World Wetlands Day
On February 2, 2004, United States Embassies from South America to the Middle East will join their local communities to commemorate World Wetlands Day, an annual celebration of the vital importance of wetlands to the world’s ecological health and of efforts to conserve these invaluable habitats. The day marks the anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, signed February 2, 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.
This year’s theme, "There’s wealth in wetland diversity --- don’t lose it," emphasizes the biological and cultural diversity of wetlands and their important role in sustaining people physically and emotionally. Wetlands are a source of water, food, recreation, transportation, and, in some places, are part of the local religious and cultural heritage. They provide groundwater replenishment, benefiting inhabitants of entire watersheds.
Wetlands play a vital role in storm and flood protection and water filtration. In addition, they provide a rich feeding ground for migratory birds, fish, and other animals and boost local economies through opportunities for the harvesting of aquatic resources and ecotourism.
Despite the great value of wetlands, they have been shrinking worldwide, including in the United States. In 1987 the United States joined the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty that aims to halt the worldwide loss of wetlands and to conserve those that remain. The treaty’s 144 Contracting Parties have designated 1,404 wetlands sites totaling more than 300 million acres for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Most recently, on Earth Day 2004, President Bush announced an aggressive new national initiative to move beyond a policy of "no net loss" of wetlands to an overall increase of wetlands in America. The President’s goal is to create, improve, and protect at least three million wetland acres over the next five years in order to increase overall wetland acreage and quality.
The United States designated three new Ramsar sites last month: the 2500-acre Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve in San Diego County, CA; the 160,000-acre Grassland Ecological Area in western Merced County, CA; and the 1000-acre Kawainui and Hamakua Marsh Complex located on the northeast coast of the island of Oahu, HI. That brings the total number of U.S. Ramsar sites to 22, covering nearly 3.2 million acres.
For further information, visit the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science website at state.gov/g/oes and the Ramsar website at ramsar.org. 2005/105
Media Note Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC January 31, 2005
Monday, January 31, 2005
World Wetlands Day
Posted by sookietex at 6:57 PM || ||
President Thanks Secretary Spellings at Swearing-In Ceremony FULL STREAMING VIDEO
U.S. Department Of Education Washington, D.C. 10:47 A.M. EST
Margaret Spellings 1
|THE PRESIDENT: Please be seated. Thanks for coming. Laura and I are pleased to be here at the Department of Education with Margaret Spellings. Madam Secretary, thanks for inviting us over. (Applause.)|
In the past four years, we have made great strides. Today, children across America are scoring higher on state reading and math tests. The achievement gap in America is closing. We've made important progress, but Margaret understands there is still more work to be done. We will maintain the high standards of No Child Left Behind. We will extend those high standards and accountability to America's public high schools.
Today, only about 60 out of every 100 students entering our public high schools ever make it to graduation four years later. Margaret understands, as do I, that is unacceptable. We're committed to ensuring that every high school student succeeds and leaves with the skills he or she needs to succeed in college or the workplace.
Because most new jobs in our 21st century economy will require post-secondary education or training, Margaret understands we need to make higher education more affordable and accessible for all Americans. We will reform the student aid system and increase college assistance for low-income students. We'll increase the maximum award for Pell grants, and make them available to students year-round. And we will expand access to community colleges, so that more Americans can develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workplace.
Margaret is the right person to carry out a reform agenda. She is talented, she is smart, she is capable, and she is a lot of fun to be around. (Laughter and applause.) She is a mom. She has a personal stake in the success of our nation's schools. She knows that to build on the progress of No Child Left Behind, the government, the President and the Secretary of Education, and those who work in this building must listen to those closest to our children -- their parents, their teachers and their principals. She will be a thoughtful and determined leader of this department. The people who work in this building will find out that they are very lucky to have been led by the likes of Margaret Spellings. I am proud to welcome her into my Cabinet.
SECRETARY SPELLINGS: Thank you, Mr. President. I've been honored to serve you and our great country these past four years, and to have worked with you for the past decade, going back to our days in Texas. Thank you for your confidence and for your generosity and kindness to my family and me. I'd also like to thank Mrs. Bush for being here today, and for her support and commitment to improving education in this country and around the world.
Thanks to you, Secretaries Chao, Jackson, Johanns, Leavitt, and Veneman for being here today. Thanks also to Chairman Enzi, Senator Kennedy, Chairman Boehner and Chairman Regula. Your presence means so much. To all the United States Senators, I thank you for my quick confirmation. Our positive experience portends well for our ability to work together.
I am eager to work with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to continue the progress begun under Secretary Rod Paige, to whom I am grateful. I'm grateful, as well, to the White House Chief of Staff, Secretary Andy Card, and my former colleague, Jim Towey, for their important roles today. And thanks to Deputy Secretary Jean Hickock for making me feel so welcome here.
Of course, I'd like to thank my family: my parents, John and Peg Dudar; my sister, Ellen; and sister and brother-in-law Nan and John Lawson; and most importantly, my husband, Robert, and our sons Britain and Robert, and daughters Mary and Grace LaMontagne.
Let me offer a special thanks to the department's 4,600 employees, my new colleagues. I look forward to our close collaboration and communication.
Mr. President, your passion for education has become our policy. Your belief that every child can learn has become our mission. When you signed No Child Left Behind into law three years ago, it was more than an act, it was an attitude; an attitude that says it's right to measure our children's progress from year to year so we can help them before it's too late; an attitude that says expecting students to read and do math at grade level or better is not too much to ask.
Mr. President, you had faith that our teachers, principals and administrators could make it happen, and your faith is being rewarded. Across the nation, test scores in reading and math are rising, with disadvantaged and minority students leading the way. Yes, after long decades, the pernicious achievement gap is beginning to close. We've learned a new equation: Accountability plus high expectations plus resources equals results. We must stay the course.
