For Immediate Release
November 20, 2003
From remarks by President Bush, London, England, 11/19/03
"Peoples of the Middle East share a high civilization, a religion of personal responsibility, and a need for freedom as deep as our own. It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty; it is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it."
The United States and Great Britain share a mission in the world beyond the balance of power or the simple pursuit of interest. We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.
The peace and security of free nations now rests on three pillars: 1. International organizations must be equal to the challenges facing our world, from lifting up failing states to opposing proliferation. 2. Free nations must be willing, when the last resort arrives, to restrain aggression and evil by force. 3. Commitment to the global expansion of democracy, and the hope and progress it brings.
If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export. As we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance on the map will protect our lives and way of life.
If the greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution that has reached much of the world, the lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source.
We are told that Islam is somehow inconsistent with a democratic culture, yet more than half of the world's Muslims are today contributing citizens in democratic societies.
We will consistently challenge the enemies of reform and confront the allies of terror. We will expect a higher standard from our friends in the region, and we will meet our responsibilities in Afghanistan and in Iraq by finishing the work of democracy we have begun.
We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties, and liberate 25 million people, only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.
We will help the Iraqi people establish a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East. And by doing so, we will defend our people from danger.
As global powers, both the United States and England serve the cause of freedom in many ways, in many places: -By promoting development, and fighting famine and AIDS and other diseases, we're fulfilling our moral duties, as well as encouraging stability and building a firmer basis for democratic institutions. -By working for justice in Burma, in the Sudan and in Zimbabwe, we give hope to suffering people and improve the chances for stability and progress. -By extending the reach of trade we foster prosperity and the habits of liberty. -By advancing freedom in the greater Middle East, we help end a cycle of dictatorship and radicalism that brings millions of people to misery and brings danger to our own people.