[W]e gather at a time of tremendous opportunity… For decades, the circle of liberty and security and development has been expanding in our world… Now we have the historic chance to widen the circle even further, to fight radicalism and terror with justice and dignity, to achieve a true peace, founded on human freedom.
I’m struck by the optimism and the vision. We have a unique opportunity to do good. We must seize it.
[The] bright line between justice and injustice -- between right and wrong -- is the same in every age, and every culture, and every nation...
Eventually, there is no safe isolation from terror networks, or failed states that shelter them, or outlaw regimes, or weapons of mass destruction. Eventually, there is no safety in looking away, seeking the quiet life by ignoring the struggles and oppression of others… Our security is not merely found in spheres of influence, or some balance of power. The security of our world is found in the advancing rights of mankind.
This is the lesson of 9/11. George Bush has learned it; John Kerry has not.
We're determined to end the state sponsorship of terror -- and my nation is grateful to all that participated in the liberation of Afghanistan. We're determined to prevent proliferation, and to enforce the demands of the world -- and my nation is grateful to the soldiers of many nations who have helped to deliver the Iraqi people from an outlaw dictator.
Have you ever heard John Kerry express gratitude to those who have helped bear the burden?
[T]he Security Council promised serious consequences for [Saddam’s] defiance. And the commitments we make must have meaning. When we say "serious consequences," for the sake of peace, there must be serious consequences.
Every parent knows that threats without consequences undermine authority. U.S. threats carry weight; U.N. threats do not.
Our great purpose is to build a better world beyond the war on terror.
Again, vision. The war is the process, a transition. Even victory isn’t the goal. It’s just a crucial step toward a grander goal.
Because we believe in human dignity, peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women, or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace.
Contrast this with John Kerry’s words:
I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with almost any kind of political structure, giving it one name or the other. In this name it is democratic; in others it is communism; in others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist.
To be fair, that was 30 years ago, but has Mr. Kerry given us any reason to believe he feels any differently today?
Returning to the President’s speech:
We can expect terrorist attacks to escalate as Afghanistan and Iraq approach national elections. The work ahead is demanding. But these difficulties will not shake our conviction that the future of Afghanistan and Iraq is a future of liberty. The proper response to difficulty is not to retreat, it is to prevail.
I love that last line, because that’s the heart of it. We will do the right thing, not the easy thing. Success should be our compass, not “finding an exit strategy.”
History will honor the high ideals of [the United Nations]. The charter states them with clarity: "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights," "to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."
History will honor those ideals, but, sadly, not the organization that professes them but does not animate them. It is the U.S. that most faithfully serves them in all the world, and most distinctively in Iraq.
Let history also record that our generation of leaders followed through on these ideals, even in adversity. Let history show that in a decisive decade, members of the United Nations did not grow weary in our duties, or waver in meeting them. I'm confident that this young century will be liberty's century. I believe we will rise to this moment, because I know the character of so many nations and leaders represented here today. And I have faith in the transforming power of freedom.
May God bless you.
Vision. I repeat. John Kerry could not have given this speech.
Update: More on this from John Addis, who describes himself as more "anti-Kerry" than "pro-Bush.