At the same time, we must work to close another gap, the skills gap, faced by our high school graduates. We must introduce the reforms of No Child Left Behind to our high schools, so that diplomas become tickets to success in the 21st century. America enjoys many, many good schools and great teachers who share our passion and commitment to excellence. As someone who has worked for school boards, a state legislature and a Texas governor, I know that many solutions can be found outside of Washington, D.C. We will find and share them as we continue to build bridges to educators, public officials and parents.
Finally, let me say a few words about this department. One of the first things you notice is that there is no ivory tower. I pledge to run an open, honest and accessible department, one that operates with integrity at all levels.
I stand here today as a product of the public schools. I'm also an education consumer, the first mother of school-age children to serve as Secretary of Education. In carrying out my duties to the American people, I will be carrying out my duties as a mom. And there's none more important than to provide a quality education to our children.
Thank you. (Applause.) END 10:55 A.M. EST
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary January 31, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 6:00 PM || ||
President George W. Bush today announced that he has named Dr. Jack D. Crouch II Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor. Dr. Crouch is the U.S. Ambassador to Romania where he has worked to expand democracy in the region, increase cooperation between the United States and Romania in the global war on terror, and foster Romania's incorporation into Western security institutions including NATO and the European Union.
"J.D. Crouch's extensive experience in national defense and foreign policy will make him a valued member of my national security team. I appreciate his willingness to continue to serve my Administration in this new capacity," stated President Bush.
Dr. Crouch served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy from August 2001 through October 2003. He was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense on the formulation and coordination of policy for NATO, Europe, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, the Caucuses and the Balkans, nuclear forces, missile defense, technology security policy, counterproliferation, and arms control.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Crouch was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. From 1984 to 1986, he worked for the Assistant Director for Strategic Programs in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and was an advisor to the U.S. Delegation on Nuclear and Space Arms Talks with the former Soviet Union.
Dr. Crouch received his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and his Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Southern California. ###
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary January 31, 2005 Personnel Announcement
Posted by sookietex at 5:47 PM || ||
US Embassy Rocket Attack Aerial video footage of insurgent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on 29 January 05. The video shows insurgents fire and run from a preditor drone's point of view.
file is streaming video in windows media format. 2005-01-31 10:26:00 1107185160
US Embassy Rocket Attack Video
- Iraqi election Embassy Rocket Attack - Baghdad, Iraq – Seven insurgents responsible for the Jan. 29 rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy were captured by Task Force Baghdad troops approximately one hour after launching their attack.
Posted by sookietex at 3:28 PM || ||
Sunday, January 30, 2005
President Congratulates Iraq
|STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE IRAQI ELECTION FULL STREAMING VIDEO
The Cross Hall 1:00 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Today the people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East.
Across Iraq today, men and women have taken rightful control of their country's destiny, and they have chosen a future of freedom and peace. In this process, Iraqis have had many friends at their side. The European Union and the United Nations gave important assistance in the election process. The American military and our diplomats, working with our coalition partners, have been skilled and relentless, and their sacrifices have helped to bring Iraqis to this day. The people of the United States have been patient and resolute, even in difficult days.
The commitment to a free Iraq now goes forward. This historic election begins the process of drafting and ratifying a new constitution, which will be the basis of a fully democratic Iraqi government. Terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy, and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them. We will continue training Iraqi security forces so this rising democracy can eventually take responsibility for its own security.
There's more distance to travel on the road to democracy. Yet Iraqis are proving they're equal to the challenge. On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Iraq on this great and historic achievement.
Thank you very much. END 1:05 P.M. EST
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary January 30, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 5:20 PM || ||
A billboard at a traffic intersection in Baghdad reads, (How we will provide a better country for our kids; elections of the National Assembly. Elect Iraq.)
Task Force Baghdad Troops Capture Seven Insurgents Responsible for Embassy Rocket Attack
Baghdad, Iraq – Seven insurgents responsible for the Jan. 29 rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy were captured by Task Force Baghdad troops approximately one hour after launching their attack.
Following the 8 p.m. attack on the embassy, the men fled the scene of the rocket launch, but were tracked to a residence in southeastern Baghdad. Task Force Baghdad ground troops descended on the home, detaining all seven suspects.
“This was a great example of quick reaction on the part of some superb cavalry troopers,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Jones, assistant division commander for the 1st Cavalry Division and Task Force Baghdad. “It’s one more example to the insurgents that Iraqi and Multi-National Forces will hunt down those responsible for these acts of terrorism.”
Leading up to the election, Jones said the troops in his task force and the Iraqi security forces in Baghdad are prepared to meet the challenge of security a free election in the Iraqi capital.
“We’re doing all we can, as are all the Iraqi security forces, to make Baghdad as safe as possible so its citizens can vote in this historic election,” Jones said.
The seven captured suspects are being held for further questioning. Release #050130d
جنود قوة مهام بغداد تلقي القبض على سبعة متمردين مسؤولين عن الهجوم الصاروخي على السفارة
بغداد, العراق –ألقت قوة مهام بغداد القبض على سبعة متمردين لعلاقتهم بالهجوم الصاروخي الذي وقع على السفارة ألأمريكية يوم 29 كانون الثاني بعد
ساعة من تنفيذهم للهجوم.
بعد قيامهم بالهجوم في الساعة الثامنة مساءا غادر المهاجمون موقع ألأطلاق و عادوا الى منزل جنوب بغداد, حيث قام جنود قوة مهام بغداد بمتابعتهم و مداهمة المنزل و أعتقال ألأشخاص السبعة المتواجدون فيه.
معاون قائد فرقة الفرسان ألأولى العميد (مايكل جونز) قال : " أن هذا يمثل نموذج لرد الفعل السريع من قبل جنود فرقة الفرسان", و أضاف " و هو أيضا مثال للمتمردين على الكيفية التي ستقبض بها القوات العراقية و المتعددة الجنسيات على المسؤولين عن العمليات ألأرهابية".
