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Bush Speaks at Air Force Academy Graduation

Aired June 2, 2004 - 12:59   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. cracked Iran's secret code, and sources say this man told the mullahs. But who told him and why?
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Frank Buckley with the president at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado where the president is set to deliver the latest in a series of speeches on Iraq leading up to the handover of power in Iraq. We'll have the latest in a live report.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm David Mattingly in Redwood City, California, where a new picture of Scott Peterson emerges in the courtroom as the defense lays out its opening statements. I'll have that story.

PHILLIPS: From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Kyra Phillips. We'll also hear from Miles O'Brien, live in Chile. We'll hear why he's on assignment, what he's doing there.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield. It is June 2, 2004, and CNN's LIVE FROM... begins right now.

PHILLIPS: Prepared for graduation, preparing for the war on terror. Just minutes from now, the young men and women of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs will sit before the podium and listen to their commencement speaker, the president of the United States. CNN national correspondent Frank Buckley is there -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, as we say, today's speech is the latest in a series of speeches the president is delivering, leading up to the handover of power to the interim government in Iraq on June 30. Today, the president will compare post-war Iraq to post-World War II in Europe and Japan. Of course, today's speech bookended by the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington over the weekend and the commemoration of the D-Day landing in France coming up this weekend.

The president today will talk about the clash of ideologies in the world today, about spreading democracy in the Middle East. As the president put it, a free Iraq will be a game-changer in that region. The speech comes against the political backdrop of Senator John Kerry, his rival, also delivering a series of speeches on national security. Bush aides see the handover of power in Iraq a major pivot point, changing the U.S. dynamic there to one of occupying, and now becoming one of supporting the new interim Iraqi government starting June 30.

And politically, it's an opportunity for President Bush to counter what Senator John Kerry has been saying, that the president is a go-it-alone maverick in the international community, to one who is working with the international community. Of course, key to that, securing a new U.N. Security Council resolution in the days ahead -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: I'll tell you what, Frank, as we look at this live picture, you can feel the energy and you can feel the crowd getting excited, not only for the graduation, but also the speech. Frank, thanks so much. We'll check in with you later. We're also going to bring that commencement speech to you live as soon as the president steps up to the podium. Thanks, Frank.

WHITFIELD: A new blueprint for the new Iraq. The United Nations Security Council is mulling over a revised resolution by the U.S. and Britain. It puts the Iraqi army and police under control of the interim government. It also spells out how long multinational forces could be in Iraq. Some nations were worried the original version didn't give Iraqis enough power over their own affairs.

PHILLIPS: Did Iraqi exile leader Ahmed Chalabi spill spy secrets to Iran? Well, sources confirm to CNN that Chalabi told officials in Tehran that the United States had broken its intelligence codes and could read Iran's secret communications. Chalabi was a favorite of the White House leading up to the Iraq war, but has since fallen out of favor. Iran denies the reports and the FBI is trying to figure out who leaked the information to Chalabi in the first place.

WHITFIELD: Did Ahmed Chalabi betray the United States? And if he did, what are the possible implications now? CNN analyst Ken Pollack joins us from Washington with a closer look at the case.

Clearly, this happened right under the noses of the U.S., so can -- should the U.S. have watched Chalabi a bit closer, had a bit less trust of him?

KEN POLLACK, CNN ANALYST: I mean, think the answer is certainly yes, Fredricka, especially if the story is proven to be true. The fact of the matter is that we knew that Ahmed Chalabi had a relationship with the Iranians. He has had that relationship with the Iranians going back many, many years.

And in fact, when I was in government before 2001, we understood that Chalabi had a relationship with the Iranians and we assumed that anything that we told him could very easily find its way to the Iranians.

WHITFIELD: So if that was common knowledge, then, why and how would he be privy to such kind of secretive information by the U.S.?

POLLACK: Well, clearly someone made a big mistake. Now there is a story that the individual was drunk at the time. Obviously, that would suggest that he let his guard down. But it may also just have been someone who was somewhat naive, thought that Chalabi was more trustworthy than he was, thought he was more on our side than he turned out to be.

WHITFIELD: Is there a feeling that perhaps leaks like this may have transpired far longer ago than jut six weeks ago?

POLLACK: It's entirely possible. It's clear that there were many people within the administration who had a very close relationship with Ahmed Chalabi, considered hem a friend, considered him a very close ally. And if this kind of a revelation could take place, you can't put it past that there were other revelations of other secrets at other points in time.

