the Baltics — and that noble story goes on. I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty. I believe that given the chance, they will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world.

This moment in the life of our country will be remembered. Generations will know if we kept our faith and kept our word. Generations will know if we seized this moment, and used it to build a future of safety and peace. The freedom of many, and the future security of our Nation, now depend on us. And tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me.

In the last four years, you and I have come to know each other. Even when we don't agree, at least you know what I believe and where I stand. You may have noticed I have a few flaws, too. People sometimes have to correct my English — I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites) started doing it. Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking." Now and then I come across as a little too blunt — and for that we can all thank the white-haired lady sitting right up there.

One thing I have learned about the presidency is that whatever shortcomings you have, people are going to notice them — and whatever strengths you have, you're going to need them. These four years have brought moments I could not foresee and will not forget. I have tried to comfort Americans who lost the most on Sept. 11th — people who showed me a picture or told me a story, so I would know how much was taken from them. I have learned first-hand that ordering Americans into battle is the hardest decision, even when it is right. I have returned the salute of wounded soldiers, some with a very tough road ahead, who say they were just doing their job. I've held the children of the fallen, who are told their dad or mom is a hero, but would rather just have their dad or mom.

And I have met with parents and wives and husbands who have received a folded flag, and said a final goodbye to a soldier they loved. I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers — to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong.

The world saw that spirit three miles from here, when the people of this city faced peril together, and lifted a flag over the ruins, and defied the enemy with their courage. My fellow Americans, for as long as our country stands, people will look to the resurrection of New York City and they will say: Here buildings fell, and here a nation rose.

We see America's character in our military, which finds a way or makes one. We see it in our veterans, who are supporting military families in their days of worry. We see it in our young people, who have found heroes once again. We see that character in workers and entrepreneurs, who are renewing our economy with their effort and optimism. And all of this has confirmed one belief beyond doubt: Having come this far, our tested and confident Nation can achieve anything.

To everything we know there is a season — a time for sadness, a time for struggle, a time for rebuilding. And now we have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America — and tonight, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward — grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth.

God bless you, and may God continue to bless America.








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Editor of Kuwaiti Daily: 'We are with President Bush'

Today, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, editor of the Kuwaiti Daily Al-Siyassa and the Arab Times wrote an article in support of President Bush. The following is the article:

"We are with President Bush who has said, 'I am the man who makes history.' Who, other than President Bush, can launch a war against terrorism? Who else will come to the rescue of people suppressed by dictators? Who else was there to build and develop nations? And above all who made democracy the new international system for all the people in this world?

"None of the Middle Eastern countries could face terrorism alone. Some of them went to the extent of making compromises and allying with terrorist organizations. These countries were afraid to kick out terrorists until the United States arrived on the scene, heading a coalition of the willing to root out terrorism. Some people may be skeptical about what the U.S. has achieved. But we know it has not only liberated Afghanistan from Taliban and its ally Osama Bin Laden but also created a modern democratic country with its own police, army and other civil institutions. The United States has also liberated the Iraqi people and created a modern country from the ruins of the former regime. There are some people who still call the war to liberate Iraq as 'baseless,' citing the failure of Americans to find any weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"What they forget is the Americans did find many mass graves where millions had been buried alive. This alone is enough to prove Saddam's regime was more lethal than any WMD man has known.

"Quite recently the U.S. forces have cleansed the holy places in Najaf of the remnants of the former regime and other infiltrators. When we consider all these there is no doubt Bush is a man who creates history. Western countries, which were against Bush in his war on terrorism, are now feeling the painful stings of terrorism. France has two of its citizens kidnapped in Iraq. The kidnappers have threatened to behead the French hostages if France fails to reconsider its law, which bans Muslim women from wearing hijab in schools.

"Terrorism can be tackled only through war and only the United States, backed by a President who creates history, is capable of handling such a war. We must remember Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Terrorists exploit the religion to achieve their objective, which is to destroy civilization, kill people, start wars and plunge the world into darkness. We saw how these terrorists kidnapped and killed innocent people under the cloak of religion only to forget all about their cause in exchange for a fistful of dollars.

"The entire world is aware of the cause and effect of terrorism. The killing and beheading of some innocent people won't prevent the United States or its allies from confronting terrorism. Americans are convinced of the need to fight this menace and no country is better equipped to do this job except the United States, which has the mightiest armed forces history has ever known. President Bush has the right to say 'I am the man who makes history' because he is fighting aggression against modern civilization. He is creating countries which enjoy democracy, peace, stability and security. These countries are now able to be a part of the international community sharing their traditions and culture with the rest of the humanity. Bush is the President of not only the United States but the whole world for he is making history on this small planet."

For more on Ahmad Jarallah, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 701, April 26, 2004, 'Editor of Kuwaiti Dailies Ahmad Jarallah's Recent Editorials on the Middle East,'
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP70104 ;


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Check this out

I Believe Noel is Taking This A Way Bit Too Serious but he's a good writer and in the spirit of political discourse invite you to his site. The blog's title should be a clue, Noel, my serious writing is found in my magazine and book work.

But thanks for the comments
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The Wages of Appeasement

Do You Really Want a "Kinder and Gentler" war on terror?

The Wages of Appeasement
How Jimmy Carter and academic multiculturalists helped bring us Sept. 11.



BY VICTOR DAVIS HANSON


Imagine a different Nov. 4, 1979, in Tehran. Shortly after Iranian terrorists storm the American Embassy and take some 90 American hostages, President Carter announces that Islamic fundamentalism is not a legitimate response to the excess of the shah but a new and dangerous fascism that threatens all that liberal society holds dear. And then he issues an ultimatum to Tehran's leaders: Release the captives or face a devastating military response.

