Excerpts of President Bush's address to the American Legion National Convention from The International Herald Tribune footnotes refer to my comments below.

...The truth is, there is violence, but those who cause it have a clear purpose. When terrorists murder at the World Trade Center, or car bombers strike in Baghdad, or hijackers plot to blow -- blow up planes over the Atlantic, or terrorist militias shoot rockets at Israeli towns, they are all pursuing the same objective: to turn back the advance of freedom and impose a dark vision of tyranny and terror across the world. The enemies of liberty come from different parts of the world, and they take inspiration from different sources. Some are radicalized followers of the Sunni tradition who swear allegiance to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda. Others are radicalized followers of the Shi'a tradition who join groups like Hezbollah and take guidance from state sponsors like Syria and Iran. Still others are homegrown terrorists, fanatics who live quietly in free societies they dream to destroy.
Despite their differences, these groups from -- form the outlines of a single movement, a worldwide network of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology1. And the unifying feature of this movement, the link that spans sectarian divisions and local grievances, is the rigid conviction that free societies are a threat to their twisted view of Islam.2 The war we fight today is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century.3 (Applause.)

On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation, the right of all people to speak and worship and live in liberty. And on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism, the right of a self-appointed few to impose their fanatical views on all the rest.4 As veterans, you have seen this kind of enemy before. They're successors to fascists, to Nazis, to communists and other totalitarians of the 20th century,5 and history shows what the outcome will be.

...Yet, over the decades, an undercurrent of danger was rising in the Middle East. Much of the region was mired in stagnation and despair. A generation of young people grew up with little hope to improve their lives, and many fell under the sway of radical extremism.6
The terrorist movement multiplied in strength, and resentment7 that had simmered for years boiled over into violence across the world. Extremists in Iran seized American hostages. Hezbollah terrorists murdered American troops at the Marine Barracks in Beirut and Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists set off a truck bomb at the World Trade Center. Al Qaeda blew up two U.S. embassies in East Africa and bombed the USS Cole. Then came the nightmare of September the 11th, 2001, when 19 hijackers killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children. In the space of a single morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. We realized that years of pursuing stability to promote peace have left us with neither. Instead, the lack of freedom in the Middle East made the region an incubator for terrorist movements.8 The status quo in the Middle East before September the 11th was dangerous and unacceptable, so we're pursuing a new strategy.

First, we are using every element of national power to confront al Qaeda, those who take inspiration from them and other terrorists who use similar tactics. We have ended the days of treating terrorism simply as a law enforcement matter. We will stay on the offense. We will fight the terrorists overseas so we do not have to face them here at home. (Cheers, applause.)
Second, we have made it clear to all nations, if you harbor terrorists, you are just as guilty as the terrorists, you're an enemy of the United States and you will be held to account. (Applause.)9
And third, we've launched a bold, new agenda to defeat the ideology of the enemy by supporting the forces of freedom in the Middle East and beyond. The Freedom Agenda is based upon our deepest ideals and our vital interests.
Americans believe that every person of every religion on every continent has the right to determine his or her own destiny. We believe that freedom is a gift from an almighty God beyond any power on Earth to take away. (Cheers, applause.) And we also know by history and by logic that promoting democracy is the surest way to build security. Democracies don't attack each other or threaten the peace. 10Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools, not weapons of mass destruction.11 Young people who have a say in their future are less likely to search for meaning in extremism.12 Citizens who can join a peaceful political party are less likely to join a terrorist organization. Dissidents with the freedom to protest around the clock are less likely to blow themselves up during rush hour, and nations that commit to freedom for their people will not support terrorists; they will join us in defeating them.13 (Applause.)

So America's committed its influence in the world to advancing freedom, and democracy is a great alternative to repression and radicalism.14 We will take the side of democratic leaders and reformers across the Middle East.15 We will support the voices of tolerance and moderation in the Muslim world.16 We stand with the mothers and fathers in every culture who want to see their children grow up in a caring and peaceful world. And by supporting the cause of freedom in a vital region,17 we will make our children and our grandchildren more secure. (Applause.)

