UPDATE, November 10, 2006. Veterans Day 2006 FULL COVERAGE
Veterans Day, 2006, A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America In Focus: Veterans
Through the generations, America's men and women in uniform have defeated tyrants, liberated continents, and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world. On Veterans Day, our Nation pays tribute to those who have proudly served in our Armed Forces.
To protect the Nation they love, our veterans stepped forward when America needed them most. In conflicts around the world, their sacrifice and resolve helped destroy the enemies of freedom and saved millions from oppression. In answering history's call with honor, decency, and resolve, our veterans have shown the power of liberty and earned the respect and admiration of a grateful Nation.
All of America's veterans have placed our Nation's security before their own lives, creating a debt that we can never fully repay. Our veterans represent the best of America, and they deserve the best America can give them.
As we recall the service of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, we are reminded that the defense of freedom comes with great loss and sacrifice. This Veterans Day, we give thanks to those who have served freedom's cause; we salute the members of our Armed Forces who are confronting our adversaries abroad; and we honor the men and women who left America's shores but did not live to be thanked as veterans. They will always be remembered by our country.
With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service men and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2006, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 5 through November 11, 2006, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.
GEORGE W. BUSH
# # #
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, October 31, 2006
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
UPDATE, November 10, 2006. Veterans Day 2006 FULL COVERAGE
Posted by sookietex at 3:30 PM || ||
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Monday, October 30, 2006
Annual B.C. Lee Lecture, Secretary Condoleezza Rice, FULL STREAMING VIDEO, The Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC. October 25, 2006, (1:30 p.m. EDT)
|Secretary Rice with Foreign Ministers Taro Aso and Ban Ki-moon after Dinner at Foreign Minister Ban's Residence.|
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. It's always wondertful to be here at Heritage. Thank you, Ed, for your leadership of this fine organization and thank you for your friendship over the years. I want to thank the leadership, the board, the staff of The Heritage Foundation for the hard work and also for putting this together. I know that doing these lecture series is not an easy thing and thanks to all who've done the hard work.
I'd like to extend my gratitude to members of the Diplomatic Corps that I see here. And there's a veteran who used to work for me. Kim Holmes is here. Kim, we still miss you at the State Department. You're welcome back anytime.
A PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible).
SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.) Thank you. And I want to thank you for inviting me to deliver the B. C. Lee Lecture here at Heritage this afternoon. This lecture is an opportunity to reflect on America's foreign policy toward the Asia Pacific region, a subject that has been very much on our minds lately. Today I want to speak with you about one of the most dynamic parts of Asia: Northeast Asia.
Among the major powers of this region, Japan, South Korea and China, along with the United States and Russia, both of whom are traditionally pacific nations, we see three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the world's three leading energy consumers and one of its largest energy suppliers. Together these five nations also account for over half of global GDP and one third of world trade. They encompass three of the world's five largest economies and three of the world's most important currencies.
Few parts of the world today are as promising and dynamic and strategically important as Northeast Asia. Yet, one of the main challenges is to build greater security in this region because historically Northeast Asia has never been fully at peace. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Korean Peninsula, which remains tragically divided more than 50 years after the Korean war. There is a truce, an armistice line, but not of peace. North Korea still amasses its forces along the demilitarized zone. It still does not formally recognize the existence of South Korea. And as you know, earlier this month North Korea tested a nuclear weapon after having this summer tested several missiles. The response to the provocative act of the nuclear test has been quick and remarkable. The very next morning I was on a conference call with four other foreign ministers and we moved rapidly to plot a common approach. That same week, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1718 and three days later I traveled to the region where we coordinated a way forward with our partners in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Moscow.
Just three years ago, it would have been nearly impossible to envision the major powers of Northeast Asia coming together so quickly and working so well together. And I would suggest to you, ladies and gentlemen, that this tremendous cooperation has been possible in large part because the United States has rallied the major powers of Northeast Asia around a regional, not a bilateral approach to the problem of North Korea.
Much attention has been paid to the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear test and rightly so. This afternoon, though, I would like to focus on our response and on the new patterns of cooperation that are emerging among the nations of Northeast Asia. First, however, let me step back a bit and offer some perspective on how we reached this point. For years North Korea publicly pledged not to build nuclear weapons. In 1985 it signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and in 1992 North Korea and South Korea agreed to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. But shortly thereafter, it came to light that North Korea was secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. To attempt to resolve this crisis, the United States reached a bilateral agreement with North Korea in 1994 designed to freeze and ultimately eliminate its nuclear weapons programs. This bilateral approach ultimately did not succeed.
As North Korea publicly froze its plutonium program, a program we believe that had already produced enough material for at least one weapon, the leaders in Pyongyang were secretly developing another program to build more weapons, this time using uranium enrichment and drawing support from the shadowy proliferation network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan. When confronted with these facts, North Korea initially acknowledged the existence of this program to their American counterparts. The government then unilaterally withdrew from the Nonproliferation Treaty and kicked international inspectors out of the country.
In response the United States created a diplomatic strategy to encourage North Korea to dismantle its nuclear programs completely, verifiably and irreversibly. To increase the chance of success, our strategy reflects the fundamental reality of the problem. North Korea's behavior poses a regional challenge and it must be addressed in a regional context. South Korea must be part of the solution as should Japan and China and Russia. These countries all share an interest in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. They all have leverage to help bring it about and they must all accept their share of the responsibility to help. This is the strategic logic of the six-party talks and in this regional framework the United States is playing a full and active role.
The goal of our diplomacy is and must be to create an international environment that presses North Korea to make better decisions than it has made and that holds it fully accountable for the decisions that it takes.
Let us be very clear, President Bush has said before, and I have said before, that the United States has no intention of attacking or invading North Korea. So the entire world should understand that North Korea's claims that our policies are hostile are simply excuses for the government's refusal to make constructive choices and to stick with them. To help elicit those constructive choices, the United States has a comprehensive policy. And on my trip last week we worked to advance it on a number of fronts.
First, we are strengthening our strategic relationships in Northeast Asia. I made it clear last week that the United States has both the will and the capability to meet the full range, and here I stress, the full range, of our security and deterrent commitments to allies like South Korea and Japan. We look to the day when all the countries of Northeast Asia are democratic and share our values. Today those countries are South Korea and Japan and it is very clear that our strongest and most reliable alliances are those that are indeed reinforced by common values.
Thus in Tokyo, I reaffirmed our commitment to the defense of Japan in accordance with all of our security arrangements, including the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1960. In Seoul, I reaffirmed that the United States is absolutely committed to our defense agreements in cooperation with South Korea and we are fully prepared to act on our obligations. In Seoul, I also joined my Korean and Japanese colleagues for a trilateral ministers meeting, the first of its kind in six years.
Ladies and gentlemen, our alliances are the strongest guarantee of peace and security in Northeast Asia. Under President Bush's leadership we are modernizing these alliances with both Japan and South Korea. And together, as allies, we are fully ready to meet the challenges and the threats of the 21st century.
My consultations in Tokyo and Seoul were a part of a broader discussion that continued in Beijing and Moscow. In both countries the main focus of our conversations was the same: How can we better secure our common interests both in Northeast Asia and beyond. And I found the leaders of China and Russia understanding of the importance of this work and willing to work toward this end in greater measure than ever before.
Second, as North Korea continues to threaten the community of nations, we are isolating North Korea from the benefits of participation in the international system. Unanimous passage of Resolution 1718 was an unprecedented step. It showed North Korea that the stakes of the game have fundamentally changed. For the first time ever the international community is requiring every country to deny North Korea access to major classes of military hardware as well as to the luxury goods which the North Korean regime uses to retain the loyalty of the elite.
Most importantly the resolution requires every member of state to cease all trade with North Korea in materials and technology that could be used for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and for ballistic missiles. Every nation is now obligated to take the necessary actions to enforce these legitimate demands and they are free to supplement the resolution's requirements with additional measures that they deem appropriate.
I was pleased by the serious commitment that I found among our friends and allies for the full and effective implementation of Resolution 1718. It was not my intention to dictate the domestic policies of other states; rather, I asked them to take stock of what they can do to implement this resolution fully. Japan has responded boldly and quickly to meet its obligations, including taking steps of its own like banning North Korean ships from its ports. China has pledged to fully and effectively implement Resolution 1718. So has Russia and so has South Korea. And for our part, the United States is now obligated by law to adopt additional sanctions on North Korea under national legislation, including the Glenn Amendment.
Third, the United States and our friends and allies are expanding measures to defend against North Korea's proliferation efforts. In every capital that I visited last week, we held extensive discussions on how we can best implement Resolution 1718 and one tool is the Proliferation Security Initiative, or PSI, a voluntary partnership among nations to prevent the spread by air, by sea and by land of weapons of mass destruction and related materials.
To meet our shared goal, countries work in concert, contributing as their capabilities and their laws allow, to develop a full range of tools -- diplomatic, economic, intelligence, law enforcement and military. Eighty nations are now formally members -- endorsed members -- of the PSI and there are even more who are cooperating.
The main focus of this initiative is to share information and to help partner countries build their capacities to better police their own territories and waters. In an international context, the goal is to act on good intelligence and to enforce international law. And on this front, PSI has scored some major counterproliferation victories, the most significant of which was intercepting a cargo for Libya carrying parts for weapons of mass destruction. That discovery helped us to convince Libya once and for all to give up its weapons of mass destruction.
We are also looking to expand missile defense cooperation with Japan and other countries because missile defense can of course devalue and degrade any capability that North Korea might have. And we are rallying our partners to adopt financial measures that target the banks and front companies that facilitate North Korea's weapons programs.
Most importantly, when I was in Asia, I repeated President Bush's statement that the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to any state or non-state entity would be considered a grave threat to the United States and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences of any such action. On this front, we are working with nations in the region to design a practical architecture for detection and screening of radioactive materials.
Fourth, the United States and our partners are joining together to preserve the continued vitality of the global regime to prevent and counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The nonproliferation regime is now under more strain than at any time since it was established over 40 years ago.
For our part, the United States is working to strengthen and renew this important pillar of international stability and to modernize it. We are bringing India from the outside to the inside of the nonproliferation regime for the first time, with a pioneering agreement between Prime Minister Singh and President Bush that gives India access to civil nuclear power and gives the International Atomic Energy Agency access to India's civil nuclear facilities.
We are rallying the nations of the world behind a UN Security Council resolution that requires all countries to criminalize proliferation activities. Along with Russia, we have launched a Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. The participants in that initiative will meet for the first time on Monday in Morocco.
We are also helping countries to acquire civil nuclear power without the need for enrichment and reprocessing facilities through the establishment, we believe, we hope, of an assured access to nuclear fuel and the development of new proliferation-resistant technologies under the President's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.
Now, to be sure, the greatest challenge to the nonproliferation regime comes from countries that violate their responsibilities under the Nonproliferation Treaty. The North Korean Government has been one such case. So is Iran. The Iranian regime is watching how the world responds to North Korea's behavior and it can now see that the international community will confront this threat. Iran can see that the path North Korea is choosing is not leading to more prestige and more prosperity or more security; it's leading to just the opposite. And the United Nations Security Council is now working on an Iran sanctions resolution. For the international community to be credible, it must pass a resolution now that holds Iran accountable for its defiance.