When that demand is not met, instead of freezing Iran's assets, stopping the importation of its oil, or seeking support at the U.N., Mr. Carter orders an immediate blockade of the country, followed by promises to bomb, first, all of its major military assets, and then its main government buildings and residences of its ruling mullocracy. The Ayatollah Khomeini might well have called his bluff; we may well have tragically lost the hostages (151 fewer American lives than the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would take four years later in a single day in Lebanon). And there might well have been the sort of chaos in Tehran that we now witness in Baghdad. But we would have seen it all in 1979--and not in 2001, after almost a quarter-century of continuous Middle East terrorism, culminating in the mass murder of 3,000 Americans and the leveling of the World Trade Center.

The 20th century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants. British and French restraint over the occupation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, the absorption of the Czech Sudetenland, and the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia did not win gratitude but rather Hitler's contempt for their weakness. Fifty million dead, the Holocaust and the near destruction of European civilization were the wages of "appeasement"--a term that early-1930s liberals proudly embraced as far more enlightened than the old idea of "deterrence" and "military readiness."

So too did Western excuses for the Russians' violation of guarantees of free elections in postwar Eastern Europe, China and Southeast Asia only embolden the Soviet Union. What eventually contained Stalinism was the Truman Doctrine, NATO and nuclear deterrence--not the United Nations--and what destroyed its legacy was Ronald Reagan's assertiveness, not Jimmy Carter's accommodation or Richard Nixon's détente.



As long ago as the fourth century B.C., Demosthenes warned how complacency and self-delusion among an affluent and free Athenian people allowed a Macedonian thug like Philip II to end some four centuries of Greek liberty--and in a mere 20 years of creeping aggrandizement down the Greek peninsula. Thereafter, these historical lessons should have been clear to citizens of any liberal society: We must neither presume that comfort and security are our birthrights and are guaranteed without constant sacrifice and vigilance, nor expect that peoples outside the purview of bourgeois liberalism share our commitment to reason, tolerance and enlightened self-interest.

Most important, military deterrence and the willingness to use force against evil in its infancy usually end up, in the terrible arithmetic of war, saving more lives than they cost. All this can be a hard lesson to relearn each generation, especially now that we contend with the sirens of the mall, Oprah and latte. Our affluence and leisure are as antithetical to the use of force as rural life and relative poverty once were catalysts for muscular action. The age-old lure of appeasement--perhaps they will cease with this latest concession, perhaps we provoked our enemies, perhaps demonstrations of our future good intentions will win their approval--was never more evident than in the recent Spanish elections, when an affluent European electorate, reeling from the horrific terrorist attack of 3/11, swept from power the pro-U.S. center-right government on the grounds that the mass murders were more the fault of the United States for dragging Spain into the effort to remove fascists and implant democracy in Iraq than of the primordial al Qaedaist culprits, who long ago promised the Western and Christian Iberians ruin for the Crusades and the Reconquista.

What went wrong with the West--and with the United States in particular--when not just the classical but especially the recent antecedents to Sept. 11, from the Iranian hostage-taking to the attack on the USS Cole, were so clear? Though Americans in an election year, legitimately concerned about our war dead, may now be divided over the Iraqi occupation, polls nevertheless show a surprising consensus that the many precursors to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were acts of war, not police matters. Roll the tape backward from the USS Cole in 2000, through the bombing of the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the Khobar Towers in 1996, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the destruction of the American Embassy and annex in Beirut in 1983, the mass murder of 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers asleep in their Lebanese barracks that same year, and assorted kidnappings and gruesome murders of American citizens and diplomats (including TWA Flight 800, Pan Am 103, William R. Higgins, Leon Klinghoffer, Robert Dean Stethem and CIA operative William Francis Buckley), until we arrive at the Iranian hostage-taking of November 1979: That debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy and Middle East state terrorism--and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it and go to war against it.

That lapse, worth meditating upon in this 25th anniversary year of Khomeinism, then set the precedent that such aggression against the United States was better adjudicated as a matter of law than settled by war. Criminals were to be understood, not punished; and we, not our enemies, were at fault for our past behavior. Whether Mr. Carter's impotence sprang from his deep-seated moral distrust of using American power unilaterally or from real remorse over past American actions in the Cold War or even from his innate pessimism about the military capability of the United States mattered little to the hostage takers in Tehran, who for 444 days humiliated the United States through a variety of public demands for changes in U.S. foreign policy, the return of the exiled shah, and reparations.



But if we know how we failed to respond in the last three decades, do we yet grasp why we were so afraid to act decisively at these earlier junctures, which might have stopped the chain of events that would lead to the al Qaeda terrorist acts of Sept/ 11? Our failure was never due to a lack of the necessary wealth or military resources, but rather to a deeply ingrained assumption that we should not retaliate--a hesitancy al Qaeda perceives and plays upon.

Along that sad succession of provocations, we can look back and see particularly critical turning points that reflected this now-institutionalized state policy of worrying more about what the enemy was going to do to us than we to him, to paraphrase Grant's dictum: not hammering back after the murder of the Marines in Lebanon for fear of ending up like the Israelis in a Lebanese quagmire; not going to Baghdad in 1991 because of paranoia that the "coalition" would collapse and we would polarize the Arabs; pulling abruptly out of Somalia once pictures of American bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu were broadcast around the world; or turning down offers in 1995 from Sudan to place Osama bin Laden into our custody, for fear that U.S. diplomats or citizens might be murdered abroad.

Throughout this tragic quarter-century of appeasement, our response usually consisted of a stern lecture by a Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, or Bill Clinton about "never giving in to terrorist blackmail" and "not negotiating with terrorists." Even Mr. Reagan's saber-rattling "You can run but not hide" did not preclude trading arms to the Iranian terrorists or abruptly abandoning Lebanon after the horrific Hezbollah attack.

