- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 31, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Excerpts from the prepared text of last night’s speech by Sen. John McCain of Arizona to the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York:

In a time of deep distress … Franklin Delano Roosevelt accepted his party’s nomination by observing: “There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”

The awful events of September 11, 2001, declared a war we were vaguely aware of, but hadn’t really comprehended how near the threat was, and how terrible were the plans of our enemies. … So it is, whether we wished it or not, that we have come to the test of our generation, to our rendezvous with destiny. …

We are engaged in a hard struggle against a cruel and determined adversary. Our enemies have made clear the danger they pose to our security and to the very essence of our culture — liberty.

Only the most deluded of us could doubt the necessity of this war. Like all wars, this one will have its ups and downs. But we must fight. We must. …

Remember how we felt when the serenity of a bright September morning was destroyed by a savage atrocity so hostile to all human virtue we could scarcely imagine any human being capable of it.

We were united. … In that moment, we were not different races. We were not poor or rich. We were not Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. We were not two countries.

We were Americans.

All of us, despite the differences that enliven our politics, are united in the one big idea that freedom is our birthright and its defense is always our first responsibility. …

War is an awful business. … But there is no avoiding this war. We tried that, and our reluctance cost us dearly. …

That’s why I commend to my country the re-election of President Bush, and the steady, experienced, public-spirited man who serves as our vice president, Dick Cheney.

Four years ago, in Philadelphia, I spoke of my confidence that President Bush would accept the responsibilities that come with America’s distinction as the world’s only superpower.

I promised he would not let America “retreat behind empty threats, false promises and uncertain diplomacy”; that he would “confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened.”

I knew my confidence was well-placed when I watched him stand on the rubble of the World Trade Center … and summon our resolve by promising to right this terrible wrong, and to stand up and fight for the values we hold dear.

He promised our enemies would soon hear from us. And so they did. …

He ordered American forces to Afghanistan and took the fight to our enemies, and away from our shores, seriously injuring al Qaeda and destroying the regime that gave them safe haven. …

After years of failed diplomacy and limited military pressure to restrain Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the difficult decision to liberate Iraq.

Those who criticize that decision would have us believe that the choice was between a status quo that was well enough left alone and war. But there was no status quo to be left alone. …

Our choice wasn’t between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Not our critics abroad. Not our political opponents.

And certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker … who would have us believe that Saddam’s Iraq was an oasis of peace when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls. …

We need a leader with the experience to make the tough decisions and the resolve to stick with them, a leader who will keep us moving forward even if it is easier to rest.

And this president will not rest until America is stronger and safer still, and this hateful iniquity is vanquished. He has been tested and has risen to the most important challenge of our time, and I salute him. …

He has not wavered. He has not flinched from the hard choices. He will not yield. And neither will we. …

We are Americans first, Americans last, Americans always. …

We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is invincible. … Do not yield. Do not flinch. Stand up. Stand up with our president and fight. …

We’re Americans, and we’ll never surrender. They will.


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