Finally, I joined with each of our friends and allies last week to reaffirm that a positive path remains open to North Korea through the six-party talks. All of us are willing to return to the talks without precondition and we all agreed that if those talks resume, Resolution 1718 would remain in force until North Korea has made progress on denuclearization.
Yet we can make progress in the six-party talks if North Korea is ready to return and return seriously to them. Now, sometimes there is a tendency to think that international problems can always be traced back to questions of what America should do. We see this thinking in the current debate about North Korea. There are those who say that North Korea is behaving the way that it is because of something that America either did or did not do. That misses the point. Over the course of many years, and throughout many diplomatic initiatives with North Korea, there has been one constant. It is North Korea's leaders, not those in Washington, who have made the fundamental choices, really the tragic choices about the condition of their country. Those choices have led to deprivation and oppression and despair for the North Korean people and the North Korean people deserve better.
It is also a great myth that North Korea's choices are colored by America's refusal to talk to them. The United States sent a delegation to Pyongyang in 2002. In the regional context of the six-party talks, we have no problem talking directly to North Korea, and we've done so repeatedly. In fact, Ambassador Chris Hill, our lead negotiator, had dinner with his North Korean counterpart last year. Finding ways to talk to North Korea is not the issue. The real issue is what North Korea has to say and then what it will do.
We also hear that North Korea wants security guarantees and benefits from the international community. Well, there is a path to that future. North Korea should live up to its own international agreements to denuclearize, and it should pursue policies that are not hostile to its neighbors and hostile to international principles and norms of behavior.
Everything North Korea says that it seeks is on the table in the six-party talks. And in the agreed six-party joint statement of September 19th, 2005, the United States and our partners clearly showed North Korea what it stands to gain: humanitarian and development aid, energy assistance, respect for sovereignty, commitment to the principles of the UN charter, a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, the promise of, and I quote, "Joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in northeast Asia." Every country except for North Korea has shown that it is prepared to implement its responsibilities fully and unconditionally under the September agreement.
Ladies and Gentlemen, when we launched our current policy toward North Korea three years ago, the prospect of joint efforts for lasting peace and stability in northeast Asia may have seemed quite distant. Today, however, the patterns of cooperation that we and our partners have begun to establish over the past three years are creating a new opportunity not just to envision a future of greater security in northeast Asia but to realize it together.
And let's be clear about one thing, the unprecedented cooperation that is emerging among the countries of northeast Asia and the leverage that that cooperation provides would have been far, far less likely to emerge had the United States adopted a bilateral approach to North Korea. The cooperation provides our best chance to get North Korea to make the right choice and dismantle its nuclear programs.
The United States has played a leading role to help stabilize northeast Asia since the end of World War II. Now we are helping to foster new and better security relationships among the key states engaged in the region. Recently we have witnessed hopeful events. Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Abe made historic visits to Beijing and Seoul where he eased anxieties and began to define expectations about the region's future. We applaud overtures like this and we stand ready to do whatever we can to support them.
This emerging pattern of cooperation among the major powers of Northeast Asia will help us to meet the challenges of the 21st century particularly the proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons and the means to deliver them. This cooperation is the outcome of a deliberate strategy that President Bush adopted to encourage all of the nations in the region to share the burdens as well as the benefits of our common security.
Habits of cooperation are growing. They can evolve and they can help Northeast Asia rise above old animosities and thereby form the foundation of a new and better future. Thank you very much.
MR. FEULNER: The Secretary has agreed to take a few questions. Please identify yourself. When you ask a question wait for the microphone to get to you.
SECRETARY RICE: I see a gentleman right here.
QUESTION: Daniel Oliver, Madame Secretary. Charles Krauthammer wrote a column that I'm sure you saw last week about asking why we shouldn't encourage Japan to become a nuclear power. I won't rehearse the arguments. You can do it for this audience better than I can, but I'll ask his question.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, thank you. Well, the first thing is -- and as I said to my colleagues in Asia -- the fact that this has even come up shows the potential instability that could be caused by a North Korean nuclear program and it's why we have to act on the North Korean program. But the Japanese have answered this question. Japanese Prime Minister Abe and the Foreign Secretary Aso have said that Japan does not intend to pursue an independent nuclear path.
I think it is extremely important that Japan knows that the United States is going to fully defend Japan and live up to the commitments that we have taken, beginning with the 1960 Mutual Defense Treaty; that we would use the full range of our capabilities to deter and defend attacks or threats against Japan. And I think that that gives Japan the confidence within the alliance to believe that its security needs can fully be met in that way without resort to an independent program.
It is also going to help the region to deal with the security concerns that arise from a North Korean nuclear program if we continue to get the kind of cooperation and the kind of commitment to Resolution 1718 that we are now seeing. Because the concern has to be in places that could be vulnerable to such threats that North Korea should have every incentive to abandon its nuclear weapons programs and that under any circumstance it should know that it could never benefit from them. And so I think we have the right answer and the right strategy to deal with the changed circumstances of a North Korean nuclear test. But it is really Japan that has spoken to its desire to pursue its security through its alliances rather than through another course, which I think everyone sees could have perhaps unforeseen consequences for a region that is already very difficult from a security environment.
Let's see, maybe go over to this side, the gentleman right over here.
QUESTION: Thank you. (Inaudible) a Korean newspaper. My understanding is that your government has until recently supported South Korea's engagement policy towards North Korea. But after North Korea's nuclear test and missile launch a lot of things have changed. So do you still support South Korean Government for -- is implementing Sunshine Policy? Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we've had discussions with our South Korean colleagues about the relationship with South Korea. Look, we understand that this is a complicated set of issues for South Korea: occupying the same Peninsula; North Korean forces in the hostile posture that they are; the desire to have families be able to contact one another. We fully understand all of the reasons and all of the impulses that lead to a desire for engagement with the North. We've only said, and it is up to South Korea to make a determination of what its policies are going to be. And I'll tell you, if ever there was good evidence that South Korea is a vibrant democracy, these issues are being debated in South Korea. The South Koreans don't need us to tell them what to do about their policies. There is a very active debate going on in South Korea about what South Korea's policy should be.
The only thing that we ask is that everyone remember, including South Korea, that the North Koreans have just set off a nuclear device in South Korea's backyard. That requires a strong response of the kind that Resolution 1718 is. It requires strong commitment by South Korea to the terms of that resolution and any activities need to be seen in the light of making certain to implement that resolution. And finally that the best answer ultimately on the Korean Peninsula is when we are able to see behavior in the North that does not create constant tension and friction on the Peninsula. And keeping those demands and those requirements in mind, I think the South Korean Government within its own democratic context will make choices about how to evaluate the future of its policies towards North Korea.
Maybe a couple more. Yes, right here.
QUESTION: Julie Donnelly, Channel News Asia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he has concerns about painting North Korea into a corner. Can you respond to those comments and say how confident you are about Russian staying onboard?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, I had extensive discussions with -- not just President Putin but the Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov, the Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and several other of their security officials. And I -- it is true that people are concerned that North Korea have a path out if it decides to choose that path out. And I think we have established that there is indeed a path, which is the six-party talks that all North Korea needs to do is return to those and return to them seriously. We don't need to have another desultory set of debates about, you know, when one gets energy resources or so forth. We need a commitment to denuclearization.
So there is a path out and I assured the Russians and others that the Resolution 1718 is not just for the sake of having a resolution nor is it for the sake of simply, as an end in itself, bringing pressure on the North Korean Government. The pressure on the North Korean Government is to both to show North Korea that its behavior in testing is unacceptable in the international community. That it will not be accepted as a nuclear state. And third that it ought to return to the table for talks. And so I don't read anything into concerns that you worry about North Korea being locked into a corner because everybody understands that they've got to implement the resolution.
I do think that it is important that we keep emphasizing that there is a path out should North Korea choose to take that path. I also know that there are those who say, well, perhaps the United States could do more to show the North Koreans that the United States is indeed serious about that path out. I'm here to say the United States is serious about that path out, but North Korea needs to be serious about it as well.
Maybe one more. Is there one other question? Yes, over here.
QUESTION: Josh Lynch with Senator Brownback. I was wondering if you could tell us how the United States position or relationship with Taiwan affects United States talks with North Korea, particularly how we negotiate with China and strategizing to put pressure on North Korea.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we've been very clear that U.S. policy on Taiwan is governed by our commitment to a "One China" policy and to the three communiqués. We've also been very clear that it is governed by our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, and that is that to help Taiwan defend itself. And I say to the Chinese all the time those are a package, they can't be separated out.
It means that we expect neither side -- Taiwan or China -- to engage in activities that would try to destabilize the status quo unilaterally to change the status quo. Now, in the context of Northeast Asia, it would obviously be a very good thing if the Chinese and Taiwan could engage in discussions about cross-straits issues. Sometimes those do take place in the economic context, but to lower the tensions and to keep any unforeseen or unwanted incidents from happening. It is a part of the picture of a broader, more secure Northeast Asia. But it is separate in that sense from the North Korean issue where we deal with China as the state holding the seat in the permanent -- as a permanent member of the Security Council and with certain powers and responsibilities then to act on behalf of UN Security Council resolutions.
I have time for one final question. I see a gentleman right in the middle.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. I would like to ask if you can please comment on Dr. ElBaradei made a comment yesterday, last night, on University of Maryland. He said with reliance on a nuclear weapon by some countries and resistant to bring Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force, the nuclear event test by North Korea was predictable.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I just met with Mohamed ElBaradei and what we talked about are ways to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, which clearly is under pressure. Now, I understand that there is under the nonproliferation regime an expectation that the nuclear states would begin to bring down their own nuclear capabilities, that that was a sort of understanding at the time that the Nonproliferation Treaty was signed. I would just ask people to look at, for instance, what's happening between the United States and Russia as a part of the Moscow Treaty as the number of deployed warheads is coming down dramatically after the Cold War.
But I don't really believe for one minute that North Korea is looking at the progress of the Moscow Treaty to decide whether or not to test the international system with a nuclear weapon. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that's what they're doing. I just don't think so.
I think that North Korea and other states that are trying to break out of the -- that have signed the Nonproliferation Treaty and are violating it are doing it for reasons to try and gain advantage, and they simply have to be -- it has to be demonstrated to them that they cannot gain advantage.
Similarly, we along with others are observing a moratorium on the -- of tests rather than signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty because it is the position of the United States and the position of the President that if you have nuclear weapons you have an obligation to make sure that they are safe and reliable, and while we currently see no reason to test, we don't know that in some -- at some point in the future, for safety and reliability, it might be a necessity.
But I think we have to be very careful, very careful, not to fall into a kind of parallelism here. North Korea is an isolated regime that is in a state of war with its neighbor on the Korean Peninsula that has carried out hostile policies toward its neighbors and that signed a set of agreements saying that it would not pursue nuclear weapons and in fact would dismantle the nuclear programs that it had. It has not done that. And so the obligation of the international community is to make sure that it does.