(جونز) قال أن جنوده مستعدون لمواجهة التحدي
ألأمني في بغداد أثناء ألأنتخابات لضمان حريتها, حيث قال " أن قواتنا و القوات العراقية تعمل كل ما بوسعها لضمان أمن بغداد كي يتمكن المواطنون من ألأدلاء بأصواتهم في هذه ألأنتخابات التاريخية".
المعتقلون محتجزون لغرض التحقيق.
Posted by sookietex at 2:50 PM || ||
The Iraqi people will participate in democratic elections on January 30 for the first time in more than 30 years to elect a Transitional National Assembly, provincial councils for each of Iraq's provinces, and a Kurdistan Regional Government. Over 80% of Iraqis recently polled in a survey for the International Republican Institute said they intend to vote. The Road to Democracy February 2005 October 2005 December 2005 A New Government
"I believe that the unity of the country will be enhanced, will be strengthened by the process of an election.... This is a process. It is not the end of the process on the 30th of January."
-Iyad Allawi, Iraq's Interim Prime Minister
The Iraqi people will participate in democratic elections on January 30 for the first time in more than 30 years to elect a Transitional National Assembly, provincial councils for each of Iraq's provinces, and a Kurdistan Regional Government. Over 80% of Iraqis recently polled in a survey for the International Republican Institute said they intend to vote.
The Road to Democracy
A New Government
- A 275-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA), with the goal of 25% female representation, will be elected.
- APresidency Council, consisting of a President and two Vice Presidents, will be elected by the TNA. The Presidency Council will unanimously select a Prime Minister and approve his or her selection of cabinet ministers.
- The TNA, by a majority vote, will approve the Prime Minister and his or her cabinet.
- Provincial Councils and a Kurdistan National Assembly also will be elected on January 30.
- The TNA will write Iraq's permanent constitution and submit it to the Iraqi people in a referendum for approval by October 2005.
- A new government operating under the permanent constitution is expected to be elected by the end of 2005.
The Voting Process
- More than 14 million Iraqis are registered to vote at nearly 6,000 voting centers across Iraq. Iraqis living abroad will be able to register and vote in 14 other countries.
- There are 256 political entities composed of nearly 19,000 candidates who are running for the National Assembly, the provincial councils, and the Kurdistan National Assembly.
- The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) is responsible for ensuring a fair and transparent process. The UN Electoral Assistance Division is advising the IECI.
- Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are providing technical support to the IECI and the Iraqi Interim Government. The IECI and various NGOs have conducted voter education campaigns in Iraq.
- The United States' and the Coalition's limited role consists mainly of providing financial support for the implementation and logistics of the election. The United States has offered more than $40 million; Japan, $40 million; and the EU, $38 million.
- Military forces from 29 countries are working alongside Iraqi forces to help establish stability and security throughout Iraq.
- The Ministry of Interior is primarily responsible for security at election sites on election day. Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi military forces will also be engaged. Coalition forces stand ready to provide reinforcement and support when requested.
- The January 30 elections will give the Iraqi people their first democratically elected government in more than three decades.
- The election will show the shared desire among Iraqis to exercise their democratic rights under difficult conditions.
Posted by sookietex at 1:38 PM || ||
Saturday, January 29, 2005
Jan 29, 2005
Another citizen’s tip leads to defusing of bomb
معلومة أخرى لمواطن تؤدي الى أبطال قنبلة
الموصل- العراق: تمكنت القوات المتعددة الجنسيات من أبطال مفعول قنبلة وضعت على جانب الطريق بعد أن أستلموا معلومة من خلال مركز التنسيق المشترك في شمال العراق وذلك
يوم 28 كانون الثاني.
والمعلومة جاءت من أحد المواطنين العراقيين الذي أجرى أتصالا بمركز التنسيق المشترك لأخبارهم بوجود قنبلة زرعت في شمال شرق الموصل. وقبل أربعة أيام فقط أستملت معلومة أخرى أدت الىأبطال مفعول قنبلة على جانب الطريق. ومثل تلك الأعمال الشجاعة تظهر مدى ألتزام المواطنين العراقيين لضمان عراق آمن وسالم.
تشجع القوات المتعددة الجنسيات المواطنين العراقيين على التعاون مع القوات الأمنية وتسليم أي سلاح أو ألة عسكرية.Mosul, Iraq – Multi-National Forces from 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) were able to defuse a roadside bomb following a tip received through the Joint Coordination Center in northern Iraq Jan. 28.
The tip came from an Iraqi citizen who had called the Joint Coordination Center to inform them of the bomb planted in northeastern Mosul. Only four days ago another tip in the same area resulted in a roadside bomb being defused. These types of courageous acts demonstrate the commitment of Iraqi citizens to ensuring a safe and peaceful Iraq.
Multi-National Forces encourage citizens of Iraq to cooperate with security forces and turn in military weapons and equipment. Release #050129d
Posted by sookietex at 4:34 PM || ||
January 30, 2001
Republican Gale Norton, appointed by President George W. Bush, becomes first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
January 31, 1865
13th Amendment banning slavery passed by U.S. House with unanimous Republican support, intense Democrat opposition.
February 1, 1865
Chief Justice Salmon Chase swears in Republican John S. Rock, first African-American to be admitted to practice before U.S. Supreme Court.
February 2, 1856
After leaving Democratic Party because of its pro-slavery policies, U.S. Rep. Nathaniel Banks (R-MA) becomes first Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
February 3, 1870
After passing House with 98% Republican support and 97% Democrat opposition, Republicans’ 15th Amendment is ratified, granting vote to all Americans regardless of race.
February 4, 1959
President Eisenhower informs Republican leaders of his plan to introduce 1960 Civil Rights Act, despite staunch opposition from many Democrats
February 5, 1866
U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens (R-PA) introduces legislation, successfully opposed by Democrat President Andrew Johnson, to implement “40 acres and a mule” relief by distributing land to former slaves
“The first Republican I knew was my father and he is still the Republican I most admire. He joined our party because the Democrats inJim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did. My father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I.
