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11/12/03 - PROGRESSING TOWARD FREEDOM - 2003-11-12

The U.S. has committed an additional eighty-seven-billion dollars to the offensive against terrorism. The money will be used for military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as to assist the people of those countries with reconstruction and developing democratic institutions. The U.S. “investment in the future of Afghanistan and Iraq,” said President George W. Bush, “is the greatest commitment of its kind since the Marshall Plan” in Europe after the Second World War.

The U.S. and its friends and allies are engaged in a test of wills in the global war against terrorism. This war is being waged in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the al-Qaida terrorist network. President Bush says the war is also being fought in Iraq “against Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists who seek the return of tyranny and terror”:

“The strategy of our enemies –- whether al-Qaida, Baathist, Taleban, or others –- is to intimidate newly free men and women who are trying to establish democracy, and to cause America and our allies to flee our responsibilities.”

The U.S. is helping to train and equip a growing number of Afghans and Iraqis to defend and secure their freedom. But recent attacks against coalition forces, aid workers, and civilians show the cruelty of the enemy. “Their goal,” says President Bush, “is to halt and reverse all progress toward freedom in the Middle East, to reinstate permanently the rule of fear and oppression”:

“The strategy of America and our allies is equally clear. We are employing targeted and decisive force against the killers.... We’re helping the Iraqi and Afghan people build just and democratic governments. And we will meet our duties until the job is done.”

As President Bush says, “The establishment of a free Iraq and a free Afghanistan will be watershed events in the history of the Middle East, watershed events in the global democratic revolution that has already transformed Europe and Latin America and much of Africa and Asia.”