I think a nuclear test by North Korea was not inevitable. The North Koreans could have made other choices. They had other choices before them. But now that they've made that choice, they've provoked a reaction in the international system that has been quite strong. They have, I think, perhaps realized that that reaction has been quite strong and I think it is everybody's hope that they're going to now, having seen what the international community's reaction has been to their behavior, that they're going to take another course. And it's a good course. It is a course that has everything that North Korea has said that it is looking for from the international system in order to dismantle its nuclear weapons, and all that it lacks at this particular point in time is a North Korean commitment to undertake those obligations.
Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
2006/957, Released on October 25, 2006
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President Bush and NATO Secretary General Deliver Remarks in Oval Office, FULL STREAMING VIDEO, Oval Office, 10:53 A.M. EDT. (Scheffer Biography) In PDF Format
|President George W. Bush speaks to reporters as he sits with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in the Oval Office Friday, Oct. 27, 2006. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt.|
First, Mr. Secretary General, you've been a very strong leader. As a matter of fact, you've made NATO a values-based organization that is capable of dealing with the true threats of the 21st century. I appreciate your leadership. I particularly appreciate the fact that you have led the 26 nations of NATO into Afghanistan to help this young democracy. You know what I know, that the real challenge for the future is to help people of moderation and young democracies succeed in the face of threats and attacks by radicals and extremists who do not share our ideology, have kind of a dark vision of the world.
I appreciate the fact that you're reaching out to global partners, nations which share our value, but have not been considered a -- necessarily considered a part of NATO. I want to thank your view of making sure NATO continues to provide the opportunity for other nations to join NATO.
I'm looking forward to Riga. The Riga summit is a time for us to celebrate the great successes of this partnership. Mr. Secretary General and I will be there reminding our partners that we have a lot of work to be done in the noble cause of peace.
SECRETARY GENERAL de HOOP SCHEFFER: Mr. President, thank you very much, and thank you for giving me your time. I can echo your words. NATO is delivering security in the 21st century. And that means defending values, and that means defending values not only in Europe, but far away from NATO's traditional area. And the case in point, of course, is Afghanistan, where there was a regime which was grossly violating human rights, no women's rights, public executions. There we are trying to assist the Afghan government to establish democracy, to establish human rights, to establish those values.
And let me -- let me say that when, in those actions of NATO, of those brave NATO soldiers, civilians are killed, as happened two days ago, that's always a tragedy. That's a tragedy.
But let me convince you to look at the broader picture. They are against democracy. Girls did not go to school when the Taliban was running Afghanistan. Now they go to school. Now there is a precedence. Now there is a government. Civilian victims are a tragedy, but we are there in favor of democracy; they are there to destroy democracy, and they are there to destroy our values.
Mr. President, I'm looking forward to the Riga summit, where we'll see a 21st century NATO delivering security in many, many places of the world with 50,000 soldiers, including many Americans, on three continents. That is the challenge, but I can tell you that NATO is up to the challenge, NATO is delivering security, and NATO will continue to do this, indeed, with its presence, but also with global partners, because terrorism, proliferation, failed states and failing states are global threats we have to face and to counter on a global scale.
Mr. President, once again, thank you very much for being here.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir. I'll answer a couple of questions this morning. Jennifer.
Q Thank you, sir. What does it say to you that Iran is doubling its enrichment capacity?
THE PRESIDENT: It says to me that we must double our effort to work with the international community to persuade the Iranians that there is only isolation from the world if they continue working forward on such a program. And I've read the speculation about that that's what they may be doing, but whether they've doubled it or not, the idea of Iran having a nuclear weapon is unacceptable, and it's unacceptable to the United States and it's unacceptable to nations we're working with in the United Nations to send a common message.
Q Sir, do you agree with the Vice President that a dunk in the water is a "no brainer" when it comes to interrogating a terror suspect?
PRESIDENT BUSH: This country doesn't torture, we're not going to torture. We will interrogate people we pick up off the battlefield to determine whether or not they've got information that will be helpful to protect the country.
Q Mr. President, with the elections just about 10 days away, polls show that voters are more disenchanted with the Republican-led Congress than at any time since 1994, when the Democrats lost power. What explanation or answer do you have for people who feel that way?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I understand people here in Washington have already determined the outcome of the elections. As I said in my press conference the other day, I've seen it before where people start measuring the drapes in their new offices before the vote has been counted -- in other words, they're taking the people's vote for granted.
This election is going to be determined by how our candidates run locally. And I believe if they continue to emphasize the big issues -- keeping taxes low, and protecting the American people -- we'll win. And so we'll see how the outcome comes. I know there's a lot of speculation here in Washington, D.C., and there's a lot of fascination about listening to these pundits and people who are giving their opinions.
All I can tell you is what I see: I see enthusiasm amongst Republicans, I see candidates who are saying, vote for me, I will work to make sure America doesn't get attacked again. And I'm seeing candidates saying, I understand that if we run up your taxes like the Democrats do, it's going to hurt this economy, and so we'll keep your taxes low.
Thank you all very much.
END 10:59 A.M. EDT, For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, October 27, 2006
Technorati Tags: NATO Secretary General and President Bush or White House and Riga summit or Taliban and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer or VIDEO
Posted by sookietex at 3:16 PM || ||
President Bush Welcomes President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic to the White House, The Oval Office, 2:20 P.M. EDT. In Focus: Global Diplomacy
|President George W. Bush meets with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic in the Oval Office Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper.|
The President informed me that the economy of the Dominican Republic grew by 9 percent last year. And I want to congratulate you, Mr. President.
We talked about how to continue economic growth and vitality. It's in the interests of the United States that the Dominican Republic have a strong economy. We talked about the need for us to help with the multilateral institutions, to -- for them to work with this government to help with cash flows and cash demands so that this economy can continue its growth and strength.
We talked DR-CAFTA, and how important this piece of legislation is to the people of the Dominican Republic and to the people of the United States. And I assured the President that we will implement DR-CAFTA as quickly as possible, as soon as possible. And to that end, I have my trade minister, Ambassador Susan Schwab, here to make sure that we both heard the message of the President, that this was a very important piece of legislation and that we have committed -- our government has committed to working with you, Mr. President, to get this done as quickly as possible.
Y por fin, we talked about the need for us to work closely on drug trafficking. The United States of America must continue to work to diminish the demand for drugs, and we are. As well, we want to work with our partners in the hemisphere, particularly the Dominican Republic, to interdict the drugs and to help these countries be able to avoid and fight off the scourge of drugs, because there is a direct correlation between drugs and crime, and the more we can cut down on drug use and drug trafficking and drug supplies, the easier it will be for respective countries to protect their people.
Mr. President, I appreciate very much your presence here. I thank you for your leadership in the hemisphere. I appreciate the advice you have given me on how we can work together to make sure our own neighborhood is secure and peaceful and hopeful. Welcome.
PRESIDENT FERNANDEZ: (As translated.) I thank you very much, Mr. President. It's a pleasure to be here. And I want to thank President Bush for the warm welcome that he has given me, along with my delegation, here to the Oval Office of the White House.
As the President indicated, we have touched on a number of issues of mutual interest to our two countries. First of all, DR-CAFTA; its implementation, hopefully, will take place very soon. We are now in the final phase. This is a bill now before our own congress in the Dominican Republic. We are dealing with some minor legal amendments, and our two teams have been working very hard to obtain a speedy implementation of DR-CAFTA. President Bush and we have agreed to the need to accelerate this process to benefit both our countries.
Second, as President Bush indicated, we have also touched on the issues of disbursements by multilateral institutions. These are extremely important in order to help with the progress of countries like the Dominican Republic to establish confidence, to maintain the confidence in our countries, and also to help us sustain ability of our economies.
The Dominican Republic has agreements with these multilateral institutions, and we hope that they will be honored soon with regard to these disbursements. The sooner they are complied with the better it will be for us.
And third, of course, we have touched on a number of issues such as the issue of drug trafficking, as President Bush mentioned, the issue of crime, the issue of the good relations that we have had for so many years between the United States and the Dominican Republic, the issue of good governance, the issue of respect for human rights, and a number of other things.
It has been a very good meeting.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Gracias por su tiempo.
END 2:27 P.M. EDT
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Posted by sookietex at 2:06 PM || ||
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Researchers offer proof-of-concept for Altered Nuclear Transfer
Rudolf Jaenisch featured on NOVA scienceNOW. FULL STREAMING VIDEO. (Ed. Note - file is .MOV format, streaming in rtsp protocol may be "buggy" for some viewers, view in embedded viewer here), Video length: 8:00.
NOVA scienceNOW interview with Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch and MIT graduate student Alexander Meissner. This segment on embryonic stem cell research aired January 10, 2006. Using mice, the researchers successfully extracted stem cells from a genetically altered blastocyst that is unable to implant in a uterus. The 8-minute NOVA broadcast looks at ethical the reactions of a clergyman, an ethicist and a stem cell researcher. Press Release follows below.
|"The success of this procedure in no way precludes the need to pursue all forms of human embryonic stem cell research," says Jaenisch, who is also a professor of biology at MIT.|
The theory, called altered nuclear transfer (ANT), proposes that researchers first create genetically altered embryos that are unable to implant in a uterus, and then extract stem cells from these embryos. Because the embryos cannot implant, they are by definition not "potential" human lives. Some suggest that this would quell the protests of critics who claim that embryonic stem cell research necessitates the destruction of human life. Scientists and ethicists have debated the merits of this approach, but so far it has not been achieved.
"The purpose of our study was to provide a scientific basis for the ethical debate," says Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch, lead author on the paper that will be published in the October 16 online edition of the journal Nature. "Our work is the first proof-of-principle study to show that altered nuclear transfer not only works but is extremely efficient."
First proposed by William Hurlbut, Stanford University professor and member of the President's Council on Bioethics, ANT has been described as an ethical alternative to somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), also known as therapeutic cloning.
For SCNT, a donor nucleus, for example one taken from a skin cell, is implanted into a donor egg cell from which the nucleus had been removed. This egg cell is then tricked into thinking it has been fertilized. That causes it to grow into a blastocyst-a mass of about 100 cells-from which stem cells are removed. These embryonic stem cells can divide and replicate themselves indefinitely, and they can also form any type of tissue in the human body. However, to cull these stem cells, the blastocyst must be destroyed, which some critics insist is tantamount to destroying a human life.
The procedure theorized by Hurlbut is similar to SCNT, but with one crucial twist: Before the donor nucleus is transferred into the egg cell, its DNA is altered so that the resulting blastocyst has no chance of ever becoming a viable embryo. As a result, a "potential human being" is not destroyed once stem cells have been extracted.
Jaenisch—a firm supporter of all forms of human embryonic stem cell research—has shown that technical concerns about this approach can be overcome.
Jaenisch and Alexander Meissner, a graduate student in his lab, focused on a gene called Cdx2, which enables an embryo to grow a placenta. In order to create a blastocyst that cannot implant in a uterus, the researchers disabled Cdx2 in mouse cells.
They accomplished this with a technique called RNA interference, or RNAi. Here, short interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules are designed to target an individual gene and disrupt its ability to produce protein. In effect, the gene is shut off. Jaenisch and Meissner designed a particular form of siRNA that shut off this gene in the donor nucleus and then incorporated itself into all the cells comprising the blastocyst. As a result, all of the resulting mouse blastocysts were incapable of implantation.