“I joined for different reasons. I found a party that sees me as an individual, not as part of a group. I found a party that puts family first. I found a party that has love of liberty at its core. And I found a party that believes that peace begins with strength.”
“It’s that expression of the individual and a willingness to put the educational opportunities before me that led to who I am. Who you are is who you are as an individual.”
Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State
SOURCE: 2005 Republican Freedom Calendar
Posted by sookietex at 1:51 PM || ||
bush radio address 01/22/05 full audio, text transcript
President's Radio Address
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
Tomorrow the world will witness a turning point in the history of Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom, and a crucial advance in the war on terror. The Iraqi people will make their way to polling centers across their nation. On the national ballot alone, voters will choose from nearly 19,000 candidates competing for seats in the Transitional National Assembly, in the country's 18 provincial councils, and in the Kurdistan National Assembly.
This historic event will be overseen by the Independent Election Commission of Iraq, and will mark the first genuine, nationwide elections in generations. The terrorists and those who benefited from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein know that free elections will expose the emptiness of their vision for Iraq. That is why they will stop at nothing to prevent or disrupt this election.
The terrorist Zarqawi -- who plans and orders many of the car bombings and beheadings in Iraq -- recently acknowledged the threat that democracy poses to his cult of hatred. "Of democracy in Iraq," he said, "we have declared a fierce war against this evil principle." He denounced as infidels all who seek to exercise their right to vote as free human beings.
Yet in the face of this intimidation, the Iraqi people are standing firm. Tomorrow's elections will happen because of their courage and determination. All throughout Iraq, these friends of freedom understand the stakes. In the face of assassination, brutal violence and calculated intimidation, Iraqis continue to prepare for the elections and to campaign for their candidates. They know what democracy will mean for their country: a future of peace, stability, prosperity and justice for themselves and for their children. One resident of Baghdad said, "This election represents what is possible. To me, it's the start of a new life."
This election is also important for America. Our nation has always been more secure when freedom is on the march. As hope and freedom spread, the appeal of terror and hate will fade. And there is not a democratic nation in our world that threatens the security of the United States. The best way to ensure the success of democracy is through the advance of democracy.
Tomorrow's vote will be the latest step in Iraq's journey to permanent democracy and freedom. Those elected to the transitional National Assembly will help appoint a new government that will fully and fairly represent the diversity of the Iraqi people. This assembly will also be charged with drafting a permanent constitution that will be put to a vote of the Iraqi people this fall. If approved, a new nationwide election will follow in December that will choose a new government under this constitution.
As democracy takes hold in Iraq, America's mission there will continue. Our military forces, diplomats and civilian personnel will help the newly-elected government of Iraq establish security and train Iraqi military police and other forces. Terrorist violence will not end with the election. Yet the terrorists will fail, because the Iraqi people reject their ideology of murder.
Over the past year, the world has seen successful elections in Afghanistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Georgia, Ukraine, and the Palestinian territories. In countries across the broader Middle East, from Morocco to Bahrain, governments are enacting new reforms and increasing participation for their people.
Tomorrow's election will add to the momentum of democracy. One Iraqi, speaking about the upcoming vote, said, "Now, most people feel they are living in darkness. It is time for us to come into the light." Every Iraqi who casts his or her vote deserves the admiration of the world. And free people everywhere send their best wishes to the Iraqi people as they move further into the light of liberty.
Thank you for listening. END
For Immediate Release January 29, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 1:07 PM || ||
Friday, January 28, 2005
President Thanks Secretary of State Rice at Swearing-In Ceremony STREAMING VIDEO with FULL TEXT of the presidents remarks.
U.S. Department of State 9:58 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Laura and I are honored to be here. Over the past four years, America has benefited from the wise counsel of Dr. Condoleezza Rice and our family has been enriched by our friendship with this remarkable person. We love her -- I don't know if you're supposed to say that about the Secretary of State. (Laughter.)
Condi's appointment and confirmation of Secretary of State marks a remarkable transition in what is already a career of outstanding service and accomplishment.
Today also marks an opportunity to honor another career defined by service and accomplishment. Throughout a lifetime spent in public service, Colin Powell has asked nothing in return. For over four decades, millions at home and abroad have benefited from his bravery, his dignity and his integrity. He's left our nation a better place than it was when he began his career in public service as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. His magnificent wife, Alma, I am certain is pleased that a grateful nation is giving back her husband -- (laughter) -- and all of us admire and appreciate the service of Colin Powell. (Applause.)
I appreciate the fact that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg administered the oath. It was neighborly of her to do that. (Laughter.) I want to thank Congresswoman Jane Harman from California for joining us, as well as Juanita Millender-McDonald from California. We're honored you both are here. Thanks for taking time to honor your fellow Californian, Condi Rice. (Applause.)
I see sitting between you two is a fine American in Andrew Young. Welcome, Andy. Thank you for coming. I shouldn't start going around the room, heralding all the -- (laughter) -- accomplished souls who are here. I do want to thank members of the diplomatic corps for coming. I appreciate Your Excellencies taking time to honor Condi. I want to thank the distinguished guests and members -- folks who work at the State Department for joining us, as well. It's a good thing to come and honor your new boss. (Laughter.) Good diplomacy. (Laughter.)
Colin Powell leaves big shoes to fill at the State Department, but Condi Rice is the right person to fill them. As National Security Advisor, she has led during a time when events not of our choosing have forced America to the leading edge of history. Condi has an abiding belief in the power of democracy to secure justice and liberty, and the inclusion of men and women of all races and religions in the courses that free nations chart for themselves.
A few days from now, these convictions will be confirmed by the Iraqi people, when they cast their ballots in Iraq's first free elections in generations. Sunday's election is the first step in a process that will allow Iraqis to write and pass a constitution that enshrines self-government and the rule of law. This history is changing the world, because the advent of democracy in Iraq will serve as a powerful example to reformers throughout the entire Middle East. On Sunday, the Iraqi people will be joining millions in others parts of the world who now decide their future through free votes.