WHITFIELD: So now what kind of legal recourse might the U.S. have? They have already stopped with the paychecks that they were sending to Chalabi. Might there be any kind of treason or espionage charges, anything like that, that could be expected?

POLLACK: You know, honestly, Fredricka, I'm not a lawyer, I don't know the details of that. So I can't comment on legal ramifications. As you pointed out, the U.S. has stopped its payment to Chalabi's group, which is important. The U.S. could go and seize the intelligence documents that he has been sitting on, which is why he was getting that money. Another clear repercussion was the president yesterday distancing himself from Chalabi very, very publicly. These are all the kind of actions that you would expect him to take to kind of put some distance between themselves and Ahmed Chalabi.

WHITFIELD: And not only that, did you also hear from the president that he and the administration are certainly distancing themselves from those selected in the interim government as well, this example might be made of that now strained relationship?

POLLACK: Sure, I think that one of the things that the administration is learning from the incident with Ahmed Chalabi is that too close an embrace with many of these Iraqis is not good for either us or them. That right now, our occupation of Iraq has soured so many Iraqis that being seen as being too close to the United States in some cases can be the kiss of death for them, and in other cases, if we get too close with certain Iraqis, it leads to this kind of leak, which can also be damaging for us.

WHITFIELD: And might this also add to a suspicion that any U.S. leaders may have of other Governing Council member that perhaps they may be re-investigating or looking a little closer at some of those members or those selected as interim government leaders?

POLLACK: Sure, and they certainly should. Anyone who had the same kind of relationship with U.S. officials that Ahmed Chalabi did, anyone who had the same kind of -- have ties with the Iranians or other groups who we may be suspicious of, ought to be under fairly close investigation. And what's more, I think the administration really needs to start policing its own troops in terms of other administration officials, getting the word out, saying to them, hey, you cannot talk to foreign nationals no matter how close they may be to the United States government about certain critical national security secrets.

WHITFIELD: Ken Pollack, thanks very much for joining us from Washington. POLLACK: Thank you, Fredricka.


PHILLIPS: Saudi Arabia says it's cracking down on terrorism by regulating a major source of its financing, private charity donations.

CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena has details of today's announcement.


KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Saudi government says it is dissolving its many charities into one entity, to be able to strictly control where the money is going. The country is also joining with the United States and asking the U.N. Security Council to help lock assets accused of backing terrorists groups, including al Qaeda.

The kingdom has been working with the United States to try to crack down on terror financing. Both U.S. and Saudi officials say that some of the money meant for charity has ended up funding terror.

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, ADVISER TO SAUDI CROWN PRINCE: The actions of al Qaeda that we see in the kingdom have grown more desperate. They have gone from targeting hard targets and high-value targets to targeting the innocent. But as they grow more desperate, our resolve grows stronger, as does our determination. And we have no doubt, God willing, that we will prevail over this evil.

ARENA: The Saudis donate at least $100 million a year to charities, according to Saudi officials. This new charity will be call the Saudi National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad. It will be a private entity with its own board which is subject to accounting controls and yearly audits. And this action, of course, comes in the wake of several new terror attacks against the kingdom.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: U.S. investigators have disclosed what they say is an al Qaeda terrorist application from an American citizen.

CNN's Brian Todd reports now.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a stunning narrative of Jose Padilla's four-year odyssey as an alleged terrorist, one account stands out. According to the deputy attorney general, the incident occurred in July of 2000, after Padilla allegedly made his way from Yemen to Afghanistan.

JAMES COMEY, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: He has admitted that there he completed an application to receive training at an al Qaeda camp, sponsored by the man he met in Yemen who helped him fill out the paperwork.

TODD: Paperwork, an application to join an al Qaeda training camp. The Justice Department says the FBI found the application in a binder that contained 100 other similar documents.

COMEY: Type-written, each with the title at the top "Mujahedin Identification Form/New Applicant Form."

TODD (on camera): To the casual observer, this is almost shocking in its officiality (ph). Does al Qaeda really have formal written applications?

(voice-over): Terrorism experts we spoke to say, don't think of this like an IBM application.

KEN ROBINSON, CNN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: There were byats (ph) that were sworn, there were oaths of allegiance which were written down and were sworn to Osama bin Laden and to others and for the affirmation of desire to do jihad.