However, once the stem cells had been extracted from the blastocysts, Cdx2 was still disabled in each of these new cells, something that needed to be repaired in order for these cells to be useful. To correct this, Meissner deleted the siRNA molecule by transferring a plasmid into each cell. (A plasmid is a unit of DNA that can replicate in a cell apart from the nucleus. Plasmids are usually found in bacteria, and they are a staple for recombinant DNA techniques.) The stem cells resulting from this procedure proved to be just as robust and versatile as stem cells procured in the more traditional fashion.
"The success of this procedure in no way precludes the need to pursue all forms of human embryonic stem cell research," says Jaenisch, who is also a professor of biology at MIT. "Human embryonic stem cells are extraordinarily complicated. If we are ever to realize their therapeutic potential, we must use all known tools and techniques in order to explore the mechanisms that give these cells such startling characteristics."
ANT, Jaenisch emphasizes, is a modification, but not an alternative, to nuclear transfer, since the approach requires additional manipulations of the donor cells. He hopes that this modification may help resolve some of the issues surrounding work with embryonic stem cells and allow federal funding.
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute.
Written by David Cameron. Contact: David Cameron email@example.com 617-324-0460 Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research To receive a copy of this paper, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nature, E-pub ahead of print
"Generation of nuclear transfer-derived pluripotent ES cells from cloned Cdx2-deficient blastocysts"
Authors: Alexander Meissner (1) and Rudolf Jaenisch (1)
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research is a nonprofit, independent research and educational institution. Wholly independent in its governance, finances and research programs, Whitehead shares a close affiliation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology through its faculty, who hold joint MIT appointments.
RELATED LINKS Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Altered Nuclear Transfer or Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and genetically altered or Rudolf Jaenisch and Bioethics or somatic cell nuclear transfer and therapeutic cloning or blastocyst and VIDEO
Posted by sookietex at 2:08 PM || ||
Saturday, October 28, 2006
October 28, 1842, Birth of Republican suffragist and abolitionist Anna Dickinson, “Joan of Arc of the Union cause,” whose campaign speeches in many states contributed to victories of Republican candidates.
October 29, 1864, African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth says of President Lincoln: “I never was treated by anyone with more kindness and cordiality than were shown to me by that great and good man”.
October 30, 1829, Birth of civil rights champion and U.S. Senator Roscoe Conkling (R-NY), instrumental in founding Republican Party in New York.
October 31, 1882, Death of African-American Republican, union organizer, and Texas state legislator George Ruby.
November 1, 1879, Death of U.S. Senator Zachariah Chandler (R-MI), Underground Railroad conductor and co-founder of the Republican Party.
November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan makes Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday.
November 3, 1868, Republican Ulysses Grant defeats Democrat Horatio Seymour in presidential election; Seymour had denounced Emancipation Proclamation.
November 4, 1986, Republican Kay Orr of Nebraska elected as state’s first woman governor; also first woman to defeat another woman in a gubernatorial race.
"With courage, born of success achieved in the past, with a keen sense of the responsibility which we shall continue to assume, we look forward to a future large with promise and hope. Seeking no favors because of our color, nor patronage because of our needs, we knock at the bar of justice, asking an equal chance.”
Mary Terrell, African-American Republican and co-founder of the NAACP
Technorati Tags: President Bush and Freedom Calendar or Booker T. Washington and Republicans or African-Americans and Brown v. Board of Education or Ronald Reagan and Earl Warren or Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass or 40 acres and a mule or Martin Luther King and Voting Rights Act of 1965 or Dred Scott
Posted by sookietex at 5:20 PM || ||
Presidential Podcast 10/28/06
Subscribe to Our Odeo or podnova Podcast Channel and receive the weekly Presidential Radio Address in English and Spanish with select State Department Briefings. Featuring real audio and full text transcripts, More content Sources added often so stay tuned.
Technorati Tags: President Bush and White House radio address or Election Day and the American Dream or Republican Congress and Ronald Reagan or income taxes and child tax credit or death tax and PODCAST
Posted by sookietex at 5:03 PM || ||
|bush radio address 10/28/06 full audio, text transcript. PODCAST and In Focus: Job & Economy, President's Radio Address|
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Election Day is around the corner, and one of the biggest issues at stake in this campaign is your taxes. Here is my philosophy: I believe that our economy grows and the American Dream reaches more citizens when you keep more of what you earn. With more money in your pocket, it is easier for families to afford a good education, it is easier for young people to afford the down payment on a home of their own, and it's easier for small business owners to go out and invest and create jobs.
So my administration and the Republican Congress enacted the largest tax relief since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. We cut taxes for every American who pays income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit. We reduced the marriage penalty. We cut taxes on small business. We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends to promote investment and jobs. And to reward family businesses and farmers for a lifetime of hard work and savings, we put the death tax on the path to extinction.
Now the results of these tax cuts are in. The tax cuts we passed have left more than a trillion dollars in the hands of American workers, families, and small businesses, and you have used that money to fuel a strong and growing economy. Last year, our economy grew faster than any other major industrialized nation. This week, we learned that our economy grew by 1.6 percent during the third quarter of this year. As we expected, this rate is slower than in previous quarters. Yet the evidence still points to a vibrant economy that is providing more jobs and better wages for our workers and helping reduce the federal deficit
Since August 2003, the American economy has created more than 6.6 million new jobs, including over 1.7 million jobs in the past 12 months alone. Real take-home wages are up by 2.2 percent over the past year, which means an extra $1,300 for the typical family of four with two wage earners. And the economic growth spurred by tax cuts has helped reduce the deficit. Tax revenues have soared as the economy has grown, allowing us to meet our goal of cutting the federal deficit in half -- three years ahead of schedule.
All these signs point to one conclusion: Cutting your taxes worked. Unfortunately, the Democrats are still determined to raise your taxes, and if they gain control of the Congress, they can do so without lifting a finger. Under current law, many of the tax cuts we passed have to be renewed by Congress or they will expire. In other words, if Congress fails to act, your taxes will automatically go up. If Democrats take control of the House, the committee in charge of all tax legislation would be chaired by a Democrat who recently said he "cannot think of one" of our tax cuts that he would extend. And if there's no legislation to renew and extend the tax cuts, every tax rate will go back up to its old, higher level.
Take just one example: If Democrats have their way, the child tax credit will be cut in half -- from $1,000 per child to just $500 per child. And think of what that means for your family. Next time you're having dinner at home, look around the table and multiply the number of children you have by $500. That's how much more you will be sending to Washington in taxes if Democrats take control of the Congress. If you have two children, that is an extra $1,000 the Democrats will add to your tax bill every year. If you have three children, that's an extra $1,500. If you have four children, that's an extra $2,000. That may not seem like a lot to Democrats in Washington, but for working families across America, that is real money.
The decision you make on Election Day will have a direct impact on America's economy and on your family budget. So this coming week I'll be traveling across America, and I'll be carrying this message: Whether you're a worker earning a paycheck, or a small business owner who's thinking about hiring more workers, or a family worried about gas prices or health care costs, the last thing you need now is a higher tax bill. To keep this economy growing and delivering prosperity to more Americans, we need leaders in Washington who understand the importance of letting you keep more of your money, and making the tax relief we delivered permanent.
Thank you for listening.
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, October 28, 2006
Technorati Tags: President Bush and White House radio address or Election Day and the American Dream or Republican Congress and Ronald Reagan or income taxes and child tax credit or death tax and PODCAST
Posted by sookietex at 4:46 PM || ||
|forre el audio de la dirección de radio 10/28/06 por completo, transcripción del texto. PODCAST|
Discurso Radial del Presidente.
Buenos Días. El Día de las Elecciones está a la vuelta de la esquina, y uno de los mayores temas en juego para esta campaña son sus impuestos. Aquí está mi filosofía: yo creo que nuestra economía crece y que el Sueño Americano alcanza a más ciudadanos cuando usted se queda con más de lo que gana. Con más dinero en el bolsillo, es más fácil para las familias pagar una buena educación, es más fácil para que los jóvenes puedan aportar el pago inicial para un hogar propio y es más fácil para los dueños de pequeñas empresas salir e invertir y crear empleos.
De modo que mi Administración y el Congreso Republicano aprobaron el alivio tributario más grande desde que Ronald Reagan estuvo en la Casa Blanca. Rebajamos los impuestos para todo estadounidense que paga impuestos sobre el ingreso. Doblamos el crédito tributario por hijo menor.
Disminuimos la penalidad por matrimonio. Cortamos los impuestos sobre las pequeñas empresas. Rebajamos los impuestos sobre las ganancias de capital y los dividendos a fin de promover las inversiones y los empleos. Y para recompensar a los negocios familiares y a los agricultores por una vida de trabajo duro y ahorros, pusimos al impuesto por defunción sobre el camino de la extinción.
Ahora tenemos los resultados de estos cortes tributarios. Los cortes tributarios que aprobamos han dejado más de un billón de dólares - trillones en inglés - en manos de los trabajadores, las familias y las pequeñas empresas estadounidenses - y ustedes han usado ese dinero para estimular a una economía fuerte y creciente. El año pasado nuestra economía creció más rápido que la de cualquier otro país industrializado principal. Esta semana aprendimos que nuestra economía creció por 1.6 por ciento durante el tercer trimestre de este año. Cómo esperábamos, esta tasa es menor a la de trimestres anteriores. Pero la evidencia aún indica una economía vibrante que está ofreciendo más empleos y mejores salarios para nuestros trabajadores - y ayudando a reducir el déficit federal.
Desde agosto de 2003, la economía estadounidense ha creado más de 6.6 millones de nuevos empleos - incluyendo más de 1.7 millones de empleos sólo en los últimos 12 meses. Los salarios reales después de impuestos han aumentado en un 2.2 por ciento sobre el año pasado - lo cual significa unos 1,300 dólares adicionales para la familia típica de cuatro personas con dos asalariados. Y el crecimiento económico impulsado por cortes tributarios ayudó a reducir el déficit. Los ingresos tributarios han subido de forma impresionante a medida que la economía ha crecido, lo que nos permitió lograr nuestra meta de reducir el déficit federal por la mitad - tres años antes de lo programado.
Todas estas señales llevan a una conclusión: el cortar sus impuestos funcionó. Desafortunadamente los Demócratas todavía están decididos a aumentar sus impuestos - y si ganan control del Congreso pueden hacerlo sin levantar un dedo. Bajo la ley actual, muchos de los cortes tributarios que nosotros aprobamos tienen que ser renovados por el Congreso o vencerán. En otras palabras, si el Congreso no actúa, sus impuestos aumentarán automáticamente. Si los Demócratas toman control de la Cámara de Representantes, el comité encargado de toda la legislación tributaria será presidido por un Demócrata que dijo recientemente que "no puede pensar en uno" de nuestros cortes tributarios que él extendería. Y si no hay legislación para renovar y extender los cortes tributarios, todas las tasas de impuestos volverán a sus antiguos niveles elevados.