In Afghanistan, the people have voted in the first free presidential elections in that nation's 5,000-year history. The people of Ukraine have made clear their own desire for democracy. The Palestinians have just elected a new President who has repudiated violence. Freedom is on the march, and the world is better for it. (Applause.) Widespread hatred and radicalism cannot survive the advent of freedom and self-government. Our nation will be more secure, the world will be more peaceful, as freedom advances. Condi Rice understands that.
And the terrorists understand that, as well. And that is why they are now attacking Iraqi civilians in an effort to sabotage elections. We applaud the courage of ordinary Iraqis for their refusal to surrender their future to these killers.
No nation can build a safer and better world alone. The men and women of the State Department are doing a fine job of working with other nations to build on the momentum of freedom. I know our nation will be really well served when the good folks at the State Department join with Condi Rice to face the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. In the coming months and years, we must stop the proliferation of dangerous weapons and materials. We must safeguard and expand the freedom of international marketplace and free trade. We must advance justice and fundamental human rights. We must fight HIV/AIDS and other diseases and reduce poverty.
Each task will require good relations with nations around the world, and each will require a Secretary who will lead by character and conviction and wisdom. To meet these times and tasks, America has its best in Dr. Condoleezza Rice, now Secretary Condoleezza Rice, our 66th Secretary of State. (Applause.)
|I want to thank the members of my family and my friends who are here -- a number are here from Birmingham, Alabama, and they represent generations of Rices and Rays, who believed that a day like this might somehow be possible.||
Condoleezza Rice 2
for diplomacy is now. Standing for the cause of liberty is as old as our country itself. Indeed, it was our very first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, who said, "The God who gave us live, gave us liberty at the same time." America's story is the story of men and women ceaselessly striving to ensure that we as a nation live up to the ideals set forth by our forefathers. Our founders realized that they, like all human beings, were flawed creatures, and that any government created by man would not be perfect. Even the great authors of our liberty sometimes fell short of their ideals -- even Thomas Jefferson, himself. Yet, our forebears established a democratic system of, by and for the people that contained within it the means for citizens and -- of conviction and of courage to correct its flaws.
The enduring principles enshrined in our Constitution made it possible for impatient patriots -- like Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King -- to move us ever closer to our founding ideals. And so it is only natural that through the decades America would associate itself with those around the world who also strive to secure freedom for themselves and for their children.
September 11, 2001, made us see more clearly than ever how our values and our interests are linked and joined across the globe. That day of fire made us see that the best way to secure a world of peace and hope is to build a world of freedom. We do not simply seek the absence of terrorism. We seek a world where the aspirations for freedom of men and women triumph. Today, it is more fitting than ever that our nation should pursue a foreign policy that is grounded in democratic principles and aligns itself with the efforts of all those around the globe who share our love of liberty.
In all that lies ahead, the primary instrument of American diplomacy will be the Department of State, and the dedicated men and women of its foreign and civil services and our foreign service nationals. More than half a century ago, Dean Acheson and his officers stood present at the creation, in helping President Truman secure a world half free, while hoping that there would one day be a world fully free. Under your leadership, Mr. President, we at the Department of State will conduct a foreign policy that sees the world clearly as it is. But, Mr. President, we will not accept that today's reality has to be tomorrow's. We will work in partnership with allies and reformers across the globe, putting the tools of diplomacy to work to unite, strengthen and widen the community of democracies.
We fully recognize that the hard work of freedom is the task of generations. Yet, it is also the urgent work that cannot be deferred. And, ultimately, the impatient souls all around the world who struggle and stumble and rise again to take up freedom's cause will succeed -- for the great mover of history is the power of the human spirit.
Mr. President, you have given us our mission, and we are ready to serve our great country and the cause of freedom for which it stands.
Thank you. (Applause.) END 10:11 A.M. EST
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary January 28, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 4:07 PM || ||
Tikrit, Iraq -- Governors of north-central Iraq provinces and the commander of the 1st Infantry Division expressed their hope about Sunday’s national elections during a press conference at Forward Operating Base Danger Jan. 26.
“This country has incredible potential that I know it is going to realize, and the first step is the elections,” said Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste, 1st ID commander.
The 1st ID has been in north-central Iraq for about a year and will help provide security for the elections.
Batiste said Iraqi Security Forces had done a splendid job of preparing for Sunday.
“The security of election materials and ballots is a major portion…of security developed by Iraqi Security Forces,” Batiste said. “Security for the polling sites has been worked out in great detail by the Iraqi Security Forces.”
The governors and their deputies predicted that between 60 and 90 percent of those eligible to vote in Salah Ad Din and Diyala provinces would do so. Salah Ad Din Deputy Governor Abdullah Hussein Jubarra al-Jubbari, pointed out that by contrast, just 49 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2004 U.S. presidential elections.
“We are optimistic that Iraqis are eager to participate,” Abdullah said. “It is the right of the citizens to vote or not to vote. I expect that most of our citizens in Kirkuk are going to vote.”
How long Multi-National Forces will stay after the vote will depend on the security situation, Abdullah added.
“Ninety percent of what has been destroyed in this country was not done by the United States,” he said. “The chaos and destruction that followed the downfall of the previous regime necessitated the assistance of the Multi-National Forces to overcome the bad situation.”
Abdullah, a Sunni Muslim, dismissed talk that a Sunni boycott would reduce the election’s credibility
“Any boycott will have an insignificant impact on the National Assembly and the whole process,” he said.
(Story by Sgt. W. Wayne Marlow, 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office) Release #050128c SOURCE: MNFI
Posted by sookietex at 3:55 PM || ||
Thursday, January 27, 2005
DDR COURSE GRADUATES 212
BAGHDAD, Iraq – As part of the Iraqi military’s ongoing effort to strengthen its forces, 212 direct recruit replacements graduated from the Iraqi Training Battalion in Al Kasik, Jan. 27.
