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Bush On Freedom Agenda

President George W. Bush says that the status quo that existed in the Middle East before the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and outside Washington "was dangerous and unacceptable":

"A generation of young people grew up with little hope to improve their lives, and many fell under the sway of radical extremism. The terrorist movement multiplied in strength, and resentment that had simmered for years boiled over into violence across the world."

Mr. Bush says that the way to defeat terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah and their extremist ideologies is to support the forces of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and beyond:

"The freedom agenda is based upon our deepest ideals and our vital interests. Americans believe that every person, of every religion, on every continent, has the right to determine his or her own destiny. We believe that freedom is a gift from an almighty God, beyond any power on Earth to take away. And we also know, by history and by logic, that promoting democracy is the surest way to build security. Democracies don't attack each other or threaten the peace. Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools - not weapons of mass destruction. Young people who have a say in their future are less likely to search for meaning in extremism. Citizens who can join a peaceful political party are less likely to join a terrorist organization."

The United States, says President Bush, is committed to advancing freedom and democracy as the alternatives to repression and radicalism. "We will take the side of democratic leaders and reformers across the Middle East," he says. "We will support the voices of tolerance and moderation in the Muslim world."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.