Tome apenas un ejemplo: si los Demócratas se salen con la suya, el crédito tributario por hijo menor se cortará por la mitad - de 1,000 dólares por hijo a solo 500 dólares por hijo. Y piense lo que esto significa para su familia. La próxima vez que usted esté cenando en casa, mire alrededor de la mesa y multiplique el número de hijos que usted tiene por 500 dólares. Esa es la cantidad adicional que usted estará enviando a Washington como impuestos si los Demócratas toman control del Congreso. Si usted tiene dos hijos, esto será 1,000 dólares extra que los Demócratas sumarán a su planilla de impuestos cada año. Si usted tiene tres hijos, será 1,500 dólares más. Si usted tiene cuatro hijos, será 2,000 dólares extra. Esto quizá no les parezca mucho a los Demócratas en Washington - pero para las familias trabajadores en los Estados Unidos eso es dinero de verdad.
La decisión que usted tome el Día de las Elecciones tendrá un impacto directo sobre la economía de Estados Unidos - y sobre su presupuesto familiar. Por lo tanto esta semana venidera yo estaré viajando por todo Estados Unidos y llevaré este mensaje: Ya sea usted trabajador asalariado, o un dueño de pequeña empresa que está pensando contratar a más trabajadores, o una familia preocupada por los precios de la gasolina o los costos de cuidados de la salud, lo último que usted necesita ahora es una planilla de impuestos más elevada. Para que esta economía siga creciendo y trayendo prosperidad a más estadounidenses, necesitamos líderes en Washington que comprendan la importancia de dejarle a usted quedarse con una mayor porción de su dinero - y hacer permanente el alivio tributario que nosotros entregamos.
Gracias por escuchar.
Para su publicación inmediata, Oficina del Secretario de Prensa, 28 de octubre de 2006
Etiquetas De Technorati: Discurso Radial del Presidente a la Nación, y Presidente Bush, o Día de elección y el sueño americano, o Congreso republicano, o impuestos sobre la renta y crédito de impuesto del niño o pena de la unión y ganancias sobre el capital
Posted by sookietex at 3:36 PM || ||
Friday, October 27, 2006
Technorati Tags: Mark Kennedy and YouTube or VIDEO and Minnesota, or Amy Klobuchar and Democratic or Congress
Posted by sookietex at 5:27 PM || ||
|New McCaskill for Missouri TV ad featuring actor Michael J. Fox talking about Claire McCaskill and stem cell research. Go to ClaireOnline.com to find out more.|
|Talent Stance on Stem-Cell Research from NPR by Greg Allen||Missouri Republican Sen. Jim Talent, running for re-election, has taken his name off a bill to ban cloning. Anti-abortion organizations are fighting an amendment that would protect stem-cell research from being criminalized.|
|Paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.gopsenators.com. More at talentforsenate.com/|
|Jim Talent, Paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. gopsenators.com|
Posted by sookietex at 4:10 PM || ||
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The ad was produced by Scott Howell.
Technorati Tags: Harold Ford, Jr and Tennessee or U.S. Senate and Bob Corker, or National Republican Senatorial Committee and Democratic or Scott Howell
Posted by sookietex at 4:53 PM || ||
|NAP TIME - Olivia, a military working dog, sleeps next to her trainer inside a U.S. Army Stryker after a morning of vehicle searches in Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2006, in support of a joint mission.|
Technorati Tags: Pentagon and Secretary of Defense or Donald Rumsfeld and Mosul, Iraq, or U.S. Army Stryker and military or Military Working Dog
Posted by sookietex at 4:48 PM || ||
Pentagon Briefing 26 October, FULL STREAMING VIDEO, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaks with reporters at the Pentagon.
|TODAY'S PENTAGON BRIEFING - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gives his remarks during a press briefing at the Pentagon, Oct. 26, 2006. Rumsfeld talked about how the U.S. military continues to adapt|
Technorati Tags: Pentagon Briefing and Secretary of Defense or Donald Rumsfeld and Iraqi government, or coalition partners and military or VIDEO
Posted by sookietex at 4:16 PM || ||
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Harold Ford, Jr: What Kind of man is He?
Rep. Harold Ford (TN) "Difference" Campaign Ad - Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) is running for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat.09/12/2006: Washington, DC, TN: 00:31
Bob Corker (R) "Bridge" Campaign Ad - Bob Corker (R) is running for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat.08/26/2006: Washington, DC, TN: 00:31
Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) "My Partner" Campaign Ad - Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) is running for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat.10/09/2006: Washington, DC, TN: 00:31
Bob Corker (R) "No Wonder" Campaign Ad - Bob Corker (R) is running for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat.09/26/2006: Washington, DC, TN: 00:31
Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) "Silver Platter" Campaign Ad - Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) is running for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat.10/06/2006: Washington, DC, TN: 00:31
Technorati Tags: Harold Ford, Jr and Tennessee or U.S. Senate and Bob Corker, or National Republican Senatorial Committee and Democratic
Posted by sookietex at 5:49 PM || ||
|Press Conference by the President, FULL STREAMING VIDEO, The East Room, 10:31 A.M. EDT.|
Over the past three years I have often addressed the American people to explain developments in Iraq. Some of these developments were encouraging, such as the capture of Saddam Hussein, the elections in which 12 million Iraqis defied the terrorists and voted for a free future, and the demise of the brutal terrorist Zarqawi. Other developments were not encouraging, such as the bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad, the fact that we did not find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and the continued loss of some of America's finest sons and daughters.
Recently, American and Iraqi forces have launched some of the most aggressive operations on enemy forces in Baghdad since the war began. They've cleared neighborhoods of terrorists and death squads, and uncovered large caches of weapons, including sniper scopes and mortars and powerful bombs. There has been heavy fighting. Many enemy fighters have been killed or captured, and we've suffered casualties of our own. This month we've lost 93 American service members in Iraq, the most since October of 2005. During roughly the same period, more than 300 Iraqi security personnel have given their lives in battle. Iraqi civilians have suffered unspeakable violence at the hands of the terrorists, insurgents, illegal militias, armed groups, and criminals.
The events of the past month have been a serious concern to me, and a serious concern to the American people. Today I will explain how we're adapting our tactics to help the Iraqi government gain control of the security situation. I'll also explain why, despite the difficulties and bloodshed, it remains critical that America defeat the enemy in Iraq by helping the Iraqis build a free nation that can sustain itself and defend itself.
Our security at home depends on ensuring that Iraq is an ally in the war on terror and does not become a terrorist haven like Afghanistan under the Taliban. The enemy we face in Iraq has evolved over the past three years. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, a sophisticated and a violent insurgency took root. Early on this insurgency was made up of remnants of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, as well as criminals released by the regime. The insurgency was fueled by al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists, who focused most of their attention on high-profile attacks against coalition forces and international institutions.
We learned some key lessons from that early phase in the war. We saw how quickly al Qaeda and other extremist groups would come to Iraq to fight and try to drive us out. We overestimated the capability of the civil service in Iraq to continue to provide essential services to the Iraqi people. We did not expect the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard, to melt away in the way that it did in the phase of advancing coalition forces.
Despite these early setbacks, some very important progress was made, in the midst of an incredibly violent period. Iraqis formed an interim government that assumed sovereignty. The Iraqi people elected a transitional government, drafted and adopted the most progressive democratic constitution in the Arab world, braved the car bombs and assassins to choose a permanent government under that constitution, and slowly began to build a capable national army.
Al Qaeda and insurgents were unable to stop this progress. They tried to stand up to our forces in places like Fallujah, and they were routed. So they changed their tactics. In an intercepted letter to Osama bin Laden, the terrorist Zarqawi laid out his strategy to drag Iraq's Shia population into a sectarian war. To the credit of the Shia population, they resisted responding to the horrific violence against them for a long time.
Yet the persistent attacks, particularly last February's bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, one of Shia Islam's most holy shrines, eventually resulted in sectarian reprisals. The cycle of violence, in which al Qaeda insurgents attacked Shia civilians and Shia death squads retaliated against Sunnis, has sharply increased in recent months, particularly in Baghdad.
As the enemy shifts tactics, we are shifting our tactics, as well. Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions. Our mission is to help the elected government in Iraq defeat common enemies, to bring peace and stability to Iraq, and make our nation more secure. Our goals are unchanging. We are flexible in our methods to achieving those goals.
On the military side, our commanders on the ground are constantly adjusting our tactics to stay ahead of our enemies. We are refining our training strategy for the Iraqi security forces so we can help more of those forces take the lead in the fight, and provide them better equipment and fire power to be successful. We've increased the number of coalition advisors in the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior so they can better plan and execute security operations against the enemy.
We have changed our force structure so we can better respond to the conditions on the ground. For example, during the Iraqi elections, we increased our force levels to more than 150,000 troops to ensure people could vote. Most recently, we have moved additional coalition and Iraqi forces into Baghdad so they can help secure the city and reduce sectarian violence.
After some initial successes, our operations to secure Baghdad have encountered greater resistance. Some of the Iraqi security forces have performed below expectations. Many have performed well and are fighting bravely in some of Baghdad's toughest neighborhoods. Once again, American troops are performing superbly under very difficult conditions. Together, with the Iraqis, they've conducted hundreds of missions throughout Baghdad. They've rounded up or killed key insurgents and death squad leaders.
As we fight this enemy, we're working with the Iraqi government to perform the performance -- to improve the performance of their security forces, so they can regain control of the nation's capital, and eventually resume primary responsibility for their country's security.
A military solution alone will not stop violence. In the end, the Iraqi people and their government will have to make the difficult decisions necessary to solve these problems. So, in addition to refining our military tactics to defeat the enemy, we're also working to help the Iraqi government achieve a political solution that brings together Shia and Sunnis and Kurds and other ethnic and religious groups.
Yesterday, our Ambassador to Iraq, Zal Khalilzad laid out a three-step approach. First, we're working with political and religious leaders across Iraq, urging them to take steps to restrain their followers and stop sectarian violence.
Second, we're helping Iraqi leaders to complete work on a national compact to resolve the most difficult issues dividing their country. The new Iraqi government has condemned violence from all quarters and agreed to a schedule for resolving issues, such as disarming illegal militias and death squads, sharing oil revenues, amending the Iraqi constitution, and reforming the de-Baathification process.
Third, we're reaching out to Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan, and asking them to support the Iraqi government's efforts to persuade Sunni insurgents to lay down their arms and accept national reconciliation. The international community is also supporting the international compact that outlines the support that will be provided to Iraq as it moves forward with its own program of reform.
These are difficult tasks for any government. It is important for Americans to recognize that Prime Minister Maliki's unity government has been in office for just over five months. Think about that. This young government has to solve a host of problems created by decades of tyrannical rule. And they have to do it in the midst of raging conflict, against extremists from outside and inside the country who are doing everything they can to stop this government from succeeding.
We're pressing Iraq's leaders to take bold measures to save their country. We're making it clear that America's patient [sic] is not unlimited. Yet we also understand the difficult challenges Iraq's leaders face, and we will not put more pressure on the Iraqi government than it can bear. The way to succeed in Iraq is to help Iraq's government grow in strength and assume more control over its country as quickly as possible.
I know the American people understand the stakes in Iraq. They want to win. They will support the war as long as they see a path to victory. Americans can have confidence that we will prevail because thousands of smart, dedicated military and civilian personnel are risking their lives and are working around the clock to ensure our success. A distinguished independent panel of Republicans and Democrats, led by former Secretary of State Jim Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, is taking a fresh look at the situation in Iraq and will make recommendations to help achieve our goals. I welcome all these efforts. My administration will carefully consider any proposal that will help us achieve victory.