Sometimes a half-baked failed rescue mission, or a battleship salvo, cruise missile or air strike, followed--but always accompanied by a weeklong debate by conservatives over "exit strategies" and "mission creep," while liberals fretted about "consultations with our allies and the United Nations." And remember: these pathetic military responses were the hawkish actions that earned us the resignation of a furious Cyrus Vance, the abrogation of overflight rights by concerned "allies" such as France, and a national debate about what we did to cause such animosity in the first place.

Our enemies and Middle Eastern "friends" alike sneered at our self-flagellation. In 1991, at great risk, the United States freed Kuwait from Iraq and ended its status as the 19th satrapy of Saddam Hussein--only to watch the restored kingdom ethnically cleanse over a third of a million Palestinians. But after the murder of 3,000 Americans in 2001, Kuwaitis, in a February 2002 Gallup poll (and while they lobbied OPEC to reduce output and jack up prices), revealed an overwhelming distaste for Americans--indeed the highest levels of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And these ethnic cleansers of Palestinians cited America's purportedly unfair treatment of the Palestinians (recipients of accumulated billions in American aid) as a prime cause of their dislike of us.

In the face of such visceral anti-Americanism, the problem may not be real differences over the West Bank, much less that "we are not getting the message out"; rather, in the decade since 1991 the Middle East saw us as a great power that neither could nor would use its strength to advance its ideas--that lacked even the intellectual confidence to argue for our civilization before the likes of a tenth-century monarchy. The autocratic Arab world neither respects nor fears a democratic United States, because it rightly senses that we often talk in principled terms but rarely are willing to invest the time, blood and treasure to match such rhetoric with concrete action. That's why it is crucial for us to stay in Iraq to finish the reconstruction and cement the achievement of our three-week victory over Saddam.



It is easy to cite post-Vietnam guilt and shame as the likely culprit for our paralysis. After all, Jimmy Carter came in when memories of capsizing boat people and of American helicopters lifting swarms of panicked diplomats off the roof of the Saigon embassy were fresh. In 1981, he exited in greater shame: his effusive protestations that Soviet communism wasn't something to fear all that much won him the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, while his heralded "human rights" campaign was answered by the Ortegas in Nicaragua and the creation of a murderous theocracy in Iran. Yet perhaps President Carter was not taking the American people anywhere they didn't want to go. After over a decade of prior social unrest and national humiliation in Vietnam, many Americans believed that the United States either could not or should not do much about things beyond its shores.

As time wore on and the nightmare of Vietnam began to fade, fear of the Soviet Union kept us from crushing the terrorists who killed our diplomats and blew up our citizens. These were no idle fears, given the Russians' record of butchering 30 million of their own, stationing 300 divisions on Europe's borders, and pointing 7,000 nukes at the United States. And fear of their malevolence made eminent sense in the volatile Middle East, where the Russians made direct threats to the Israelis in both the 1967 and 1973 wars, when the Syrian, Egyptian and Iraqi militaries--trained, supplied and advised by Russians--were on the verge of annihilation. Russian support for Nasser's Pan-Arabism and for Baathism in Iraq and Syria rightly worried Cold Warriors, who sensed that the Soviets had their geopolitical eyes on Middle East oil and a stranglehold over Persian Gulf commerce.

Indeed, these twin pillars of the old American Middle East policy--worry over oil and fear of communists--reigned for nearly half a century, between 1945 and 1991. Such realism, however understandable, was counterproductive in the long run, since our tacit support for odious anticommunist governments in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and North Africa did not address the failure of such autocracies to provide prosperity and hope for exploding populations of increasingly poor and angry citizens. We kept Russians out of the oilfields and ensured safe exports of petroleum to Europe, Japan and the U.S.--but at what proved to be the steep price of allowing awful regimes to deflect popular discontent against us.

Nor was Realpolitik always effective. Such illegitimate Arab regimes as the Saudi royal family initiated several oil embargoes, after all. And meanwhile, such a policy did not deter the Soviets from busily selling high-tech weaponry to Libya, Syria and Iraq, while the KGB helped to train and fund almost every Arab terrorist group. And indeed, immediately after the 1991 Iraqi takeover of Kuwait, U.S. intelligence officers discovered that Soviet-trained Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas and Abu Ibrahim had flocked to Baghdad on the invitation of the Baathist Saddam Hussein: though the Soviet Union did not interrupt Western petroleum commerce, its well-supplied surrogates did their fair share of murdering.

Neither thirst for petroleum nor fear of communists, then, adequately explains our inaction for most of the tumultuous late 1980s and 1990s, when groups like Hezbollah and al Qaeda came on to the world scene. Mikhail Gorbachev's tottering empire had little inclination to object too strenuously when the United States hit Libya in 1986, recall, and thanks to the growing diversity and fungibility of the global oil supply, we haven't had a full-fledged Arab embargo since 1979.



Instead, the primary cause for our surprising indifference to the events leading up to Sept. 11 lies within ourselves. Westerners always have had a propensity for complacency because of our wealth and freedom; and Americans in particular have enjoyed a comfortable isolation in being separated from the rest of the world by two oceans. Yet during the last four presidential administrations, laxity about danger on the horizon seems to have become more ingrained than in the days when a more robust United States sought to thwart communist intrusion into Arabia, Asia and Africa.

Americans never viewed terrorist outlaw states with the suspicion they once had toward Soviet communism; they put little pressure on their leaders to crack down on Middle Eastern autocracy and theocracy as a threat to security. At first this indifference was understandable, given the stealthy nature of our enemies and the post-Cold War relief that, having toppled the Soviet Union and freed millions in Eastern Europe, we might be at the end of history. Even the bloodcurdling anti-American shouts from the Beirut street did not seem as scary as a procession of intercontinental missiles and tanks on an average May Day parade in Moscow.

Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the Palestine Liberation Organization were more like fleas on a sleeping dog: bothersome rather than lethal; to be flicked away occasionally rather than systematically eradicated. Few paid attention to Osama bin Laden's infamous February 1998 fatwa: "The rule to kill Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is a sacred duty for any Muslim." Those who noticed thought it just impotent craziness, akin to Sartre's fatuous quip during the Vietnam War that he wished for a nuclear strike against the United States to end its imperial aspirations. No one thought that a raving maniac in an Afghan cave could kill more Americans in a single day than the planes of the Japanese imperial fleet off Pearl Harbor.

But still, how did things as odious to liberal sensibilities as Pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism and Middle Eastern dictatorship--which squashed dissent, mocked religious tolerance, and treated women as chattel--become reinvented into "alternate discourses" deserving a sympathetic pass from the righteous anger of the United States when Americans were murdered overseas? Was it that spokesmen for terrorist regimes mimicked the American left--in everything from dress, vocabulary and appearances on the lecture circuit--and so packaged their extremism in a manner palatable to Americans? Why, after all, were Americans patient with remonstrations from University of Virginia alumna Hanan Ashrawi, rather than asking precisely how such a wealthy Christian PLO apparatchik really felt about the Palestinian Authority's endemic corruption, the spendthrift Parisian Suha Arafat, the terrorists around her husband himself, the spate of "honor killings" of women in the West Bank, the censorship of the Palestinian press, suicide-murdering by Arafat affiliates, and the lynching of suspects by Palestinian police?



Rather than springing from Realpolitik, sloth or fear of oil cutoffs, much of our appeasement of Middle Eastern terrorists derived from a new sort of anti-Americanism that thrived in the growing therapeutic society of the 1980s and 1990s. Though the abrupt collapse of communism was a dilemma for the left, it opened as many doors as it shut. To be sure, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, few Marxists could argue for a state-controlled economy or mouth the old romance about a workers' paradise--not with scenes of East German families crammed into smoking clunkers lumbering over potholed roads, like American pioneers of old on their way west. But if the creed of the socialist republics was impossible to take seriously in either economic or political terms, such a collapse of doctrinaire statism did not discredit the gospel of forced egalitarianism and resentment against prosperous capitalists. Far from it.

If Marx receded from economics departments, his spirit re-emerged among our intelligentsia in the novel guises of poststructuralism, new historicism, multiculturalism and all the other dogmas whose fundamental tenet was that white male capitalists had systematically oppressed women, minorities nd Third World people in countless insidious ways. The font of that collective oppression, both at home and abroad, was the rich, corporate, Republican and white United States.

The fall of the Soviet Union enhanced these newer postcolonial and liberation fields of study by immunizing their promulgators from charges of fellow-traveling or being dupes of Russian expansionism. Communism's demise likewise freed these trendy ideologies from having to offer some wooden, unworkable Marxist alternative to the West; thus they could happily remain entirely critical, sarcastic and cynical without any obligation to suggest something better, as witness the nihilist signs at recent protest marches proclaiming: "I Love Iraq, Bomb Texas."

From writers like Arundhati Roy and Michel Foucault (who anointed Khomeini "a kind of mystic saint" who would usher in a new "political spirituality" that would "transfigure" the world) and from old standbys like Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre ("to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time"), there filtered down a vague notion that the United States and the West in general were responsible for Third World misery in ways that transcended the dull old class struggle. Endemic racism and the legacy of colonialism, the oppressive multinational corporation and the humiliation and erosion of indigenous culture brought on by globalization and a smug, self-important cultural condescension--all this and more explained poverty and despair, whether in Damascus, Tehran or Beirut.

There was victim status for everybody, from gender, race and class at home to colonialism, imperialism and hegemony abroad. Anyone could play in these "area studies" that cobbled together the barrio, the West Bank and the "freedom fighter" into some sloppy global union of the oppressed--a far hipper enterprise than rehashing "Das Kapital" or listening to a six-hour harangue from Fidel.

Of course, pampered Western intellectuals since Diderot have always dreamed up a "noble savage," who lived in harmony with nature precisely because of his distance from the corruption of Western civilization. But now this fuzzy romanticism had an updated, political edge: The bearded killer and wild-eyed savage were not merely better than we because they lived apart in a premodern landscape. No, they had a right to strike back and kill modernizing Westerners who had intruded into and disrupted their better world--whether Jews on Temple Mount, women in Westernized dress in Tehran, Christian missionaries in Kabul, capitalist profiteers in Islamabad, whiskey-drinking oilmen in Riyadh, or miniskirted tourists in Cairo.

An Ayatollah Khomeini who turned back the clock on female emancipation in Iran, who murdered non-Muslims, and who refashioned Iranian state policy to hunt down, torture and kill liberals nevertheless seemed to liberal Western eyes as preferable to the shah--a Western-supported anticommunist, after all, who was engaged in the messy, often corrupt task of bringing Iran from the 10th to the 20th century, down the arduous, dangerous path that, as in Taiwan or South Korea, might eventually lead to a consensual, capitalist society like our own.

Yet in the new world of utopian multiculturalism and knee-jerk anti-Americanism, in which a Noam Chomsky could proclaim Khomeini's gulag to be "independent nationalism," reasoned argument was futile. Indeed, how could critical debate arise for those "committed to social change," when no universal standards were to be applied to those outside the West? Thanks to the doctrine of cultural relativism, "oppressed" peoples either could not be judged by our biased and "constructed" values ("false universals," in Edward Said's infamous term) or were seen as more pristine than ourselves, uncorrupted by the evils of Western capitalism.

