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Transcript: Bush's Remarks on Conflicts in the Middle East

When terrorists spend their day struggling to avoid death or capture they are less capable of arming and training to commit new attacks.

BUSH: We will keep the terrorists on the run until they have nowhere left to hide.

In three and a half years, the United States and our allies have waged a campaign of global scale, from the mountains of Afghanistan to the border regions of Pakistan, to the Horn of Africa, to the islands of the Philippines, to the plains of north-central Iraq.

The Al Qaida terror network that attacked our country -- it still has leaders, but many of its top commanders have been removed. There are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists, but their number has declined. There's still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction, but no longer without attention and without consequence.

Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many and intimidate us all. We will stay on the offensive against them until the fight is won.

(APPLAUSE)

Members of our military are undertaking difficult missions in some of the most dangerous and desolate parts of the world. These volunteers know the risks they face and they know the cause they serve.

As one Marine sergeant put it, "I never want my children to experience what we saw in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania." He said, "If we can eliminate whatever threat we can on foreign soil, I would rather do it there than have it come home to us."

In this vital cause, some of our men and women in uniform have fallen. Some have returned home with terrible injuries.

BUSH: And all who sacrifice will have the permanent gratitude of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

In this war on terror America is not alone. Many governments have awakened to the dangers we share and have begun to take serious action.

Global terror requires a global response and America is more secure today because dozens of other countries have stepped up to the fight.

We're more secure because Pakistani forces captured more than 100 extremists across the country last year, including operatives who were plotting attacks against the United States.

We're more secure because Britain arrested an Al Qaida operative who had provided detailed casing reports on American targets to senior Al Qaida leaders.

We're more secure because German authorities arrested extremists who were planning attacks against U.S. and coalition targets in Iraq.

We're more secure because the Philippines' new anti-terrorism task force has helped capture more than a dozen terrorist suspects, including seven members of Al Qaida and affiliated networks.

We're more secure because Poland is leading a 15-nation multinational division in Iraq and forces from 23 countries have given their lives in the struggle against terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our allies in the war on terror are making tough decisions and are taking risks and they're losing lives. These countries have proven themselves trusted friends and reliable allies.

So I urge the Congress to pass the solidarity initiative I have proposed to stand by the countries that are standing by us in the war on terror.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Our strategy to keep the peace in the longer term is to help change the conditions that give rise to extremism and terror, especially in the broader Middle East.

Parts of that region have been caught for generations in the cycle of tyranny and despair and radicalism.

When a dictatorship controls the political life of a country, responsible opposition cannot develop and dissent is driven underground and toward the extreme.

And to draw attention away from their social and economic failures, dictators place blame on other countries and other races and stir the hatred that leads to violence.

This status quo of despotism and anger cannot be ignored or appeased, kept in a box or bought off.

Because we have witnessed how the violence in that region can easily reach across borders and oceans, the entire world has an urgent interest in the progress and hope and freedom in the broader Middle East.

The advance of hope in the Middle East requires new thinking in the region.

By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future, it is the last gasp of a discredited past.

It should be clear that free nations escape stagnation and grow stronger with time because they encourage the creativity and enterprise of their people.


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