President George W. Bush says the United States and the American people have "enduring and vital interests" in the Middle East:
"Through ties of commerce and education and faith. Long before oil and gas were discovered in the Middle East, the region was a key source of trade. It is the home to three of the world's great religions. It remains a strategic crossroads for the world."
Mr. Bush says the future of the region is threatened by Islamic extremists who seek to impose a dark vision:
"A vision that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women, and children in the pursuit of political power."
Mr. Bush says that if the U.S. were to allow the forces of radicalism and extremism to drive it out of the region, the consequences would be dire:
"Extremists of all strains would be emboldened by the knowledge that they forced America to retreat. Terrorists could have more safe havens to conduct attacks on Americans and our friends and allies. Iran could conclude that we were weak – and could not stop them from gaining nuclear weapons. And once Iran had nuclear weapons, it would set off a nuclear arms race in the region."
There would be additional consequences, says Mr. Bush:
"Extremists would control a key part of the word's energy supply, could blackmail and sabotage the global economy. They could use billions of dollars of oil revenues to buy weapons and pursue their deadly ambitions. Our allies in the region would be under greater siege by the enemies of freedom. Early movements toward democracy in the region would be violently reversed."
"This scenario would be a disaster for the people of the Middle East, a danger to our friends and allies, and a direct threat to American peace and security," says President Bush. "This is what the extremists plan," he says, but "for the sake of our own security, we'll pursue our enemies, we'll persevere and we will prevail."