TODD: Much of this documentation was recovered after the fall of Kandahar and Kabul early in the war on terror. Often, experts say, a prospective al Qaeda member would simply write down his desires, his philosophies on jihad so al Qaeda could gauge his level of commitment. They also might include certain skills they had. But experts say that type of structure and screening was more common in al Qaeda before September 11.

PETER BERGEN, AUTHOR, "HOLY WAR INC.": Al Qaeda, the organization, took a big hit after the fall of the Taliban. So it's not as organized as it was before.

TODD: As for an actual form, experts say that's also not inconsistent with a terrorist organization known for meticulous record-keeping.

ROBINSON: They have to deal with large numbers of people and large amounts of money. And the devil is in the details.

TODD: For his part, Padilla claims he never made a formal pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden and therefore was not a member of al Qaeda.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


PHILLIPS: Well, if you think your prescription is making you fat, you might be right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta with the scoop on what puts on the pounds and what you can do to change it.

Also ahead, it's our video of the day. Power out in Dallas. You can see why.

And we're live at the Peterson trial. Explosive details from the courtroom when LIVE FROM... continues. Also minutes away from the president of the United States giving a commencement address to the graduates of the Air Force Academy. We'll take it live as soon as he steps up to the podium.


WHITFIELD: Defense attorney Mark Geragos begins attacking the prosecution's case in Scott Peterson's murder trial. Peterson is accused of killing his pregnant wife and their unborn son. David Mattingly is in Redwood City, California, with the very latest on that -- David .

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, yesterday, the prosecution painted a very deceitful and suspicious picture of Scott Peterson. Well, right away today, defense attorney Mark Geragos got up in front of the jury and acknowledged that Scott Pete son was having an affair. He said, you can call him a cad, you can call his behavior boorish. But, he said, that they are not going to dispute that.

He reminded everyone that Scott Peterson is on trial for two murders. And he said that they will show them that there are some holes and problems in the evidence that is being presented against him.

Geragos has already told the jury that he plans to take them to the Berkeley Marina to show them where Scott Peterson put his boat in the water that day he went fishing. Geragos today describing Peterson as a life-long avid fisherman, an enthusiastic father-to-be, a caring husband, and cooperative, actually helping police in the early investigation.

So a very different characterization of Scott Peterson emerging in the courtroom today. In the courtroom, also, both families were gaining their front row seats. Yesterday was very difficult particularly for the Rocha family as the prosecution showed the court pictures -- autopsy pictures of Laci Peterson and her unborn child. It's possible we will see those pictures again today from the defense.

Scott Peterson's mother actually spoke briefly to reporters as she was going in today and said that they are all very upbeat and that Scott Peterson is doing well.



JACKIE PETERSON, SCOTT PETERSON'S MOTHER: He's doing well. He has been waiting for his day in court. And when this is done, then maybe they'll look for whatever did this, took Laci away from him.


MATTINGLY: Mark Geragos already promising the jury that they will present witnesses who will show that Scott Peterson was very upset the night that Laci was reported missing -- Fredricka. WHITFIELD: All right. And David, what about Scott Peterson's demeanor? What was that like in court?

MATTINGLY: Today, we've seen him come into the courtroom almost every day with the same kind of demeanor. He walks in with a spring in his step, he smiles at his family, and he sits down and listens to everything that's going on. Yesterday he turned his head as some photograph came up of him and Amber. He did not look at the autopsy photos. But today he is paying attention. And so far, we will see what happens as the day goes on.

WHITFIELD: David Mattingly in Redwood City, California, thanks very much -- Kyra.

Other news across America now, you might say last night's weather in Dallas, Texas, looked more like images in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow." Supercell thunderstorms pounded the area with lightning strikes, winds topping 80 miles per hour, torrential rain, and hail the size of tennis balls. Storms knocked out electricity in many areas and damaged several buildings and homes.

Streams of lava from the Kilauea volcano on the big island of Hawaii are pouring into the Pacific Ocean. The volcano has been erupting since January 1983. It's the first time in 11 months that lava has reached the water.

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones will try Saturday to become the first Triple Crown winner in 26 years. Smarty will be in post position nine, facing 2-5 odds at Belmont.

