- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Excerpts from President Bush’s speech yesterday to the U.N. General Assembly.

Twenty-four months ago — and yesterday, in the memory of America — the center of New York City became a battlefield and a graveyard and the symbol of an unfinished war. Since that day, terrorists have struck in Bali, Mombasa, in Casablanca, in Riyadh, in Jakarta, in Jerusalem, measuring the advance of their cause in the chaos and innocent suffering they leave behind.

Last month, terrorists brought their war to the United Nations itself. The U.N. headquarters in Baghdad stood for order and compassion, and for that reason, the terrorists decided it must be destroyed. … America joins you, his colleagues, in honoring the memory of Senhor Vieira de Mello and the memory of all who died with him in the service to the United Nations.

By the victims they choose and by the means they use, the terrorists have clarified the struggle we are in. Those who target relief workers for death have set themselves against all humanity. Those who incite murder and celebrate suicide reveal their contempt for life itself. They have no place in any religious faith, they have no claim on the world’s sympathy, and they should have no friend in this chamber. …

All governments that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization. No government should ignore the threat of terror — because to look the other way gives terrorists the chance to regroup, and recruit, and prepare. And all nations that fight terror, as if the lives of their own people depend on it, will earn the favorable judgment of history.

The former regimes of Afghanistan and Iraq knew these alternatives, and made their choices. The Taliban was a sponsor and servant of terrorism. When confronted, that regime chose defiance, and that regime is no more. …

The regime of Saddam Hussein cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder, and refused to account for them when confronted by the world. The Security Council was right to be alarmed. The Security Council was right to demand that Iraq destroy its illegal weapons and prove that it had done so. The Security Council was right to vow serious consequences if Iraq refused to comply. And because there were consequences — because a coalition of nations acted to defend the peace, and the credibility of the United Nations — Iraq is free, and today we are joined by representatives of a liberated country. …

We are dedicated to the defense of our collective security and to the advance of human rights. These permanent commitments call us to great work in the world — work we must do together. So let us move forward.

First, we must stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq as they build free and stable countries. The terrorists and their allies fear and fight this progress above all, because free people embrace hope over resentment and choose peace over violence.

The United Nations has been a friend of the Afghan people, distributing food and medicine, helping refugees return home, advising on a new constitution and helping to prepare the way for nationwide elections. …

Our international coalition in Iraq is meeting its responsibilities. We’re conducting precision raids against terrorists and holdouts of the former regime. … At the same time, our coalition is helping to improve the daily lives of the Iraqi people. …

The primary goal of our coalition in Iraq is self-government for the people of Iraq, reached by orderly and democratic means. … And the United Nations can contribute greatly to the cause of Iraq self-government. America is working with friends and allies on a new Security Council resolution which will expand the U.N.’s role in Iraq. …

Iraq as a dictatorship had great power to destabilize the Middle East. Iraq as a democracy will have great power to inspire the Middle East. The advance of democratic institutions in Iraq is setting an example that others, including the Palestinian people, would be wise to follow.

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