It's my responsibility to provide the American people with a candid assessment on the way forward. There is tough fighting ahead. The road to victory will not be easy. We should not expect a simple solution. The fact that the fighting is tough does not mean our efforts in Iraq are not worth it. To the contrary; the consequences in Iraq will have a decisive impact on the security of our country, because defeating the terrorists in Iraq is essential to turning back the cause of extremism in the Middle East. If we do not defeat the terrorists or extremists in Iraq, they will gain access to vast oil reserves, and use Iraq as a base to overthrow moderate governments across the broader Middle East. They will launch new attacks on America from this new safe haven. They will pursue their goal of a radical Islamic empire that stretches from Spain to Indonesia.
I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq. I'm not satisfied, either. And that is why we're taking new steps to help secure Baghdad, and constantly adjusting our tactics across the country to meet the changing threat. But we cannot allow our dissatisfaction to turn into disillusionment about our purpose in this war. We must not look at every success of the enemy as a mistake on our part, cause for an investigation, or a reason to call for our troops to come home. We must not fall prey to the sophisticated propaganda by the enemy, who is trying to undermine our confidence and make us believe that our presence in Iraq is the cause of all its problems
If I did not think our mission in Iraq was vital to America's security, I'd bring our troops home tomorrow. I met too many wives and husbands who have lost their partners in life, too many children who won't ever see their mom and dad again. I owe it to them and to the families who still have loved ones in harm's way to ensure that their sacrifices are not in vain.
Our country has faced adversity before during times of war. In past wars, we've lost young Americans who gave everything to protect our freedom and way of life. In this war, we've lost good men and women who've given their lives for a cause that is necessary and it is just. We mourn every loss, and we must gird ourselves for the sacrifices that are yet to come. America's men and women in uniform are the finest in the world. I'm awed by their strength and their character. As General Casey reported yesterday in Iraq, "the men and women of the Armed Forces... have never lost a battle in over three years in the war." Every American can take pride in our troops, and the vital work they are doing to protect us.
Our troops are fighting a war that will set the course for this new century. The outcome will determine the destiny of millions across the world. Defeating the terrorists and extremists is the challenge of our time and the calling of this generation. I'm confident this generation will answer that call and defeat an ideology that is bent on destroying America and all that we stand for.
And now I'll be glad to answer some of your questions. Terry.
Q Mr. President, the war in Iraq has lasted almost as long as World War II for the United States. And as you mentioned, October was the deadliest month for American forces this year -- in a year. Do you think we're winning, and why?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, this is a different kind of war than a war against the fascists in World War II. We were facing a nation state -- two nation states -- three nation states in World War II. We were able to find an enemy by locating its ships, or aircraft, or soldiers on the ground. This is a war against extremists and radicals who kill innocent people to achieve political objectives. It has a multiple of fronts.
Afghanistan was a front in this war against the terrorists. Iraq is now the central front in the war against the terrorists. This war is more than just finding people and bringing them to justice; this war is an ideological conflict between a radical ideology that can't stand freedom, and moderate, reasonable people that hope to live in a peaceful society.
And so it's going to take a long time, Terry. I am confident we will succeed. I am confident we'll succeed in Iraq. And the reason I'm confident we'll succeed in Iraq is because the Iraqis want to succeed in Iraq. The ultimate victory in Iraq, which is a government that can sustain itself, govern itself, and defend itself, depends upon the Iraqi citizens and the Iraqi government doing the hard work necessary to protect their country. And our job is to help them achieve that objective. As a matter of fact, my view is the only way we lose in Iraq is if we leave before the job is done.
And I'm confident we can succeed in the broader war on terror, this ideological conflict. I'm confident because I believe the power of liberty will defeat the ideology of hate every time, if given a chance. I believe that the radicals represent the few in the Middle East. I believe the majority of people want to live in a peaceful world. That's what I believe.
And I know it's incumbent upon our government and others who enjoy the blessings of liberty to help those moderates succeed because, otherwise, we're looking at the potential of this kind of world: a world in which radical forms of Islam compete for power; a world in which moderate governments get toppled by people willing to murder the innocent; a world in which oil reserves are controlled by radicals in order to extract blackmail from the West; a world in which Iran has a nuclear weapon. And if that were to occur, people would look back at this day and age and say, what happened to those people in 2006? How come they couldn't see the threat to a future generation of people?
Defeat will only come if the United States becomes isolationist and refuses to, one, protect ourselves, and, two, help those who desire to become -- to live in a moderate, peaceful world. And it's a hard struggle, no question about it. And it's a different struggle.
Q Are we winning?
THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely, we're winning. Al Qaeda is on the run. As a matter of fact, the mastermind, or the people who they think is the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks is in our custody. We've now got a procedure for this person to go on trial, to be held for his account. Most of al Qaeda that planned the attacks on September the 11th have been brought to justice.
Extremists have now played their hand; the world can clearly see their ambitions. You know, when a Palestinian state began to show progress, extremists attacked Israel to stop the advance of a Palestinian state. They can't stand democracies. Extremists and radicals want to undermine fragile democracy because it's a defeat for their way of life, their ideology.
People now understand the stakes. We're winning, and we will win, unless we leave before the job is done. And the crucial battle right now is Iraq. And as I said in my statement, I understand how tough it is, really tough. It's tough for a reason; because people understand the stakes of success in Iraq. And my point to the American people is, is that we're constantly adjusting our tactics to achieve victory.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Are you considering sending more U.S. troops to Iraq? What would be the justification for it? And how reliable is this new timetable of 12 to 18 months?
THE PRESIDENT: I will send more troops to Iraq if General Casey says, I need more troops in Iraq to achieve victory. And that's the way I've been running this war. I have great faith in General Casey. I have great faith in Ambassador Khalilzad. I trust our commanders on the ground to give the best advice about how to achieve victory. I want to remind you, victory is a government that can sustain itself, govern itself -- a country that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself, and serves as an ally in the war on terror -- which stands in stark contrast to a government that would be chaotic, that would be a safe haven for the enemy to launch attacks on us.
One way for the American people to understand what Iraq could look like is what Afghanistan looked like under the Taliban, a place where there was no freedom; a place where women were taken to the public square and beaten if they did not adhere to the strict, intolerant guidelines of the Taliban; a place where thousands trained to attack America and our allies. Afghanistan doesn't have nearly the resources that Iraq has. Imagine a safe haven for an enemy that ended up with the resources that it had.
It is -- and so this is a war where I say to our generals, do you have what it takes to win. Now, General Casey talked about part of our strategy, and part of the strategy is to give the Iraq government the tools necessary to protect itself, to defend itself. If you're able to defend yourself, you're more likely to be able to govern yourself, as well. But politics -- the political way forward and the military way forward must go hand in hand.
And what the General was saying yesterday is that there is a three-step process to enable the Iraqi forces to be able to help this government bring security. One was to train and equip. The goal is 325,000 troops; 137,000 military and the balance, police.
Second was to put the Iraqi security forces in the lead. Six of ten divisions now are in the lead in helping this government defend itself. The strategy has been to embed U.S. personnel, officers and non-com officers, into these forces to help them gain the confidence and the capacity to be effective when they're in the lead.
And the third step is for the Iraqi security forces to be able to operate independently. And this, perhaps, is going to be one of the most difficult aspects of having the Iraqis ready to go, because that means they have to be able to drive themselves, maintain their vehicles, provide logistics, have combat service support. And that's what General Casey was describing.
The key is that our commanders feel that there -- they have got enough flexibility to design the program to meet the conditions on the ground. You know, last spring, I thought for a period of time we'd be able to reduce our troop presence early next year. That's what I felt. But because we didn't have a fixed timetable, and because General Casey and General Abizaid and the other generals there understand that the way we're running this war is to give them flexibility, have the confidence necessary to come and make the right recommendations here in Washington, D.C., they decided that that wasn't going to happen. And so what he was describing to you was the way forward to make sure that the Iraqis are fully prepared to defend themselves.
Q What about the 12 to 18 month estimate?
THE PRESIDENT: It's a condition, a base estimate. And that's important for the American people to know. This notion about, you know, fixed timetable of withdrawal, in my judgment, is a -- means defeat. You can't leave until the job is done. Our mission is to get the job done as quickly as possible.
Let's see here -- David.
Q Mr. President, for several years you have been saying that America will stay the course in Iraq; you were committed to the policy. And now you say that, no, you're not saying, stay the course, that you're adapting to win, that you're showing flexibility. And as you mentioned, out of Baghdad we're now hearing about benchmarks and timetables from the Iraqi government, as relayed by American officials, to stop the sectarian violence.
In the past, Democrats and other critics of the war who talked about benchmarks and timetables were labeled as defeatists, defeat-o-crats, or people who wanted to cut and run. So why shouldn't the American people conclude that this is nothing from you other than semantic, rhetorical games and all politics two weeks before an election?
THE PRESIDENT: David, there is a significant difference between benchmarks for a government to achieve and a timetable for withdrawal. You're talking about -- when you're talking about the benchmarks, he's talking about the fact that we're working with the Iraqi government to have certain benchmarks to meet as a way to determine whether or not they're making the hard decisions necessary to achieve peace. I believe that's what you're referring to. And we're working with the Iraqi government to come up with benchmarks.
Listen, this is a sovereign government. It was elected by the people of Iraq. What we're asking them to do is to say, when do you think you're going to get this done, when can you get this done, so the people themselves in Iraq can see that the government is moving forward with a reconciliation plan and plans necessary to unify this government.
That is substantially different, David, from people saying, we want a time certain to get out of Iraq. As a matter of fact, the benchmarks will make it more likely we win. Withdrawing on an artificial timetable means we lose.
Now, I'm giving the speech -- you're asking me why I'm giving this speech today -- because there's -- I think I owe an explanation to the American people, and will continue to make explanations. The people need to know that we have a plan for victory. Like I said in my opening comments, I fully understand if the people think we don't have a plan for victory, they're not going to support the effort. And so I'll continue to speak out about our way forward.
Q Sir, you've called Iran part of the "axis of evil" and Syria a "state sponsor of terrorism." You said earlier today that your administration will consider any proposal that will help us achieve victory. So I'm wondering, if it's determined that Iran and Syria could help you achieve victory in Iraq, would you be willing to work with them?
THE PRESIDENT: Iran and Syria understand full well that the world expects them to help Iraq. We've made that very clear to them.
Let me talk about the Iranian issue. We've got a lot of issues with Iran. First is whether or not they will help this young democracy succeed. The second issue, of course, is whether or not they will help the Lebanese democracy succeed -- the Siniora government, which is -- a priority of this government is to help that Siniora government. The big issue right now is whether or not Iran will end up with a nuclear weapon. And so our issues with Iran are many. And our position is very clear to the Iranians: There is a better way forward for the government and the people than to be isolated.
And we will continue to work to make it clear to the Iranian government that all three accounts and the sponsor of terrorists will cause more isolation. We've got a very active diplomatic effort taking place. The Iranians know our position on Iraq, and they know it clearly. More importantly, they know the Iraqis' position relative to Iran. We're helping a sovereign government succeed. And the Iraqis have sent messages to the Iranians: To help us succeed, don't interfere in the internal affairs.
