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Bush Says 3 Pillars Sustain March to Freedom, Justice

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2003 - President Bush said the peace and security of free nations rest on three pillars during a speech in London today.

"We will encourage the strength and effectiveness of international institutions, we will use force when necessary in defense of freedom and we will raise up an ideal of democracy in every part of the world," he said. "On these three pillars we will build the peace and security of all free nations in a time of danger."

The reason the world fell in to World War II was that the League of Nations was not up to the task, Bush said in spelling out the first pillar. Strong "international organizations must be equal to the challenges facing our world - from lifting up failing states to opposing proliferation," he said.

The United States believes in international institutions and alliances. The president said he will continue to work hard to make the United Nations what it is supposed to be: an effective instrument of collective security.

The United Nations has passed many resolutions on Iraq and terrorism. Bush said that is appropriate because "the global danger of terror demands a global response."

But, he said, "the credibility of the United Nations relies on keeping its word and acting when action is required. It's not enough to meet the dangers of the world with resolutions. We must meet those dangers with resolve."

The president said NATO remains a cornerstone of U.S.-European relations. He welcomed the increasing unity of Europe and said America and the European Union must continue to work together to advance security and justice.

The second pillar is based on the willingness of free nations to use force if needed. "In some cases, the measured use of force is all that protects us from a chaotic world ruled by force," Bush said.

The president said that in all recent cases where nations used force, the actions were preceded by negotiations, diplomatic initiatives and ultimatums. "In Iraq the dictator was given chances year after year to account for his weapons programs and lift the sanctions on his people," he said. "The resolutions he defied have been enforced.

"Who will say that Iraq was better off when Saddam Hussein was strutting and killing or that the world was safer when he held power?" Bush asked.

The use of force to stop the depredations of the Taliban in Afghanistan and ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia are other examples of the necessity to back negotiations with an iron hand, the president said. "Let us never forget how Europe's unity was achieved: by Allied armies of liberation and NATO armies of defense," he said. "Let us never forget, beyond Europe's borders in a world where oppression and violence are very real, that liberation is still a moral goal and freedom and security still need defenders."

The third pillar, the global expansion of democracy, relies on "the hope and progress it brings as the alternative to instability and hatred and terror," Bush said.

Democracies cannot rely on military power to assure long-term security, he stated. Lasting peace must be the choice of the people.

The president said fostering democracy in places like Burma, Sudan and Zimbabwe is important. But it is in the Middle East where democracy may have the biggest payout.

"The stakes in that region could not be higher," he said. "If the Middle East remains a region where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place or stagnation and anger and violence for export. As we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance will protect our lives and way of life.

But if the "greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution," Bush noted, the lives of millions of people will be better "and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source."

He scoffed at those pundits who plead realism when they say Islam is inconsistent with a democratic culture. He said more than half of the world's Muslims are contributing citizens in democratic societies.

"It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited for liberty," the president said. "It is pessimism and condescension, and we should have no part of it."

Bush said that the United States and Great Britain have, in the past, "been willing to make a bargain to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability." Those decisions did not make for a more stable world. They ultimately delayed the triumph of democracy in many parts of the world.

"No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient," Bush said. "Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found."

The coalition must finish the job of democracy in Iraq now under way, Bush said. People have disagreed over the need for military action in Iraq, but "whatever has come before, we now have only two options: to keep our word or to break our word."

He said the failure of democracy in Iraq would throw its people back into misery and turn that country over to terrorists. "Democracy will succeed in Iraq because our will is firm, our word is good, and the Iraqi people will not surrender their freedom," he said.

Bush said that much progress has already been made in Iraq, but acknowledged the path ahead is tough. Terrorists view a possibility of a flourishing democracy in Iraq with trepidation. "Terrorists view rise of democracy in Iraq as a powerful threat to their ambitions. They are correct," he pointed out.

"They believe their acts or terror against our coalition, against aid workers and against innocent Iraqis will make us recoil and retreat. In this they are mistaken."

Bush said the coalition "did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost in casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins."

The president said there are great objectives ahead for the United States and the United Kingdom. He noted that the two countries are united by values. Liberty, freedom and justice form the core of these values and the two nations must make those the basis for dealings with the world. They share a mission in the world beyond the balance of power or the simple pursuit of interest, Bush noted.

"We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings," he said. "Together our nations are standing and sacrificing for this high goal in a distant land at this very hour. America honors the idealism and the bravery of the sons and daughters of Britain."

The threat posed by global terrorism cannot be ignored, Bush said. Besides the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed 67 British subjects, the attacks in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca Bombay, Mombasa, Najaf, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Baghdad and Istanbul are part of a global campaign by terrorist networks to intimidate and demoralize all who oppose them.

"These terrorists target the innocent and they kill thousands," he said. "And they would, if they gain the weapons they seek, kill by the millions and not be finished."

Bush said terrorist states and networks with weapons of mass destruction are the greatest threats to freedom-loving people. "The evil is in plain sight," he said. "The danger only increases with denial. Grave responsibilities fall once again to the democracies. We will face these threats with open eyes, and we will defeat them."

The speech was sponsored by the Royal United Services Institute and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.