We want to take you live now to just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The president of the United States stepping up to the podium, he is the commencement speaker for graduates of 2004 from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Let's listen in.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secretary Roche and General Jumper, General Rosa, Attorney General Ashcroft, Congresswoman Heather Wilson, Air Force Academy graduate 1982, academy staff and faculty, distinguished guests, officers, cadets, members of the graduating class, and your families, thanks for the warm welcome. And thanks -- and thank you for the honor to visit the United States Air Force Academy on your 50th anniversary.


You've worked hard to get to this moment. You survived the beast, spent seven months eating your meals at attention, carried boulders from Cathedral Rock and endured countless hours in Jack's Valley.

In four years, you've been transformed from basics and smacks...


... to proud officers and airmen worthy of the degree and the commission you receive. Congratulations on a great achievement. (APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Your superintendent has made a positive difference in a short time. I thank him for helping to restore the academy's tradition of honor which applies to every man and woman without exception.


I thank the superb faculty for your high standards and dedication to preparing Air Force officers.

And I thank the parents here today for standing behind your sons and daughters as they step forward to serve America.


This is a week of remembrance for our country. On Saturday we dedicated the World War II Memorial in Washington in the company of veterans who fought and flew at places like Midway and Iwo Jima and Normandy.

This weekend I will go to France for the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of D-Day, at a place where the fate of millions turned on the courage of thousands.

In these events, we recall a time of peril and national unity and individual courage, we honor a generation of Americans who served this country and saved the liberty of the world.


On this day in 1944, General Eisenhower sat down at his headquarters in the English countryside and wrote out a message to the troops who would soon invade Normandy.

BUSH: "Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force," he wrote, "the eyes the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."

Each of you receiving a commission today in the United States military will also carry the hopes of free people everywhere.


As your generation assumes its own duties during a global conflict that will define your careers, you will be called upon to take brave action and serve with honor.

In some ways, this struggle we're in is unique. In other ways it resembles the great clashes of the last century between those who put their trust in tyrants and those who put their trust in liberty.

Our goal -- the goal of this generation is the same. We will secure our nation and defend the peace through the forward march of freedom. (APPLAUSE)

Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States. We will not forget that treachery and we will accept nothing less than victory over the enemy.


Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, the ideology of terrorism reaches across borders and seeks recruits in every country.

BUSH: So we're fighting these enemies wherever they hide across the Earth.

Like other totalitarian movements, the terrorists seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. So to the oppressed peoples everywhere we are offering the great alternative of human liberty.

Like enemies of the past, the terrorists underestimate the strength of free peoples. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent and with a few hard blows will collapse in weakness and in panic.

The enemy has learned that America is strong and determined, because of the steady resolve of our citizens and because of the skill and strength of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the United States Air Force.


And like the aggressive ideologies that rose up in the early 1900s, our enemies have clearly and proudly stated their intentions. Here are the words of al Qaeda's self-described military spokesman in Europe, on a tape claiming responsibility for the Madrid bombings.

He said, "We choose death, while you choose life. If you do not stop your injustices, more and more blood will flow, and these attacks will seem very small compared to what can occur, and what you call terrorism."

Here are the words of another al Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gaith (ph). Last year in an article published on an al Qaeda Web site, he said, quote, "We have the right to kill 4 million Americans, 2 million of them children and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.

BUSH: "Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons."

In all these threats we hear the echoes of other enemies in other times: that same swagger and demented logic of the fanatic.

Like their kind in the past, these murderers have left scars and suffering. And like their kind in the past, they will flame and fail and suffer defeat by free men and women.


The enemies of freedom are opposed by a great and growing alliance. Nations that won the Cold War, nations once behind an iron curtain, and nations on every continent see this threat clearly.

We're cooperating at every level of our military, law enforcement and intelligence to meet the danger. The war on terror is civilization's fight. And as in the struggles of the last century, civilized nations are waging this fight together.

The terrorists of our day are in some ways unlike the enemies of the past. The terrorist ideology has not yet taken control of a great power like Germany or the Soviet Union.

And so the terrorists have adopted a strategy different from the gathering of vast and standing armies. They seek instead to demoralize free nations with dramatic acts of murder. They seek to wear down our resolve and will by killing the innocent and spreading fear and anarchy.

BUSH: And they seek weapons of mass destruction so they can threaten or attack even the most powerful nations.

Fighting this kind of enemy is the complex mission that will require all your skill and resourcefulness.