As to Syria, our message to Syria is consistent: Do not undermine the Siniora government in Lebanon; help us get back the -- help Israel get back the prisoner that was captured by Hamas; don't allow Hamas and Hezbollah to plot attacks against democracies in the Middle East; help inside of Iraq. They know our position, as well, Jessica.
Q May I just follow? James Baker has, himself, said that he believes the U.S. should work with Iran. So would you be willing to work with Iran in a way that allows some sort of negotiations in Iraq, even if they don't come to the table in the P-3 and P-5 negotiations?
THE PRESIDENT: Jessica, Iran has a chance to come to the table with the United States to discuss a variety of issues. And the way forward is one that I had made clear at previous press conferences, and that is, if they would verifiably stop their enrichment, the United States will be at the table with them. In the meantime, they understand our position, and they understand, more importantly, the Iraqi position about their interference inside their country.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Prime Minister Maliki apparently gave his own news conference this morning, where he seemed to be referring to Ambassador Khalilzad and General Casey yesterday, when he said, nobody has the right to set any timetables in Iraq -- and also, seemed to be upset about the raid in Sadr City, saying he wasn't consulted. And I believe the quote was, "It will not be repeated." Do you still have full, complete and total confidence in Prime Minister Maliki as a partner in Iraq? And what can you tell the American people about his ability to rein in the militias since he seems to derive much of his power from them?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. First, this is back to the question that David asked about benchmarks. You called it "timetables."
Q He did, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, he called it "timetables," excuse me. I think he was referring to the benchmarks that we're developing that show a way forward to the Iraqi people, and the American people for that matter, about how this unity government is going to solve problems and bring the people together. And if his point is, is that those benchmarks, or the way forward can't be imposed upon Iraq by an outside force, he's right. This is a sovereign government. But we're working closely with the government to be able to say, here's what's going to happen then, here's what we expect to happen now, here's what should be expected in the future.
Second part of your question?
Q I was wondering, first of all, he seemed to be pushing back with --
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, on the sectarian -- on the militias. I heard that, and I asked to see his complete transcript of this press conference, where he made it very clear that militias harm the stability of his country. Militias -- people out -- who operate outside the law will be dealt with. That's what the Prime Minister said in his press conference. The idea that we need to coordinate with him is a -- makes sense to me. And there's a lot of operations taking place, which means that sometimes communications may not be as good as they should be. And we'll continue to work very closely with the government to make sure that the communications are solid.
I do believe Prime Minister Maliki is the right man to achieve the goal in Iraq. He's got a hard job. He's been there for five months, a little over five months, and there's a lot of pressure on him, pressure from inside his country. He's got to deal with sectarian violence; he's got to deal with criminals; he's got to deal with al Qaeda -- all of whom are lethal. These are people that will kill. And he wants to achieve the same objective I want to achieve, and he's making tough decisions.
I'm impressed, for example, by the way he has got religious leaders, both Sunni and Shia, to start working together. I appreciate the fact that he has made a very clear statement on militias. And, by the way, death squad members are being brought to justice in this -- during these operations in Baghdad.
I speak to him quite frequently, and I remind him we're with him, so long as he continues to make tough decisions. That's what we expect. We expect that the Iraqi government will make the hard decisions necessary to unite the country and listen to the will of the 12 million people.
Let's see here. Yes, sir, Bret.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. North Korean leaders apparently today warned South Korea against joining international sanctions, saying South Korea would pay a high price if they did so. Are you still confident that South Korea and China will implement the full force of the U.N.-passed sanctions? And what happens if North Korea continues to thumb its nose at the world?
THE PRESIDENT: I believe that -- first of all, I've been briefed on this subject recently by the Secretary of State, who just came back from the Far East. She met with the Japanese, the South Koreans, the Chinese and the Russians. Her report is that all countries understand we must work closely together to solve this problem peacefully. And that means adhering to the latest United Nations Security Council resolution that was passed.
The leader of North Korea likes to threaten. In my judgment, what he's doing is just testing the will of the five countries that are working together to convince him there is a better way forward for his people. I don't know the exact words he used, but he is -- this is not the first time that he's issued threats. And our goal is to continue to remind our partners that when we work together, we're more likely to be able to achieve the objective, which is to solve this problem diplomatically. And so I would report to you the coalition remains firm, and we will continue to work to see to it that it does remain firm.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for taking questions today.
THE PRESIDENT: What was that?
Q Thank you for taking questions today.
THE PRESIDENT: Baker, I'm just happy to be able to do so, brother. (Laughter.) I can't tell you how joyful it is. (Laughter.)
Q When you first ran for President, sir, you talked about the importance of accountability. We learned from Bob Woodward's recent book that Secretary Card, on two occasions, suggested that you replace Secretary Rumsfeld, and both times you said, no. Given that the war in Iraq is not going as well as you want, and given that you're not satisfied as you just told us today, why hasn't anybody been held accountable? Should somebody be held accountable?
THE PRESIDENT: Peter, you're asking me why I believe Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a good job, I think, if I might decipher through the Washington code.
Q -- or someone else --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let's start with Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld. I've asked him to do some difficult tasks as the Secretary of Defense -- one, wage war in two different theaters of this war on terror, Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the same time, asked him to transform our military posture around the world and our military readiness here at home. In other words, the transformation effort into itself is a big project for any Secretary to handle. But to compound the job he has, he's got to do that and, at the same time, wage war. And I'm satisfied of how he's done all his jobs.
He is a smart, tough, capable administrator. As importantly, he understands that the best way to fight this war, whether it be in Iraq or anywhere else around the world, is to make sure our troops are ready, that morale is high, that we transform the nature of our military to meet the threats, and that we give our commanders on the ground the flexibility necessary to make the tactical changes to achieve victory.
This is a tough war in Iraq. I mean, it's a hard fight, no question about it. All you've got to do is turn on your TV. But I believe that the military strategy we have is going to work. That's what I believe, Peter. And so we've made changes throughout the war, we'll continue to make changes throughout the war. But the important thing is whether or not we have the right strategy and the tactics necessary to achieve that goal. And I believe we do.
Q And from the --
THE PRESIDENT: Wait a minute, let me say -- the ultimate accountability, Peter, rests with me. That's the ultimate -- you're asking about accountability, that's -- rests right here. It's what the 2004 campaign was about. If people want to -- if people are unhappy about it, look right to the President. I believe our generals are doing the job I asked them to do. They're competent, smart, capable men and women. And this country owes them a lot of gratitude and support.
Yes, now Dick, sorry.
Q Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: It was a clever little follow-up you slipped in there. Sorry, Gregory. I mean, look -- Gregory is still mad he didn't get the follow-up, but it's okay.
Q You've said, Mr. President, several times here this morning that the definition of failure in Iraq would be to leave before the job was done. But you also said that you have no intention of seeing our troops standing in the crossfire of a sectarian war within that country. With many observers on the ground saying that civil war in Iraq is as close as it's ever been, how do you reconcile those two statements? And what happens if a full-fledged civil war breaks out?
THE PRESIDENT: Dick, our job is to prevent the full-scale civil war from happening in the first place. It's one of the missions, is to work with the Maliki government to make sure that there is a political way forward that says to the people of Iraq, it's not worth it. Civil war is not worth the effort -- by them. That's the whole objective, is to help this government be able to defend itself and sustain itself, so that the 12 million people that voted -- they didn't vote for civil war, they voted to live under a constitution that was passed. And so we will work to prevent that from happening. I --
Q What about --
THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish. I view that this is a struggle between radicals and extremists who are trying to prevent there to be a democracy, for a variety of reasons. And it's in our interest that the forces of moderation prevail in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. A defeat there -- in other words, if we were to withdraw before the job is done, it would embolden extremists. They would say, you know, we were right about America in the first place, that America did not have the will necessary to do the hard work. That's precisely what Osama bin Laden has said, for example. A defeat there would make it easier for people to be able to recruit extremists and kids, to be able to use their tactics to destroy innocent life. A defeat there would dispirit people throughout the Middle East who wonder whether America is genuine in our commitment to moderation and democracy.
And I told you what the scenario, Dick, could look like, 20 or 30 years from now, if we leave before the job is done. It's a serious business. And that's why I say it's the call of this generation. And I understand how tough it is, see, but I also said in my remarks, just because the enemy has been able to make some progress doesn't mean we should leave. Quite the contrary; we ought to do everything we can to help prevent them from making progress. And that is what our strategy is.
Q What if there is a civil war?
THE PRESIDENT: You're asking me hypotheticals. Our job is to make sure there's not one, see. You been around here five-and-a-half years, you know I won't answer hypotheticals. Occasionally slip up, but --
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You talk about the U.S. government and the Iraqi government working closely together on benchmarks. I'm wondering, sir, why was Prime Minister Maliki not at the news conference yesterday with General Casey and Ambassador Khalilzad? Would that not have sent a strong message about there being a very close level of cooperation between the two governments?
THE PRESIDENT: Elaine, I have no idea why he wasn't there.
Q Was he invited, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: I have no idea. I'm not the scheduler of news conferences. I do know they work very closely together, and they've got a very close working relationship, and that's important.
Q May I ask you, sir, following up, when you say that you're not satisfied with the way things are going in Iraq, why should that not be interpreted by some to mean that you are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Maliki's performance?
THE PRESIDENT: Because I know Prime Minister Maliki, I know how hard his job is, and I understand that he is working to make the decisions necessary to bring this country together. And he's -- look, we'll push him, but we're not going to push him to the point where he can't achieve the objective. And we'll continue to work with him. He represents a government formed by the people of Iraq. It's a -- and he's got a tough job. I mean, think about what his job is like. He's got to deal with political factions. He's got to deal with the hatred that is left over from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein.
There's a lot of people still furious about what happened to them during Saddam Hussein's period. You can imagine that. What happens if your brother or sister had been assassinated by Saddam Hussein and his political party? You'd be -- you wouldn't be happy about it. Reconciliation is difficult in a society that had been divided and tortured by a tyrant.
And Prime Minister Maliki has got the difficult job of reconciling these grievances, and different political parties on top of that, plus dealing with violence. I've talked to him a lot. I like his spirit, I like his attitude. He's confident we can achieve the mission. He's not -- he's realistic about how difficult it is in Iraq.
It's in our government's interest that we help him succeed because he wants a unified country. And I believe we will succeed. I know we're not going to succeed, however, if we set artificial timetables for withdrawal, or we get out of there, or we say to the enemy, just keep fighting, we'll leave soon. That's not going to work. What will work is a strategy that's constantly -- tactics that constantly change to meet the enemy. And that's what I was describing in my speech, we're constantly adjusting. As the enemy changes, we change. War is not a -- this war, and other wars, they're not static. They're dynamic events. And we must adjust to meet those events, and we are.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Does the United States want to maintain permanent bases in Iraq? And I would follow that by asking, are you willing to renounce a claim on permanent bases in Iraq?
THE PRESIDENT: Jim, any decisions about permanency in Iraq will be made by the Iraqi government. And, frankly, it's not in much of a position to be thinking about what the world is going to look like five or 10 years from now. They are working to make sure that we succeed in the short-term. And they need our help. And that's where our focus is.