Who were we to gainsay Khomeini's butchery and oppression? We had no way of understanding the nuances of his new liberationist and "nationalist" Islam. Now back in the hands of indigenous peoples, Iran might offer the world an alternate path, a different "discourse" about how to organize a society that emphasized native values (of some sort) over mere profit.



So at precisely the time of these increasingly frequent terrorist attacks, the silly gospel of multiculturalism insisted that Westerners have neither earned the right to censure others, nor do they possess the intellectual tools to make judgments about the relative value of different cultures. And if the initial wave of multiculturalist relativism among the elites--coupled with the age-old romantic forbearance for Third World roguery--explained tolerance for early unpunished attacks on Americans, its spread to our popular culture only encouraged more.

This nonjudgmentalism--essentially a form of nihilism--deemed everything from Sudanese female circumcision to honor killings on the West Bank merely "different" rather than odious. Anyone who has taught freshmen at a state university can sense the fuzzy thinking of our undergraduates: Most come to us prepped in high schools not to make "value judgments" about "other" peoples who are often "victims" of American "oppression." Thus, before female-hating psychopath Mohamed Atta piloted a jet into the World Trade Center, neither Western intellectuals nor their students would have taken him to task for what he said or condemned him as hypocritical for his parasitical existence on Western society. Instead, without logic but with plenty of romance, they would more likely have excused him as a victim of globalization or of the biases of American foreign policy. They would have deconstructed Atta's promotion of anti-Semitic, misogynist, Western-hating thought, as well as his conspiracies with Third World criminals, as anything but a danger and a pathology to be remedied by deportation or incarceration.

It was not for nothing that on Nov. 17, 1979--less than two weeks after the militants stormed the American Embassy in Tehran--the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black hostages, singling them out as part of the brotherhood of those oppressed by the United States and cloaking his continuing slaughter of Iranian opponents and attacks on U.S. sovereignty in a self-righteous anti-Americanism. Twenty-five years later, during the antiwar protests of last spring, a group called Act Now to Stop War and End Racism sang the same foolish chorus in its call for demonstrations: "Members of the Muslim Community, Antiwar Activists, Latin-American Solidarity Groups and People From All Over the United States Unite to Say: 'We Are All Palestinians!' "

The new cult of romantic victimhood became gospel in most Middle East departments in American universities. Except for the courageous Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes and Fouad Ajami, few scholars offered any analysis that might confirm more astute Americans in their vague sense that in the Middle East, political autocracy, statism, tribalism, anti-intellectualism and gender apartheid accounted for poverty and failure. And if few wished to take on Islamofascism in the 1990s--indeed, Steven Emerson's chilling 1994 documentary "Jihad in America" set off a storm of protest from U.S. Muslim-rights groups and prompted death threats to the producer--almost no one but Samuel Huntington dared even to broach the taboo subject that there might be elements within doctrinaire Islam itself that could easily lead to intolerance and violence and were therefore at the root of any "clash of civilizations."

Instead, most experts explained why violent fanatics might have some half-legitimate grievance behind their deadly harvest each year of a few Americans in the wrong place at the wrong time. These experts cautioned that,instead of bombing and shooting killers abroad who otherwise would eventually reach us at home, Americans should take care not to disturb Iranian terrorists during Ramadan--rather than to remember that Muslims attacked Israel precisely during that holy period. Instead of condemning Wahhabis for the fascists that they were, we were instead apprised that such holy men of the desert and tent provided a rapidly changing and often Western-corrupted Saudi Arabia with a vital tether to the stability of its romantic nomadic past. Rather than recognizing that Yasser Arafat's Tunisia-based Fatah organization was a crime syndicate, expert opinion persuaded us to empower it as an indigenous liberation movement on the West Bank--only to destroy nearly two decades' worth of steady Palestinian economic improvement.

Neither oil-concerned Republicans nor multicultural Democrats were ready to expose the corrupt American relationship with Saudi Arabia. No country is more culpable than that kingdom in funding extremist madrassas and subsidizing terror, or more antithetical to liberal American values from free speech to religious tolerance. But Saudi propagandists learned from the Palestinians the value of constructing their own victimhood as a long-oppressed colonial people. Call a Saudi fundamentalist mullah a fascist, and you can be sure you'll be tarred as an Islamophobe.

Even when Middle Easterners regularly blew us up, the Clinton administration, unwilling to challenge the new myth of Muslim victimhood, transformed Middle Eastern terrorists bent on destroying America into wayward individual criminals who did not spring from a pathological culture. Thus, President Clinton treated the first World Trade Center bombing as only a criminal-justice matter--which of course allowed the U.S. to avoid confronting the issue and taking on the messy and increasingly unpopular business the Bush administration has been engaged in since Sept. 11. Clinton dispatched FBI agents, not soldiers, to Yemen and Saudi Arabia after the attacks on the USS Cole and the Khobar Towers. Yasser Arafat, responsible in the 1970s for the murder of a U.S. diplomat in Sudan, turned out to be the most frequent foreign visitor to the Clinton Oval Office.

If the Clintonian brand of appeasement reflected both a deep-seated tolerance for Middle Eastern extremism and a reluctance to wake comfortable Americans up to the danger of a looming war, he was not the only one naive about the threat of Islamic fascism. Especially culpable was the Democratic Party at large, whose post-Vietnam foreign policy could not sanction the use of American armed force to protect national interests but only to accomplish purely humanitarian ends as in the interventions in Haiti, Somalia and Bosnia.