Our enemies have no capital or nation-state to defend. They share a vision and operate as a network of dozens of violent extremist groups around the world, striking separately and in concert.

al Qaeda is the vanguard of these loosely affiliated groups and we estimate that over the years many thousands of recruits have passed through its training camps.

al Qaeda has been wounded by losing nearly two-thirds of its known leadership and most of its important sanctuaries, yet many of the terrorists it trained are still active in hidden cells or in other groups.

Home-grown extremists, incited by al Qaeda's example, are at work in many nations. And since September the 11th, we've seen terrorist violence in an arc from Morocco to Spain to Turkey to Russia to Uzbekistan to Pakistan to India to Thailand to Indonesia.

Yet the center of the conflict, the platform for their global expansion, the region they seek to remake in their image is the broader Middle East. Just as events in Europe determined the outcome of the Cold War, events in the Middle East will set the course of our current struggle.

If that region is abandoned to dictators and terrorists, it will be a constant source of violence and alarm, exporting killers of increasing destructive power to attack America and other free nations. If that region grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorist movement will lose its sponsors, lose its recruits and lose the festering grievances that keep terrorists in business.

The stakes of this struggle are high. The security and peace of our country are at stake. And success in this struggle is our only option.


BUSH: This is the great challenge of our time, the storm in which we fly.

History is once again witnessing a great clash.

This is not a clash of civilizations. The civilization of Islam, with its humane traditions of learning and tolerance, has no place for this violent sect of killers and aspiring tyrants.

This is not a clash of religions. The faith of Islam teaches moral responsibility that ennobles men and women and forbids the shedding of innocent blood.

Instead, this is a clash of political visions.

In the terrorist vision of the world, the Middle East must fall under the rule of radical governments, moderate Arab states must be overthrown, nonbelievers must be expelled from Muslim lands and the harshest practice of extremist rule must be universally enforced. In this vision, books are burned, terrorists are sheltered, women are whipped and children are schooled in hatred and murder and suicide.

Our vision is completely different. We believe that every person has a right to think and pray and live in obedience to God and conscience, not in frightened submission to despots.


We believe that societies find their greatness by encouraging the creative gifts of their people, not in controlling their lives and feeding their resentments. And we have confidence that people share this vision of dignity and freedom in every culture because liberty is not the invention of Western culture, liberty is the deepest need and hope of all humanity.


BUSH: The vast majority of men and women in Muslim societies reject the domination of extremists like Osama bin Laden. They're looking to the world's free nations to support them in their struggle against a violent minority who want to impose a future of darkness across the Middle East.

We will not abandon them to the designs of evil men. We will stand with the people of that region as they seek their future in freedom. (APPLAUSE)

We bring more than a vision to this conflict. We bring a strategy that will lead to victory. And that strategy has four commitments.

First, we are using every available tool to dismantle, disrupt and destroy terrorists and their organizations.

With all the skill of our law enforcement, all the stealth of our special forces and all the global reach of our air power we will strike the terrorists before they can strike our people. The best way to protect America is to stay on the offensive.


Secondly, we're denying terrorists places of sanctuary or support. The power of terrorists is multiplied when they have safe havens to gather and train recruits.

Terrorist havens are found within states that have difficulty controlling areas of their own territory, so we're helping governments like the Philippines and Kenya to enforce anti-terrorist laws through information sharing and joint training.

Terrorists also find support and safe haven within outlaw regimes, so I have set a clear doctrine that the sponsors of terror will be held equally accountable for the acts of terrorists.


BUSH: Regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan learned that providing support and sanctuary to terrorists carries with it enormous costs, while Libya has discovered that abandoning the pursuit of weapons of mass murder has opened a better path to relations with the free world.

Terrorists find their ultimate support and sanctuary when they gain control of governments and countries. We saw the terrible harm that terrorists did by taking effective control over the government of Afghanistan, a terrorist victory that led directly to the attacks of September the 11th. And terrorists have similar designs on Iraq, on Pakistan, on Saudi Arabia, and many other regional governments they regard as illegitimate.

We can only imagine the scale of terrorists' crimes, were they to gain control of states with weapons of mass murder or vast oil revenues.

So we will not retreat. We will prevent the emergence of terrorist-controlled states.

Third, we're using all the elements of our national power to deny terrorist the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons they seek. Because this global threat requires a global response, we're working to strengthen international institutions charged with opposing proliferation. BUSH: We're working with regional powers and international partners to confront the threats of North Korea and Iran. We've joined with 14 other nations in the Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict on sea, on land or in the air, shipments of weapons of mass destruction, components to build those weapons, and the means to deliver them.