But remember, when you're talking about bases and troops, we're dealing with a sovereign government. Now, we entered into an agreement with the Karzai government. They weren't called permanent bases, but they were called arrangements that will help this government understand that there will be a U.S. presence so long as they want them there. And at the appropriate time, I'm confident we'll be willing to sit down and discuss the long-term security of Iraq. But right now we're discussing how to bring security to Baghdad, and what do we do in al Anbar province, where al Qaeda still uses violent methods to achieve political objectives.
You know, it's interesting, if you -- I'm sure people who watch your TV screens think the entire country is embroiled in sectarian conflict and that there's constant killing everywhere in Iraq. Well, if you listened to General Casey yesterday, 90 percent of the action takes place in five of the 18 provinces. And around Baghdad, it's limited to a 30-mile area. And the reason I bring that up is that while it seems to our American citizens that nothing normal is taking place -- and I can understand why, it's a brutal environment there, particularly that which is on our TV screens -- that there is farmers farming, there are small businesses growing, there's a currency that's relatively stable, there's an entrepreneurial class, there's commerce. General Abizaid was describing to me what it was like to go to Baghdad markets.
There's a lot of work to be done, don't get me wrong, but it is -- there are people living relatively normal lives who I believe -- strongly believe that they want to continue that normalcy, and it's up to Prime Minister Maliki to do everything he can to make the situation as secure as possible.
Ann. Sorry, Rutenberg, you're through.
Q Thank you, sir. Is the coming election a referendum on Iraq? Should it be?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the coming election is a referendum on these two things: which party has got the plan that will enable our economy continue -- to continue to grow, and which party has a plan to protect the American people. And Iraq is part of the security of the United States. If we succeed -- and when we succeed in Iraq, our country will be more secure. If we don't succeed in Iraq, the country is less secure.
The security of this country -- and look, I understand here in Washington, some people say we're not at war. I know that. They're just wrong in my opinion.
The enemy still wants to strike us. The enemy still wants to achieve safe haven from which to plot and plan. The enemy would like to have weapons of mass destruction in order to attack us. These are lethal, cold-blooded killers. And we must do everything we can to protect the American people, including questioning detainees, or listening to their phone calls from outside the country to inside the country. And there was -- as you know, there was some recent votes on that issue. And the Democrats voted against giving our professionals the skill -- the tools necessary to protect the American people.
I will repeat, like I've said to you often, I do not question their patriotism; I question whether or not they understand how dangerous this world is. And this is a big issue in the campaign. Security of the country is an issue, just like taxes are an issue. If you raise taxes, it will hurt the economy. If you don't extend the tax cuts, if you don't make them -- in other words, if you let the tax cuts expire, it will be a tax increase on the American people.
Take the child tax credit; if it is not made permanent, in other words, if it expires, and you got a family of four sitting around the breakfast table, the taxpayers can be sure that their taxes will go up by $2,000 -- $500 for that child, $500 for the one right there, $500 for this one, and $500 for that one. That is a tax increase. And taking $2,000 out of the pockets of the working people will make it harder to sustain economic growth.
So the two issues I see in the campaign can be boiled down to who best to protect this country, and who best to keep taxes low. That's what the referendum is about.
Let's see here -- David. Hold on for a minute. David.
Q Thank you, sir. You've long talked about the importance when the federal government is involved in an effort, spending money and resources, of measuring success, accountability, as Peter said. Now you've set some benchmarks on the Maliki government. You've said that you're expecting him to make tough decisions. Can you tell the American people how you plan to measure his success in reaching those benchmarks, and what happens if he doesn't hit those benchmarks?
THE PRESIDENT: David, the first objective is to develop benchmarks that the government agrees with and that we think are important. You can't -- it's really important for the American people to understand that to say, okay, these are the benchmarks you must live with, is not going to work nearly as effectively as if we have -- when we have buy-in from the government itself, the sovereign government of Iraq.
And so the step is to say to the Maliki government, which we're doing, let us work in concert to develop a series of benchmarks to achieve different objectives. And the purpose of that is to assure the Iraqi people that this unity government is going to work to -- for the improvement of the Iraqi people. In other words, it will be beneficial for the government to say to the Iraqi people, here is what we intend to do and here's when we intend to do it.
It will also be beneficial for the American people to be able to see that this Iraqi government is going to make the difficult decisions necessary to move forward, to achieve the goal. And that's what we're talking about when it comes to benchmarks. It's -- again, I repeat: One should not expect our government to impose these benchmarks on a sovereign government. You'd expect us to work closely with that government to come up with a way forward that the government feels comfortable with. And there's probably going to be some bones of contention during these discussions, but, nevertheless, we'll respect the fact that the Iraq government is sovereign, and they must respect the fact that we've got patience, but not unlimited patience.
Q What happens if that patience runs out?
THE PRESIDENT: See, that's that hypothetical Keil is trying to get me to answer. Why do we work to see to it that it doesn't work out -- run out? That's the whole objective. That's what positive people do. They say, we're going to put something in place and we'll work to achieve it.
Let's see here. Steven.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. With a Republican Congress, you failed to achieve three major goals of your second term: Social Security reform, a tax code overhaul, and a comprehensive immigration bill. Why shouldn't Americans give Democrats a chance to work with you on those issues, especially when divided government seemed to work in the late 1990s on the budget?
THE PRESIDENT: That's a tricky little question there. (Laughter.) First, I haven't given up on any of those issues. I've got two years left to achieve them. And I firmly believe it is more likely to achieve those three objectives with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate. And I believe I'll be working with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled Senate.
I understand here in Washington people have already determined the outcome of the election, like it's over even before the people actually start heading -- voting. But that's not what I see when I'm on the campaign trail. Yes, we've got some people dancing in the end zone here in Washington, D.C.; they've got them measuring their drapes; they're going over to the Capitol, and saying, my new office looks beautiful, I think I'm going to have this size drape there, or this color. But the American people are going to decide, and they're going to decide this race based upon who best to protect the American people and who best to keep the taxes low.
Secondly, I'll tell you what I see -- you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I see there's a lot of enthusiasm amongst the grassroots activists. Our people are going out there to man the phones and to put up the yard signs. You know, they're showing up when it comes time to -- these absentee votes. We're organized. We've got a fantastic grassroots organization to turn out the vote. This campaign has obviously got national implications to it, no question about it -- the Iraq war, the security of the country, economic vitality and growth. But each of these elections turn out to be local in their scope and in their character.
And we've got good candidates running hard. And we're going to win. Now, I know that defies conventional wisdom here. I'm not suggesting anybody in this august crowd has determined the outcome of the election already, but they're running profiles on who this person is going to be running this office, or this one that's going to be -- magazines have got all kinds of new stars emerging when they haven't won the votes yet.
And anyway, thanks for asking about the campaign. I'm enjoying it out there. I like campaigning. It's what guys like me do in order to get here. We campaign. We shake the hands, you know, and give the speeches. And Laura is campaigning, too. From my perspective, our people are ready to go out there and vote for -- vote our candidates back into power.
Let me see here, Michael Allen.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Your comment earlier that last spring you believed that troops would be able to come home early next year --
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q -- I wonder if you could talk to us about how you came to believe that, and over what period of time, or whether it was a single development because you realized that wasn't feasible.
THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, look, Mike, here's the way it works. I meet with our -- or talk to our generals all the time. And the security situation looked like at that point in time that beginning next year, we could reduce our troop presence. That's what we felt -- until the conditions on the ground changed. And when they changed, our generals changed their attitude. And when their attitude changed, my attitude changed.
Look, I want to get our troops home as fast as we can. But I do not want to leave before we achieve victory. And the best way to do that is to make sure we have a strategy that works, tactics that adjust to the enemy, and commanders that feel confident making recommendations to the Secretary and to the Commander-in-Chief. And that's how that happened. In other words, they're saying it looks like things are positive, things are stepping up. The security situation is -- looks like it could be this way. And then when it change, we changed. And that's important for the American people to know, that we're constantly changing tactics to meet the situation on the ground.
Q Excuse me --
THE PRESIDENT: No.
Q May I follow up?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you're taking Wolffe's time. Is this your question, Wolffe?
Q No, sir, it's not.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, okay.
Q But I yield.
THE PRESIDENT: Then it's your question.
Q Only for a moment.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q I just wanted to ask you quickly, sir, if you believe that Iraq will be able to defend, sustain and govern itself by the time you leave office?
THE PRESIDENT: Mike, I believe Iraq will be able to defend, govern and sustain itself; otherwise, I'd pull our troops out. See, you all got to understand that. And the parents of our troops must understand, that if I didn't believe we could succeed, and didn't believe it was necessary for the security of this country to succeed, I wouldn't have your loved ones there. That's what I want these parents to hear.
And that's a backhanded way of getting me to put a timetable. My answer is, we'll work as fast as we can get the job done.
Mark and then Richard.
Q Thank you, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: That way it will give you time to --
Q I understand why you would claim or assert that the Republicans will win the midterm elections. But if in your heart of hearts you really didn't think that, would you tell us so? (Laughter.) And are you resentful that some Republican candidates seem to be distancing themselves from you?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, no, I'm not resentful, nor am I resentful that a lot of Democrats are using my picture. All I ask is that they pick out a good one. (Laughter.) Make me look good, at least, on the picture.
Mark, the first part of your question, the serious part, if I thought we were going to lose, would I tell you -- we're not going to lose, in my heart of hearts. (Laughter.) No, again, I understand how -- look, I read the -- look at the newspapers around here. I can see why you would think that I'm concealing something in my heart of hearts. The race is over as far as a lot of the punditry goes. They've got it all figured out. And they just -- as I said, they're dancing in the end zone. They just haven't scored the touchdown, Mark, you know, there's a lot of time left. And these candidates are working hard out there. And my message to them is, keep talking about the security of the United States and keeping taxes low, and you'll come back here.
Last question, Richard.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Back in 2000, you campaigned around the country saying you wanted to usher in the responsibility era, to end the days when people said, if it feels good, do it, and if you've got a problem, blame somebody else.
THE PRESIDENT: Right.
Q Yet over the last several months, we've seen many members of your own party in Congress embroiled in one scandal or another and all too ready to blame somebody else, whether prosecutors, or Democrats, or even the media. So I'm wondering, why do you think it is so many people in your own party have failed to live up to the standards of the responsibility era?
THE PRESIDENT: If any person in any party fails to live up to high standards, they ought to be held to account, Richard. It's important for there to be trust in the halls of Congress and in the White House, and throughout government. People got to trust elected leaders in order for democracy to work to its fullest extent. And I fully expect people to be held to account if there's wrongdoing, just like I expect corporate executives to be held to account for wrongdoing; just like I expect people throughout our society to be held to account for wrongdoing.
People do have to take responsibility for the decisions they make in life. I take responsibility for the decisions I make. I also understand that those of us in positions of responsibility have the duty to bring honor to the offices we hold. People don't have to agree with somebody's opinion, there's all kinds of opinions here. But in order to make this country work, and to make democracy succeed, there's got to be high standards, and people must be held to account to achieve those standards.
I thank you for your time. See you on the campaign trail.
END 11:35 A.M. EDT
For Immediate Release, Office of the Press Secretary, October 25, 2006.
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