Indeed, the recent Democratic primaries reveal just how far this disturbing trend has evolved: the foreign-policy positions of John Kerry and Howard Dean on Iraq and the Middle East were far closer to those of extremists like Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich than to current American policy under George W. Bush. Indeed, buffoons or conspiracy theorists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Al Franken often turned up on the same stage as would-be presidents. When Mr. Moore, while endorsing Wesley Clark, called an American president at a time of war a "deserter," when the mendacious Mr. Sharpton lectured his smiling fellow candidates on the Bush administration's "lies" about Iraq, and when Al Gore labeled the president's action in Iraq a "betrayal" of America, the surrender of the mainstream Democrats to the sirens of extremism was complete. Again, past decorum and moderation go out the window when the pretext is saving indigenous peoples from American oppression.



The consensus for appeasement that led to Sept. 11, albeit suppressed for nearly two years by outrage over the murder of 3,000, has re-emerged in criticism over the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq and President Bush's prosecution of the War on Terror.

The tired voices that predicted a litany of horrors in October 2001--the impassable peaks of Afghanistan, millions of refugees, endemic starvation, revolution in the Arab street and violations of Ramadan--now complain, incorrectly, that 150,000 looted art treasures were the cost of guarding the Iraqi oil ministry, that Halliburton pipelines and refineries were the sole reason to remove Saddam Hussein, and that Christian fundamentalists and fifth-columnist neoconservatives have fomented a senseless revenge plot against Muslims and Arabs. Whether they complained before March 2003 that America faced death and ruin against Saddam's Republican Guard, or two months later that in bullying fashion we had walked over a suddenly impotent enemy, or three months later still that, through incompetence, we were taking casualties and failing to get the power back on, leftist critics' only constant was their predictable dislike of America.

Military historians might argue that, given the enormity of our task in Iraq--liberating 26 million from a tyrant and implanting democracy in the region--the tragic loss of more than 500 Americans in a year's war and peace was a remarkable sign of our care and expertise in minimizing deaths. Diplomats might argue that our past efforts at humanitarian reconstruction, with some idealistic commitment to consensual government, have a far better track record in Germany, Japan, Korea, Panama and Serbia than our strategy of exiting Germany after World War I, of leaving Iraq to Saddam after 1991, of abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban once the Russians were stopped, of skipping out from Haiti or of fleeing Somalia. Realist students of arms control might argue that the recent confessions of Pakistan's nuclear roguery, the surrender of the Libyan arsenal, and the invitation of the U.N. inspectors into Iran were the dividends of resolute American action in Iraq. Moammar Gadhafi surely came clean not because of Jimmy Carter's peace missions, U.N. resolutions, or European diplomats.

But don't expect any sober discussion of these contentions from the left. Their gloom and doom about Iraq arises precisely from the anti-Americanism and romanticization of the Third World that once led to our appeasement and now seeks its return. When John Kerry talks of mysterious prominent Europeans he has met (but whose names he will not divulge) who, he says, pray for his election in hopes of ending Mr. Bush's Iraqi nightmare, perhaps he has in mind people like the Chamberlainesque European Commission president Romano Prodi, who said in the wake of the recent mass murder in Spain: "Clearly, the conflict with the terrorists is not resolved with force alone." Perhaps he has in mind, also, the Spanish electorate, which believes it can find security from al Qaeda terrorism by refuting all its past support for America's role in the Middle East. But of course if the terrorists understand that, in lieu of resolve, they will find such appeasement a mere 72 hours after a terrorist attack, then all previously resolute Western democracies--Italy, Poland, Britain and the United States--should expect the terrorists to murder their citizens on the election eve in hopes of achieving just such a Spanish-style capitulation.

In contrast, George W. Bush, impervious to such self-deception, has, in a mere 2 1/2 years, reversed the perilous course of a quarter-century. Since Sept. 11, he has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government, isolated Yasser Arafat, pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas, removed American troops from Saudi Arabia, shut down fascistic Islamic "charities," scattered al Qaeda, turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral, rounded up terrorists in the United States, pressured Libya, Iran and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating, so far avoided another Sept. 11--and promises that he is not nearly done yet. If the Spanish example presages further terrorist attacks on European democracies at election time, at least Mr. Bush has made it clear that America--alone if need be--will neither appease nor ignore such killers but in fact finish the terrible war that they started.

As Jimmy Carter also proved in November 1979, one man really can make a difference.

Mr. Hanson is a military historian and author, most recently, of "Mexifornia: A State of Becoming" (Encounter, June 2003). He teaches classics at California State University at Fresno and lives on a family farm in Selma, Calif. This article appears in the Spring issue of City Journal.


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Dangerous Times

This Washington Times editorial gets to the essence of the problem--do you want John Kerry and his wimpish "kindler and gentler" approach to the terror war leading this country? Will he keep you safer?
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Last week, two Russian jets were blown up almost simultaneously, killing 90 people. Earlier this week, a suicide bomber killed 10 people at a busy subway station in Moscow. On Tuesday, terrorists killed and injured scores of people on two Israeli buses. Yesterday, armed militants, some strapped with explosives, stormed a schoolhouse near the border with Chechnya and corralled hundreds of hostages, including children. This is a dangerous world, and the issue is central to the question of whether President Bush or John Kerry should be commander in chief.
As the news networks alternated scenes from Russia and the Republican National Convention, the images raised leadership questions to another level. Also driving the issue is that, for years, experts have largely said the problem is Russia's to solve.
While the people of Chechnya have suffered human-rights violations by Russian forces, the Kremlin has sought to pacify Chechnya through sham elections, such as Sunday's presidential election, which U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher described as having "serious flaws." Given those flaws, he said, Moscow's anointed president, Alu Alkanov, "now faces the difficult task of... finding ways to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict." Mr. Boucher added, "We also call for an end to human rights abuses in Chechnya by all parties, and urge that those who committed such abuses be held accountable."
Mr. Boucher's statement hit the right points. In the past, those statements have traditionally been seen as principled, but not pragmatic, positions. According to Sarah Mendelson, senior fellow at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, that isn't the way to look at the problem today. One Chechen militant already has expressed an intention to strike at the broader international community, given its silence on Russia's human-rights abuses. Also, Russian defense forces have been badly corrupted through their activity in Chechnya, and that poses a broader risk, noted Ms. Mendelson. Already, Russian troops sell armaments to Chechens. Some day, Chechen terrorists could buy a weapon of mass destruction. The human-rights abuses by Russian forces, she added, have given rise to greater extremism in Chechnya and has not made Russia more secure.
The Bush administration should continue condemning terrorism and supporting Russian efforts to counter it. Stand-alone images of terrorists destroying lives and severing limbs are terrible sights to behold. The American people must examine the anti-terrorism performance of Mr. Bush during the past three and a half years as president. They must look no less carefully at Mr. Kerry's voting record, statements and behavior dating back more than 30 years, and ask themselves whether he is capable of standing down terrorists as Mr. Bush has.