Our country must never allow mass murderers to gain hold of weapons of mass destruction. We will lead the world and keep unrelenting pressure on the enemy.


Fourth and finally, we are denying the terrorists the ideological victories they seek by working for freedom and reform in the broader Middle East.

Fighting terror is not just a matter of killing or capturing terrorists. To stop the flow of recruits into terrorist movements, young people in the region must see a real and hopeful alternative, a society that rewards their talent and turns their energies to constructive purpose.

And here the vision of freedom has great advantages. Terrorists incite young men and women to strap bombs on their bodies and dedicate their deaths to the death of others. Free societies inspire young men and women to work and achieve and dedicate their lives to the life of their country.

And in the long run, I have great faith that the appeal of freedom and life is stronger than the lure of hatred and death.


Freedom's advance in the Middle East will have another, very practical effect.

BUSH: The terrorist movement feeds on the appearance of inevitability. It claims to rise on the currents of history, using past American withdrawals from Somalia and Beirut to sustain this myth and to gain new followers.

The success of free and stable governments in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere will shatter the myth and discredit the radicals.


And as the entire region sees the promise of freedom in its midst, the terrorist ideology will become more and more irrelevant until that day when it is viewed with contempt or ignored altogether.


For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability and much oppression, so I have changed this policy. In the short term, we will work with every government in the Middle East dedicated to destroying the terrorist networks. In the longer term, we will expect a higher standard of reform and democracy from our friends in the region.


Democracy and reform will make those nations stronger and more stable, and make the world more secure by undermining terrorism at its source.

Democratic institutions in the Middle East will not grow overnight. In America, they grew over generations. Yet the nations of the Middle East will find, as we have found, the only path to true progress is the path of freedom and justice and democracy.


BUSH: America is pursuing our forward strategy for freedom in the broader Middle East in many ways. Voices in that region are increasingly demanding reform and democratic change, so we're working with courageous leaders, like President Karzai of Afghanistan who is ushering in a new era of freedom for the Afghan people.

We're taking the side of reformers who are standing for human rights and political freedom, often at great personal risk.

We're encouraging economic opportunity and the rule of law and government reform and the expansion of liberty throughout the region.

And we're working toward the goal of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace.


Prime Minister Sharon's plan to remove all settlements from Gaza and several from the West Bank is a courageous step toward peace.


His decision provides a historic moment of opportunity to begin building a future Palestinian state. This initiative can stimulate progress toward peace by setting the parties back on the road map, the most reliable guide to ending the occupation that began in 1967.

This success will require reform-minded Palestinians to step forward and lead and meet their road map obligations. And the United States of America stands ready to help those dedicated to peace, those willing to fight violence, find a new state so we can realize peace in the greater Middle East.


BUSH: Some who call themselves realists question whether the spread of democracy in the Middle East should be any concern of ours. But the realists in this case have lost contact with a fundamental reality: America has always been less secure when freedom is in retreat; America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.


All our commitments in the Middle East, all of the four commitments of our strategy are now being tested in Iraq. We've removed a state sponsor of terror with a history of using weapons of mass destruction, and the whole world is better off with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison cell.


We now face al Qaeda associates, like the terrorist Zarqawi, who seek to hijack the future of that nation. We're fighting enemies who want us to retreat and leave Iraq to tyranny so they can claim an ideological victory over America. They would use that victory to gather new strength and take their violence directly to America and to our friends.

Yet our coalition is determined and the Iraqi people have made clear Iraq will remain in the camp of free nations.


BUSH: The Iraqi people are moving forward in clear, steady steps with our support to achieve democracy. Iraq now has a designated prime minister, Iyad Allawi, a respected Iraqi patriot once targeted by Saddam Hussein's assassins.

I spoke with the prime minister yesterday. He recognized the sacrifice of brave Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and he pledged that his country would be a friend and ally of America and peace.


Along with the president and two deputy presidents, Prime Minister Allawi will lead a government of 33 ministers, which take office immediately and begin preparing for the transfer of full sovereignty by June the 30th.

America and Great Britain are now working with the United Nations Security Council and Iraq's new leaders on a resolution that will endorse the sovereign government of Iraq and urge other nations to actively support it.

The Iraqi people are looking to us for help and we will provide it. Many fine civilian professionals are now working in that country, helping Iraqis to rebuild their infrastructure and build the institutions of a free country.