Recruits spent three weeks in basic military skills refresher with concentration on blocks of instruction in likely mission subjects like traffic control points, local security patrols and fixed-site security.
The soldiers are all being assigned to the Iraqi Army’s 4th Brigade. -30-
NEWS RELEASE HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 827-5894; FAX: (813) 827-2211; DSN 651-5894
January 27, 2005 Release Number: 05-01-105 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Posted by sookietex at 5:31 PM || ||
Thirty Marines, 1 Sailor Die in Helicopter Crash
Camp Fallujah, Iraq – Thirty Marines and one Sailor from the 1st Marine Division and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing of the I Marine Expeditionary Force died early this morning when their CH-53E “Super Stallion” helicopter crashed near Ar Rutbah in the Al Anbar Province while conducting security and stabilization operations.
All Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen of the I Marine Expeditionary Force mourn the tragic loss of our brothers in arms.
A recovery team is at the crash site, and the cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
The names of the deceased are being withheld pending next of kin notification.
“While we mourn the loss of these heroes, we will honor their sacrifice by continuing our mission to bring democracy to the people of Iraq,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “To the families of these brave men, our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to you at this most difficult of times.” Release #050126r
Posted by sookietex at 5:17 PM || ||
Memorandum for the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense
Presidential Determination No. 2005-19
SUBJECT: Determination to Authorize a Drawdown for Afghanistan
Pursuant to the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including section 202 and other relevant provisions of the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act (Public Law 107327, as amended) and section 506 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2318, I hereby direct the drawdown of up to $88.5 million of defense articles, defense services, and military education and training from the Department of Defense for the Government of Afghanistan.
The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to report this determination to the Congress and to arrange for its publication in the Federal Register.
GEORGE W. BUSH
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary January 27, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 3:53 PM || ||
State of the Union Address 2005 FULL STREAMING VIDEO
Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives The United States Capitol Washington, D.C. 9:10 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Now we must add to these achievements. By making our economy more flexible, more innovative, and more competitive, we will keep America the economic leader of the world. (Applause.)
America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. I welcome the bipartisan enthusiasm for spending discipline. I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. (Applause.) My budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities. The principle here is clear: Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely, or not at all. (Applause.)
To make our economy stronger and more dynamic, we must prepare a rising generation to fill the jobs of the 21st century. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, standards are higher, test scores are on the rise, and we're closing the achievement gap for minority students. Now we must demand better results from our high schools, so every high school diploma is a ticket to success. We will help an additional 200,000 workers to get training for a better career, by reforming our job training system and strengthening America's community colleges. And we'll make it easier for Americans to afford a college education, by increasing the size of Pell Grants. (Applause.)
To make our economy stronger and more competitive, America must reward, not punish, the efforts and dreams of entrepreneurs. Small business is the path of advancement, especially for women and minorities, so we must free small businesses from needless regulation and protect honest job-creators from junk lawsuits. (Applause.) Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back by irresponsible class-actions and frivolous asbestos claims -- and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year. (Applause.)
To make our economy stronger and more productive, we must make health care more affordable, and give families greater access to good coverage -- (applause) -- and more control over their health decisions. (Applause.) I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive health care agenda with tax credits to help low-income workers buy insurance, a community health center in every poor county, improved information technology to prevent medical error and needless costs, association health plans for small businesses and their employees -- (applause) -- expanded health savings accounts -- (applause) -- and medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs and make sure patients have the doctors and care they need. (Applause.)
To keep our economy growing, we also need reliable supplies of affordable, environmentally responsible energy. (Applause.) Nearly four years ago, I submitted a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages conservation, alternative sources, a modernized electricity grid, and more production here at home -- including safe, clean nuclear energy. (Applause.) My Clear Skies legislation will cut power plant pollution and improve the health of our citizens. (Applause.) And my budget provides strong funding for leading-edge technology -- from hydrogen-fueled cars, to clean coal, to renewable sources such as ethanol. (Applause.) Four years of debate is enough: I urge Congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy. (Applause.)
All these proposals are essential to expand this economy and add new jobs -- but they are just the beginning of our duty. To build the prosperity of future generations, we must update institutions that were created to meet the needs of an earlier time. Year after year, Americans are burdened by an archaic, incoherent federal tax code. I've appointed a bipartisan panel to examine the tax code from top to bottom. And when their recommendations are delivered, you and I will work together to give this nation a tax code that is pro-growth, easy to understand, and fair to all. (Applause.)
America's immigration system is also outdated -- unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. We should not be content with laws that punish hardworking people who want only to provide for their families, and deny businesses willing workers, and invite chaos at our border. It is time for an immigration policy that permits temporary guest workers to fill jobs Americans will not take, that rejects amnesty, that tells us who is entering and leaving our country, and that closes the border to drug dealers and terrorists. (Applause.)
One of America's most important institutions -- a symbol of the trust between generations -- is also in need of wise and effective reform. Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th century, and we must honor its great purposes in this new century. (Applause.) The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy. And so we must join together to strengthen and save Social Security. (Applause.)
Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement -- and for them the system is sound and fiscally strong. I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you; for you, the Social Security system will not change in any way. (Applause.) For younger workers, the Social Security system has serious problems that will grow worse with time. Social Security was created decades ago, for a very different era. In those days, people did not live as long. Benefits were much lower than they are today. And a half-century ago, about sixteen workers paid into the system for each person drawing benefits.
Our society has changed in ways the founders of Social Security could not have foreseen. In today's world, people are living longer and, therefore, drawing benefits longer. And those benefits are scheduled to rise dramatically over the next few decades. And instead of sixteen workers paying in for every beneficiary, right now it's only about three workers. And over the next few decades that number will fall to just two workers per beneficiary. With each passing year, fewer workers are paying ever-higher benefits to an ever-larger number of retirees.
So here is the result: Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra $200 billion to keep the system afloat -- and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than $300 billion. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs.