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Bloodbath fear as Chechen suicide bombers hold 130 children hostage

Time for the HAMA or Carthagenian Solution for the Muslims in Chechnya?

By Julius Strauss in Moscow


Russia was braced for a bloodbath last night after terrorists with Kalashnikov assault rifles and suicide bomb belts stormed a school and took up to 400 hostages, at least 130 of them children.


Soldier helping a girl away from the scene at the school in Beslan
The attackers, thought to number about 17 and be Chechens or their allies, struck as children lined up for the first day of the school year at Beslan, in the republic of Northern Ossetia, about 40 miles from the border with Chechnya.


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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Time To Send the Gigilo and The Ambulance Chaser Back Home

Text of Dick Cheney's Speech at the RNC



Text of Vice President Dick Cheney's speech as prepared for delivery Wednesday at the Republican National Convention:

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Mr. Chairman, delegates, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States.

I am honored by your confidence. And tonight I make this pledge: I will give this campaign all that I have, and together we will make George W. Bush president for another four years.

Tonight I will talk about this good man and his fine record leading our country. And I may say a word or two about his opponent. I am also mindful that I have an opponent of my own. People tell me that Senator Edwards got picked for his good looks, his sex appeal, and his great hair. I say to them, "How do you think I got the job?"

On this night, as we celebrate the opportunities that America offers, I am filled with gratitude to a nation that has been good to me, and I remember the people who set me on my way in life. My grandfather noted that the day I was born was also the birthday of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And so he told my parents they should send President Roosevelt an announcement of my birth. Now my grandfather didn't have a chance to go to high school. For many years he worked as a cook on the Union Pacific Railroad, and he and my grandmother lived in a railroad car. But the modesty of his circumstances didn't stop him from thinking that President Roosevelt should know about my arrival. My grandfather believed deeply in the promise of America, and had the highest hopes for his family. And I don't think it would surprise him much that a grandchild of his stands before you tonight as vice president of the United States.

It is the story of this country that people have been able to dream big dreams with confidence they would come true, if not for themselves, then for their children and grandchildren. And that sense of boundless opportunity is a gift that we must pass on to all who come after us.

From kindergarten to graduation, I went to public schools, and I know that they are a key to being sure that every child has a chance to succeed and to rise in the world. When the president and I took office, our schools were shuffling too many children from grade to grade without giving them the skills and knowledge they need. So President Bush reached across the aisle and brought both parties together to pass the most significant education reform in 40 years. With higher standards and new resources, America's schools are now on an upward path to excellence and not for just a few children, but for every child.

Opportunity also depends on a vibrant, growing economy. As President Bush and I were sworn into office, our nation was sliding into recession, and American workers were overburdened with federal taxes. Then came the events of Sept. 11th, which hit our economy very hard. So President Bush delivered the greatest tax reduction in a generation, and the results are clear to see. Businesses are creating jobs. People are returning to work. Mortgage rates are low, and home ownership in this country is at an all-time high. The Bush tax cuts are working.

Our nation has the best health care in the world, and President Bush is making it more affordable and accessible to all Americans. And there is more to do. Under this president's leadership, we will reform medical liability so the system serves patients and good doctors, not personal injury lawyers.

These have been years of achievement, and we are eager for the work ahead. And in all that we do, we will never lose sight of the greatest challenge of our time: preserving the freedom and security of this nation against determined enemies.

Since I last spoke to our national convention, Lynne and I have had the joy of seeing our family grow. We now have a grandson to go along with our three wonderful granddaughters, and the deepest wish of my heart and the object of all my determination is that they, and all of America's children, will have lives filled with opportunity and that they will inherit a world in which they can live in freedom, in safety, and in peace.

Four years ago, some said the world had grown calm, and many assumed that the United States was invulnerable to danger. That thought might have been comforting; it was also false. Like other generations of Americans, we soon discovered that history had great and unexpected duties in store for us.

Sept. 11th, 2001, made clear the challenges we face. On that day we saw the harm that could be done by 19 men armed with knives and boarding passes. America also awakened to a possibility even more lethal: this enemy, whose hatred of us is limitless, armed with chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons.

Just as surely as the Nazis during World War Two and the Soviet communists during the Cold War, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction. As in other times, we are in a war we did not start, and have no choice but to win. Firm in our resolve, focused on our mission, and led by a superb commander in chief, we will prevail.

The fanatics who killed some 3,000 of our fellow Americans may have thought they could attack us with impunity because terrorists had done so previously. But if the killers of Sept. 11 thought we had lost the will to defend our freedom, they did not know America and they did not know George W. Bush.