Along with the United Nations, we will help Iraq's new government to prepare for national elections by January 2005. This free election is what the terrorists in the country fear most. Free elections are exactly what they're going to see.

(APPLAUSE) Our military is performing with skill and courage, and our nation is proud of the United States military.


Many brave Iraqis have stepped forward to fight for their own freedom, and we're working closely with them to disband and destroy the illegal militia, to defeat the terrorists and to secure the safe arrival of Iraqi democracy.

BUSH: We're stepping up our efforts to train Iraqi security forces that will eventually defend the liberty of their own country.

At every stage of this process, before and after the transition to Iraqi sovereignty, the enemy is likely to be active and brutal. They know the stakes as well as we do.

But our coalition is prepared, our will is strong and neither Iraq's new leadership nor the United States will be intimidated by thugs and assassins.


As we fight the war on terror in Iraq and on other fronts, we must keep in mind the nature of the enemy. No act of America explains the terrorist violence and no concession of America could appease it.


The terrorists who attacked our country on September the 11th, 2001, were not protesting our policies. They were protesting our existence.

Some say that by fighting the terrorist abroad since September the 11th, we only stir up a hornets' nest. But the terrorist who struck that day were stirred up already.


If America were not fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere, what would these thousands of killers do? Suddenly begin leading productive lives of service and charity?

BUSH: Would the terrorists who beheaded an American on camera just be quiet, peaceful citizens if America had not liberated Iraq?

We're dealing here with killers who have made the death of Americans the calling of their lives. And America's made a decision about these terrorists: Instead of waiting for them to strike again in our midst, we will take the fight to the enemy.


I'm confident of our cause in Iraq, but the struggle we have entered will not end with the success in Iraq. Overcoming terrorism and bringing greater freedom to the nations of the Middle East is the work of decades.

To prevail, America will need the swift and able transformed military you will help to build and lead. America will need a generation of Arab linguists and experts on Middle Eastern history and culture. America will need improved intelligence capabilities to track threats and expose the plans of unseen enemies. Above all, America will need perseverance.

This conflict will take many turns with setbacks on the course to victory. Through it all, our confidence comes from one unshakable belief: We believe in Ronald Reagan's words that "the future belongs to the free."


BUSH: And we've seen the appeal of liberty with our own eyes. We've seen freedom firmly established in former enemies like Japan and Germany. We've seen freedom arrive on waves of unstoppable progress to nations in Latin America and Asia and Africa and Eastern Europe.

Now freedom is stirring in the Middle East and no one should bet against it.


In the years immediately after World War II ended, our nation faced more adversity and danger with the rise of imperial communism.

In 1947 communist forces were pressing a civil war in Greece and threatening Turkey. More than two years after the Nazi surrender, there was still starvation in Germany. Reconstruction seemed to be faltering, and the Marshall Plan had not yet begun.

In 1948, Berlin was blockaded on the orders of Joseph Stalin. In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon and communists in China won their revolution.

All this took places in the first four years of the Cold War. If that generation of Americans had lost its nerve, there would have been no long twilight struggle, only a long twilight.

But the United States and our allies kept faith with captive peoples and stayed true to the vision of a democratic Europe. And that perseverance gave all the world a lesson in the power of liberty.


BUSH: We are now about three years into the war against terrorism. We have overcome great challenges. We face many today and there are more ahead.

This is no time for impatience and self-defeating pessimism. These times demand the kind of courage and confidence that Americans have shown before.

(APPLAUSE) Our enemy can only succeed if we lose our will and faith in our own values.

And, ladies and gentlemen, our will is strong. We know our duty. By keeping our word and holding firm to our values, this generation will show the world the power of liberty once again.


For four years, you've trained and studied and worked for this moment, and now it's come. You're the ones who will defeat the enemies of freedom. Your country is depending on your courage and your dedication to duty. The eyes of the world are upon you.

You leave this place at an historic time and you enter the struggle ahead with the full confidence of your commander in chief. I thank each of you for accepting the hardships and high honor of service in the United States military, and I congratulate every member of the Rickenbacker class of 2004. May God bless you.


PHILLIPS: The president of the United States, commencement speaker for the graduating class 2004 of the United States Air Force Academy. Two standing ovations. One there at the end, one just a few minutes ago when he said the line, "You must take the fight to the enemy."


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