I recognize that 2018 and 2042 may seem a long way off. But those dates are not so distant, as any parent will tell you. If you have a five-year-old, you're already concerned about how you'll pay for college tuition 13 years down the road. If you've got children in their 20s, as some of us do, the idea of Social Security collapsing before they retire does not seem like a small matter. And it should not be a small matter to the United States Congress. (Applause.) You and I share a responsibility. We must pass reforms that solve the financial problems of Social Security once and for all.
Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, candid review of the options. Some have suggested limiting benefits for wealthy retirees. Former Congressman Tim Penny has raised the possibility of indexing benefits to prices rather than wages. During the 1990s, my predecessor, President Clinton, spoke of increasing the retirement age. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended changing the way benefits are calculated. All these ideas are on the table.
I know that none of these reforms would be easy. But we have to move ahead with courage and honesty, because our children's retirement security is more important than partisan politics. (Applause.) I will work with members of Congress to find the most effective combination of reforms. I will listen to anyone who has a good idea to offer. (Applause.) We must, however, be guided by some basic principles. We must make Social Security permanently sound, not leave that task for another day. We must not jeopardize our economic strength by increasing payroll taxes. We must ensure that lower-income Americans get the help they need to have dignity and peace of mind in their retirement. We must guarantee there is no change for those now retired or nearing retirement. And we must take care that any changes in the system are gradual, so younger workers have years to prepare and plan for their future.
As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. And the best way to reach that goal is through voluntary personal retirement accounts. (Applause.) Here is how the idea works. Right now, a set portion of the money you earn is taken out of your paycheck to pay for the Social Security benefits of today's retirees. If you're a younger worker, I believe you should be able to set aside part of that money in your own retirement account, so you can build a nest egg for your own future.
Here's why the personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver -- and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security. In addition, you'll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children and -- or grandchildren. And best of all, the money in the account is yours, and the government can never take it away. (Applause.)
The goal here is greater security in retirement, so we will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We'll make sure the money can only go into a conservative mix of bonds and stock funds. We'll make sure that your earnings are not eaten up by hidden Wall Street fees. We'll make sure there are good options to protect your investments from sudden market swings on the eve of your retirement. We'll make sure a personal account cannot be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security benefits. And we'll make sure this plan is fiscally responsible, by starting personal retirement accounts gradually, and raising the yearly limits on contributions over time, eventually permitting all workers to set aside four percentage points of their payroll taxes in their accounts.
Personal retirement accounts should be familiar to federal employees, because you already have something similar, called the Thrift Savings Plan, which lets workers deposit a portion of their paychecks into any of five different broadly-based investment funds. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans. (Applause.)
Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.
Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage. (Applause.)
Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life. Medical research can help us reach that goal, by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities -- and I thank the Congress for doubling the funding of the National Institutes of Health. (Applause.) To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. We should all be able to agree -- (applause) -- we should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity. (Applause.) America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive, and always ethical.
Because courts must always deliver impartial justice, judges have a duty to faithfully interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. (Applause.) As President, I have a constitutional responsibility to nominate men and women who understand the role of courts in our democracy, and are well-qualified to serve on the bench -- and I have done so. (Applause.) The Constitution also gives the Senate a responsibility: Every judicial nominee deserves an up or down vote. (Applause.)
Because one of the deepest values of our country is compassion, we must never turn away from any citizen who feels isolated from the opportunities of America. Our government will continue to support faith-based and community groups that bring hope to harsh places. Now we need to focus on giving young people, especially young men in our cities, better options than apathy, or gangs, or jail. Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence. (Applause.) Taking on gang life will be one part of a broader outreach to at-risk youth, which involves parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders, in programs ranging from literacy to sports. And I am proud that the leader of this nationwide effort will be our First Lady, Laura Bush. (Applause.)
Because HIV/AIDS brings suffering and fear into so many lives, I ask you to reauthorize the Ryan White Act to encourage prevention, and provide care and treatment to the victims of that disease. (Applause.) And as we update this important law, we must focus our efforts on fellow citizens with the highest rates of new cases, African American men and women. (Applause.)
Because one of the main sources of our national unity is our belief in equal justice, we need to make sure Americans of all races and backgrounds have confidence in the system that provides justice. In America we must make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit -- so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction. (Applause.) Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side. (Applause.)
Our third responsibility to future generations is to leave them an America that is safe from danger, and protected by peace. We will pass along to our children all the freedoms we enjoy -- and chief among them is freedom from fear.
In the three and a half years since September the 11th, 2001, we have taken unprecedented actions to protect Americans. We've created a new department of government to defend our homeland, focused the FBI on preventing terrorism, begun to reform our intelligence agencies, broken up terror cells across the country, expanded research on defenses against biological and chemical attack, improved border security, and trained more than a half-million first responders. Police and firefighters, air marshals, researchers, and so many others are working every day to make our homeland safer, and we thank them all. (Applause.)
Our nation, working with allies and friends, has also confronted the enemy abroad, with measures that are determined, successful, and continuing. The al Qaeda terror network that attacked our country still has leaders -- but many of its top commanders have been removed. There are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists -- but their number has declined. There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction -- but no longer without attention and without consequence. Our country is still the target of terrorists who want to kill many, and intimidate us all -- and we will stay on the offensive against them, until the fight is won. (Applause.)
Pursuing our enemies is a vital commitment of the war on terror -- and I thank the Congress for providing our servicemen and women with the resources they have needed. During this time of war, we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory. (Applause.)
Other nations around the globe have stood with us. In Afghanistan, an international force is helping provide security. In Iraq, 28 countries have troops on the ground, the United Nations and the European Union provided technical assistance for the elections, and NATO is leading a mission to help train Iraqi officers. We're cooperating with 60 governments in the Proliferation Security Initiative, to detect and stop the transit of dangerous materials. We're working closely with the governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and nine other countries have captured or detained al Qaeda terrorists. In the next four years, my administration will continue to build the coalitions that will defeat the dangers of our time. (Applause.)
