- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2004

Excerpts of last night’s speech by Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, to the Republican National Convention as prepared for delivery at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Since I last stood in this spot, a whole new generation of the Miller family has been born: Four great-grandchildren. Along with all the other members of our close-knit family, they are my and Shirley’s most precious possessions. And I know that’s how you feel about your family, also. …

And like you, I ask which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, the backbone to best protect my family?

The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For my family is more important than my party. There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man’s name is George Bush. …

Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats’ manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.

What has happened to the party I’ve spent my life working in? I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny. …

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today’s Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator. And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators. …

Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And our soldiers don’t just give freedom abroad; they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag. …

[Democrats] claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace. They were wrong. They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war. They were wrong.

And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the war on terror.

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security. …

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom. The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein’s command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Gadhafi’s Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf war. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our nation’s capital and this very city after 9/11. …

This is the man who wants to be the commander in chief of our U.S. armed forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs? …

Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations. Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide. …

For more than 20 years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure. …

George Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip. From John Kerry, they get a “yes-no-maybe” bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends.

I first got to know George Bush when we served as governors together. … He is not a slick talker but he is a straight shooter and, where I come from, deeds mean a lot more than words. …

In this hour of danger, our president has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him.

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