From the beginning, the president made clear that the terrorists would be dealt with and that anyone who supports, protects, or harbors them would be held to account. In a campaign that has reached around the world, we have captured or killed hundreds of al-Qaida. In Afghanistan, the camps where terrorists trained to kill Americans have been shut down, and the Taliban driven from power. In Iraq, we dealt with a gathering threat, and removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. Seventeen months ago, he controlled the lives and fortunes of 25 million people. Tonight he sits in jail.

President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half measures, and his determination has sent a clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. Tonight, uranium, centrifuges, and plans for nuclear weapons that were once hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, never again to be a danger to Americans.

The biggest threat we face today is having nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The president is working with many countries in a global effort to end the trade and transfer of these deadly technologies. The most important result thus far and it is a very important one is that the black-market network that supplied nuclear weapons technology to Libya, as well as to Iran and North Korea, has been shut down. The world's worst source of nuclear weapons proliferation is out of business and we are safer as a result.

In the global war we are fighting, we owe a mighty debt to the men and women of the United States armed forces. They have fought the enemy with courage and reached out to civilians with compassion, rebuilding schools and hospitals and roads. They have won stunning victories. They have faced hard duty and long deployments. And they have lost comrades, more than 1,100 brave Americans, whose memory this nation will honor forever. The men and women who wear the uniform of the United States represent the very best of America. They have the thanks of our nation. And they have the confidence, the loyalty, and the respect of their commander in chief.

In this election, we will decide who leads our country for the next four years. Yet there is more in the balance than that. Moments come along in history when leaders must make fundamental decisions about how to confront a long term challenge abroad and how best to keep the American people secure. We faced such a moment after World War Two, when we put in place the policies that defended America throughout the Cold War. Those policies containing communism, deterring attack by the Soviet Union, and promoting the rise of democracy were carried out by Democratic and Republican presidents in the decades that followed.

This nation has reached another of those defining moments. Under President Bush we have put in place new policies and created new institutions to defend America, to stop terrorist violence at its source, and to help move the Middle East away from old hatreds and resentments and toward the lasting peace that only freedom can bring. This is the work not of months, but of years and keeping these commitments is essential to our future security. For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives but in our history.

And so it is time to set the alternatives squarely before the American people.

The President's opponent is an experienced senator. He speaks often of his service in Vietnam, and we honor him for it. But there is also a record of more than three decades since. And on the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest. History has shown that a strong and purposeful America is vital to preserving freedom and keeping us safe yet time and again Senator Kerry has made the wrong call on national security. Senator Kerry began his political career by saying he would like to see our troops deployed "only at the directive of the United Nations." During the 1980s, Senator Kerry opposed Ronald Reagan's major defense initiatives that brought victory in the Cold War. In 1991, when Saddam Hussein occupied Kuwait and stood poised to dominate the Persian Gulf, Senator Kerry voted against Operation Desert Storm.

Even in this post-9/11 period, Senator Kerry doesn't appear to understand how the world has changed. He talks about leading a "more sensitive war on terror," as though al-Qaida will be impressed with our softer side. He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked, and faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it and that includes the use of military force.

Senator Kerry denounces American action when other countries don't approve as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics. In fact, in the global war on terror, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush has brought many allies to our side. But as the President has made very clear, there is a difference between leading a coalition of many, and submitting to the objections of a few. George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people.

Senator Kerry also takes a different view when it comes to supporting our military. Although he voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, he then decided he was opposed to the war, and voted against funding for our men and women in the field. He voted against body armor, ammunition, fuel, spare parts, armored vehicles, extra pay for hardship duty, and support for military families. Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief and that is to support American troops in combat.

In his years in Washington, John Kerry has been one of a hundred votes in the United States Senate and very fortunately on matters of national security, his views rarely prevailed. But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. A senator can be wrong for 20 years, without consequence to the nation. But a president, a president always casts the deciding vote. And in this time of challenge, America needs and America has a president we can count on to get it right.

On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself. His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement and against it. He is for the Patriot Act and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual - America sees two John Kerrys.

The other candidate in this race is a man our nation has come to know, and one I've come to admire very much. I watch him at work every day. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the Oval Office and make those decisions with the wisdom and humility Americans expect in their president. George W. Bush is a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. He is a person of loyalty and kindness and he brings out these qualities in those around him. He is a man of great personal strength and more than that, a man with a heart for the weak, and the vulnerable, and the afflicted. We all remember that terrible morning when, in the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor. We remember the President who came to New York City and pledged that the terrorists would soon hear from all of us. George W. Bush saw this country through grief and tragedy. He has acted with patience, and calm, and a moral seriousness that calls evil by its name. In the great divide of our time, he has put this nation where America always belongs: against the tyrants of this world, and on the side of every soul on earth who yearns to live in freedom.

Fellow citizens, our nation is reaching the hour of decision, and the choice is clear. President Bush and I will wage this effort with complete confidence in the judgment of the American people. The signs are good even in Massachusetts. According to a news account last month, people leaving the Democratic National Convention asked a Boston policeman for directions. He replied, "Leave here and go vote Republican."

President Bush and I are honored to have the support of that police officer, and of Democrats, Republicans, and independents from every calling in American life. We are so fortunate, each and every one of us, to be citizens of this great nation and to take part in the defining event of our democracy: Choosing who will lead us.

The historian Bernard DeVoto once wrote that when America was created, the stars must have danced in the sky. Our president understands the miracle of this great country. He knows the hope that drives it and shares the optimism that has long been so important a part of our national character. He gets up each and every day determined to keep our great nation safe so that generations to come will know the freedom and opportunities we have known and more.

When this convention concludes tomorrow night, we will go forth with confidence in our cause, and in the man who leads it. By leaving no doubt where we stand, and asking all Americans to join us, we will see our cause to victory.

Thank you very much.

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