In the long-term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder. If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free nations for decades. The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom. (Applause.) Our enemies know this, and that is why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he called the "evil principle" of democracy. And we've declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. (Applause.)
The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else. That is one of the main differences between us and our enemies. They seek to impose and expand an empire of oppression, in which a tiny group of brutal, self-appointed rulers control every aspect of every life. Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures. And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace. (Applause.)
That advance has great momentum in our time -- shown by women voting in Afghanistan, and Palestinians choosing a new direction, and the people of Ukraine asserting their democratic rights and electing a president. We are witnessing landmark events in the history of liberty. And in the coming years, we will add to that story. (Applause.)
The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are now showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure. Tomorrow morning, Secretary of State Rice departs on a trip that will take her to Israel and the West Bank for meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. She will discuss with them how we and our friends can help the Palestinian people end terror and build the institutions of a peaceful, independent, democratic state. To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, is within reach -- and America will help them achieve that goal. (Applause.)
To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, the United States will work with our friends in the region to fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher standard of freedom. Hopeful reform is already taking hold in an arc from Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain. The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East. (Applause.)
To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act -- and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. (Applause.) Today, Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror -- pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you. (Applause.)
Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. That country is a vital front in the war on terror, which is why the terrorists have chosen to make a stand there. Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.) And the victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, bring more hope and progress to a troubled region, and thereby lift a terrible threat from the lives of our children and grandchildren.
We will succeed because the Iraqi people value their own liberty -- as they showed the world last Sunday. (Applause.) Across Iraq, often at great risk, millions of citizens went to the polls and elected 275 men and women to represent them in a new Transitional National Assembly. A young woman in Baghdad told of waking to the sound of mortar fire on election day, and wondering if it might be too dangerous to vote. She said, "Hearing those explosions, it occurred to me -- the insurgents are weak, they are afraid of democracy, they are losing. So I got my husband, and I got my parents, and we all came out and voted together."
Americans recognize that spirit of liberty, because we share it. In any nation, casting your vote is an act of civic responsibility; for millions of Iraqis, it was also an act of personal courage, and they have earned the respect of us all. (Applause.)
One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. She says of her country, "We were occupied for 35 years by Saddam Hussein. That was the real occupation. Thank you to the American people who paid the cost, but most of all, to the soldiers." Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country -- and we are honored that she is with us tonight. (Applause.)
The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy, and will continue to attack it. Yet, the terrorists' most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces, they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people. (Applause.)
We will succeed in Iraq because Iraqis are determined to fight for their own freedom, and to write their own history. As Prime Minister Allawi said in his speech to Congress last September, "Ordinary Iraqis are anxious to shoulder all the security burdens of our country as quickly as possible." That is the natural desire of an independent nation, and it is also the stated mission of our coalition in Iraq. The new political situation in Iraq opens a new phase of our work in that country.
At the recommendation of our commanders on the ground, and in consultation with the Iraqi government, we will increasingly focus our efforts on helping prepare more capable Iraqi security forces -- forces with skilled officers and an effective command structure. As those forces become more self-reliant and take on greater security responsibilities, America and its coalition partners will increasingly be in a supporting role. In the end, Iraqis must be able to defend their own country -- and we will help that proud, new nation secure its liberty.
Recently an Iraqi interpreter said to a reporter, "Tell America not to abandon us." He and all Iraqis can be certain: While our military strategy is adapting to circumstances, our commitment remains firm and unchanging. We are standing for the freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come. (Applause.) We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: A country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors, and able to defend itself. And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned. (Applause.)
Right now, Americans in uniform are serving at posts across the world, often taking great risks on my orders. We have given them training and equipment; and they have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud. (Applause.) The volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency, and every day they're making our nation more secure. Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful country will do everything we can to help them recover. (Applause.) And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever.
One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much Byron loved being a Marine, and how proud he was to be on the front line against terror. She wrote, "When Byron was home the last time, I said that I wanted to protect him like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said, 'You've done your job, Mom. Now it is my turn to protect you.'" Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom's defenders, and our military families, represented here this evening by Sergeant Norwood's mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood. (Applause.)
In these four years, Americans have seen the unfolding of large events. We have known times of sorrow, and hours of uncertainty, and days of victory. In all this history, even when we have disagreed, we have seen threads of purpose that unite us. The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.
As Franklin Roosevelt once reminded Americans, "Each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth." And we live in the country where the biggest dreams are born. The abolition of slavery was only a dream -- until it was fulfilled. The liberation of Europe from fascism was only a dream -- until it was achieved. The fall of imperial communism was only a dream -- until, one day, it was accomplished. Our generation has dreams of its own, and we also go forward with confidence. The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable -- yet we know where it leads: It leads to freedom.
Thank you, and may God bless America. (Applause.) END 10:03 P.M. EST
For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary February 2, 2005
Posted by sookietex at 1:15 PM || ||
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
President Holds Press Conference FULL STREAMING VIDEO
The James S. Brady Briefing Room
10:00 A.M. EST
Next week, I will report to Congress on the state of the union and describe in more detail a legislative agenda to serve the goals I have outlined. I'll ask the House and Senate to act soon on the issue of Social Security, so that we don't pass a bankrupt system on to our children and our grandchildren. I'm open to good ideas from members of Congress. I'll work with both parties to get results. Any solution must confront the problem fully and directly by making the system permanently solvent and providing the option of personal accounts.
For this new term, I've assembled an exceptional Cabinet, and several members are taking office this week. In addition to speedy action on all my nominees, I especially urge the Senate to confirm Condoleezza Rice today, and to promptly act and confirm Judge Al Gonzales.
We have a full agenda. I'm looking forward to the work ahead. And now I'm looking forward to answering some of your questions. Terry. Bush Press Conference Jan. 26, 2005 FULL TEXT
Posted by sookietex at 6:51 PM || ||