The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


11 September 2002

Byliner: President George W. Bush on Securing Freedom's Triumph

(Op-ed column from The New York Times Wednesday, 09/11/02) (1200)
(This byliner by George W. Bush, President of the United States, first
appeared in the New York Times September 11 and is in the public
domain. No republication restrictions.)
(begin byliner)
Securing Freedom's Triumph
George W. Bush
Washington - The Sept. 11 attacks moved Americans to grief and horror
- and moved our nation to war. They revealed the cruelty of our
enemies, clarified grave threats to our country and demonstrated the
character and decency of our people. At a moment of great testing, the
spirit of men and women in New York City, at the Pentagon and aboard
Flight 93 became the spirit of our country. Tonight in New York, I
will be speaking of what our nation has lost, what we have discovered
about ourselves and what lies ahead.
The terrible illumination of these events has also brought new clarity
to America's role in the world. In great tragedy, we have also seen
great opportunities. We must have the wisdom and courage to seize
these opportunities.
America's greatest opportunity is to create a balance of world power
that favors human freedom. We will use our position of unparalleled
strength and influence to build an atmosphere of international order
and openness in which progress and liberty can flourish in many
nations. A peaceful world of growing freedom serves American long-term
interests, reflects enduring American ideals and unites America's
allies. We defend this peace by opposing and preventing violence by
terrorists and outlaw regimes. We preserve this peace by building good
relations among the world's great powers and we extend this peace by
encouraging free and open societies on every continent.
The defense of peace is a difficult struggle of uncertain duration.
America, along with our allies, is relentlessly pursuing terrorist
networks in every part of the world to disrupt their planning,
training and financing. With our allies, we must also confront the
growing threat of regimes that support terror, seek chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons, and build ballistic missiles. On this
issue, the consequences of inaction could be catastrophic. We must
deny terrorists and their allies the destructive means to match their
At the same time, we have the best opportunity in generations to build
a world where great powers cooperate in peace instead of continually
prepare for war. The 20th century, in particular, was dominated by a
series of destructive national rivalries that left battlefields and
graveyards across the earth. Competition between great nations is
inevitable, but armed conflict in our world is not. Sept. 11 revealed
more clearly than ever that the world's great powers stand on the same
side of a divide - united by common dangers of terrorist violence and
chaos, and moving toward common values.
The United States, Japan and our Pacific friends, our NATO allies and
now all of Europe share a deep commitment to human freedom. Russia is
now a nation in hopeful transition, a country reaching for a better
future based on democracy and the free market and an important partner
in the war on terror. Chinese leaders are discovering that economic
freedom is the only source of national wealth. In time, they will find
that social and political freedom is the only source of national
greatness. America will continue to encourage the advancement of
democracy and economic openness in both Russia and China because these
shared commitments bring true friendship and peace.
Common interests and values among the great powers are also the basis
for promoting peace and security around the globe. In the past,
great-power rivals took sides in difficult regional problems, making
divisions deeper and solutions more complicated and elusive. Today,
from the Middle East to South Asia, we are gathering broad
international coalitions to increase the pressure for peace. America
needs partners to preserve the peace, and we will work with every
nation that shares this noble goal.
As we preserve the peace, America also has an opportunity to extend
the benefits of freedom and progress to nations that lack them. We
seek a just peace where repression, resentment and poverty are
replaced with the hope of democracy, development, free markets and
free trade.
More than ever, we know that weak states, like Afghanistan, can pose a
great danger to the peace of the world. Poverty does not transform
poor people into terrorists and murderers. Yet poverty, corruption and
repression are a toxic combination in many societies, leading to weak
governments that are unable to enforce order or patrol their borders
and are vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels.
America is confronting global poverty. Free trade and free markets
have proved their ability to lift whole societies out of poverty - so
the United States is working with the entire global trading community
to build a world that trades in freedom and therefore grows in
prosperity. Through the Millennium Challenge Account, the United
States will deliver greater development assistance to poor nations
that govern justly, invest in their people and encourage economic
freedom. And we will continue to lead the world in efforts to reduce
the terrible toll of AIDS and other infectious diseases.
America will also take the side of brave men and women who advocate
human rights and democratic values, from Africa to Latin America, Asia
and the Islamic world. In our diplomatic efforts, development aid,
international broadcasting and educational assistance, the United
States will promote moderation, tolerance and the nonnegotiable
demands of human dignity - the rule of law, limits on the power of the
state, and respect for women, private property, free speech and equal
Terrorism has not only challenged the world, it has clarified some
fundamental values. Every nation now faces a choice between lawful
change and chaotic violence; between joyless conformity and an open,
creative society; and between the celebration of death in suicide and
murder and the defense of life and its dignity.
Many governments are being forced to reexamine their own tolerance for
fanaticism and their sponsorship of hateful propaganda. Even free
nations have been forced to reexamine the nature of their commitment
to freedom - to determine if this commitment is a reflection of
convention and culture or the universal demand of conscience and
America's people and its government are responding decisively to the
challenges of our changed world. We are committed to defending our
society against current and emerging threats. And we are determined to
stand for the values that gave our nation its birth. We believe that
freedom and respect for human rights are owed to every human being, in
every culture. We believe that the deliberate murder of innocent
civilians and the oppression of women are everywhere and always wrong.
And we refuse to ignore or appease the aggression and brutality of
evil men.
Throughout history, freedom has been threatened by war and terror; it
has been challenged by the clashing wills of powerful states and the
designs of tyrants; and it has been tested by widespread poverty and
disease. What has changed since Sept. 11 is our nation's appreciation
of the urgency of these issues - and the new opportunities we have for
progress. Today, humanity holds in its hands the opportunity to
further freedom's triumph over all its age-old foes. The United States
welcomes its responsibility to lead in this great mission.
(George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States.)
(end byliner)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

Join the mailing list