...We can allow the Middle East to continue on its course, on the course it was headed before September the 11th, and a generation from now, our children will face a region dominated by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. Or we can stop that from happening by rallying the world to confront the ideology of hate18 and give the people of the Middle East a future of hope. And that is the choice America has made. (Applause.)
We see a day when people across the Middle East have governments that honor their dignity, unleash their creativity and count their votes. We see a day when leaders across the Middle East reject terror and protect freedom. We see a day when the nations of the Middle East are allies in the cause of peace.19 The pass of that day will be uphill and uneven, but we can be confident of the outcome because we know that the direction of history leads toward freedom.

  1. "Totalitarian ideology"?  Why not call it by its name: Islam? Why not reveal its character: rascist, triumpalist, authoratarian, supremacist, imperialist, intolerant & mysoginistic?   Why not reveal its sacraments: Jihad, genocide & terrorism
  2. It is your view of Islam, not theirs that is twisted!  It is not now, never was and never will be a religion.  It is not now, never was and never will be peaceful. Its purpose was, is now, and will always remain the personal emolument, enrichment & sexual gratification of its founder, his Caliphs and the kleptocrats who have succeded them. 
  3. Islam's ideas: might makes right; terror makes it easier! Muslims are the best, the rest are inferior
  4. The self appointed few: Muhammad & his excellent companions... the terrorists who seek ascension to the office of Caliph. 
  5. Islam is the predecessor to the above listed totalitarian systems. Islam's conquest of the world started in the 7th. century. 
  6. There is no 'radical extremism' ; there is only Islam! Perpetual global conquest, genocide, terrorism & hatred of Christians and Jews are intrinsic doctrines of Islam, not the property of 'radical extremism'! They are not about social or economic conditions, they are about Islamic doctrine; derived from Allah's commands and Muhammad's example. 
  7. Islamic terrorism is a function of Allah's commands & Muhammad's Sunnah, not 'resentment'! It comes from what is inculcated in the family, school, Mosque, broadcast media and press. 
  8. Islamic terrorism is caused by Islamic doctrine, not lack of freedom!!! Is there a lack of freedom in Great Britain? The 7/7 gang was homegrown, remember?  
  9. "Every element of national power"? "Held accountable"? Why didn't you nuke bin Laden when he was in the cave at Tora Borah?  Why are there still terrorist training camps and staging areas untouched in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria & Lebanon? Why do those two Iranian explosives factories manufacturing the shaped charges that kill our men in Iraq still exist?!!
  10. The Roman Empire had an elected Senate; did that stop it from engaging in conquest? What makes you think that a Muslim majority democracy  would not enforce Sharia, which requires at least one expedition against the Kuffar in every year?  What is the primary source of law in the new Afghani & Iraqui constitutions? 
  11. Who did the voters in the Fallestinian Authority elect in their most recent election?  What was their platform? What is the strategic objective of their charter? Are they not building up inventories of missiles and explosives for use against Israel?  
  12. Did Khalid Sheik Mohammad, with a degree from a western university have a say in his future? Did Usama bin Ladin, with a degree, a construction business and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank have a say in his future? Did that medical student, son of a Saudi Prince who blew up in the chow hall of  an American base in Iraq have a say in his future?!!
  13. Islamic doctrine commands  Jihad, genocide and terrorism.  The majority of citizens in the Middle East are Muslims who believe in the imposition of Sharia, which requires at least one expedition against the Kuffar in every year. Your claim has no logical foundation!!
  14. For Muslims, freedom is not an option.  Muslims are Allah's slaves, purchased to fight, kill and be killed in exchange for the  promise of Paradise. Islam requires Jihad, genocide and terrorism. Islam is Allah's law, not manmade law. Islamic doctrine  holds Arabs to be the best of people & Quraysh the best of tribes. It holds women to be chattel property and non-Muslims to be destined for death or slavery. 
  15. There ain't any!  There are only rivals for autocratic power in that region.     
  16. There ain't any!  Muslim advocates of freedom and tolerance are either liars or Apostates. Islam is a totalitarian system and extremely intolerant. 
  17. There is no cause of freedom in majority Muslim areas!!! Islam is not compatible with freedom!!! 
  18. You won't name the ideology of hate: Islam, much less confront it! Neither will any other world leader. You won't list and enumerate the ideas Islam holds dear, much less try to disprove them! 
  19. That'll be a day when Islam nolonger exists.  You are doing nothing to hasten the arrival of that happy day. Muslim nations will never be allies for peace!!!
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