Here is the complete transcript of President Bush's Oval Office speech on the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks Monday. (With some annotations of my own.)
Five years ago, this date -- September the 11th -- was seared into America's memory. Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history. They murdered people of all colors, creeds and nationalities, and made war upon the entire free world. (Actually just on America, and via their rhetoric, on Saudi Arabia and Israel.)
Since that day, America and her allies have taken the offensive in a war unlike any we have fought before.
Today we are safer (not even close)
, but we are not yet safe.
On this solemn night, I have asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East that holds the key to peace for America and the world.
On 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil.
Yet, on that awful day, we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion and responding with extraordinary acts of courage.
We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers, and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love.
We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke and ran back in to answer cries for help.
On this day, we remember the innocent who've lost their lives, and we pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that others might live.
For many of our citizens, the wounds of that morning are still fresh.
I have met firefighters and police officers who choke up at the memory of fallen comrades.
I have stood with families gathered on a grassy field in Pennsylvania, who take bittersweet pride in loved ones who refused to be victims and gave America our first victory in the war on terror.(Can't argue with that - the "War On Terror" may deserve its quotation marks, but the Flight 93 revolt was precisely that.)
I've sat beside young mothers with children who are now 5 years old and still long for the daddies who will never cradle them in their arms.
Out of this suffering, we resolve to honor every man and woman lost. And we seek their lasting memorial in a safer and more hopeful world.
Since the horror of 9/11, we've learned a great deal about the enemy. We have learned that they are evil and kill without mercy, but not without purpose.
We have learned that they form a global network of extremists who are driven by a perverted vision of Islam: a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. (Er, no, that would be the American Christian Right.)
If he's looking for a global network no wonder he rarely catches anyone: has he really not got the picture yet? That there are thousands and thousand of newly-radicalised - by Bush - Muslims who come up with terrorist ideas independently? And who, if they have the right contacts, which mostly they can get. will get in touch with the three or four actual al-Qaeda members who simply provide funds and put them in touch with other people they know who can help. Thinking of al-Qaeda as a multinational like Shell is the wrong model: it's a franchise like McDonalds.
And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, (ah, that would be Iraq - though only since the American invasion) and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations. (Do civilised nations invade countries without reason?)
The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation. (OMG it's the "clash of civilisations" rubbish. I thought he'd got over that.)
Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. (Oh, I don't know: the US got its ass pretty well kicked in Vietnam, which always seemed to me to be a "test".)
We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people.
And we know that, if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. (Pakistan comprises mostly Muslims who loathe America, which is why bin Laden lives there. Have they used their nuclear - sorry, 'nucular' - weapons against the USA? Or anyone else? Even India, which they loathe even more?)
We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes.
America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I.
But the war is not over, and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.
If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. (The only nuclear weapons in the Middle East are in Israel. The only state in the Middle East which has done any over-running of anywhere is Israel. So is GWB going to declare war on Israel? Or is this all total BS?) We are in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world.
For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy; it changed the way we look at the world. (No, it was a tragedy. The rest is bollocks.)
On September the 11th, we resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor or support them.
So we helped drive the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. (Yeah, that worked so well. Pity you got distracted by Iraq before you did the job properly.) We put al Qaeda on the run and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks, including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. (Um, wasn't there a bin Laden chap?)
He and other suspected terrorists have been questioned (tortured) by the Central Intelligence Agency, and they have provided valuable information that has helped stop attacks in America and across the world. (Because terrorist attacks have SO reduced in number since the "war on terror" began. Oh, wait, the "across the world was just for show and not intended to eb taken seriously.)
Now these men have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay (a torture camp illegally established and maintained by force on Cuban sovereign territory) so they can be held to account for their actions (so they can disappear from view to be tortured or murdered at will with no legal process or concern for human rights whatsoever).
Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding (because you've been pissing about in Iraq instead of hunting them) . Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice. (We haven't a clue where you are, and are hoping everyone will forget about you when we launch our next war on an irrelevant scapegoat country. If they don't, who cares? I'll be out of office by then.)
On September the 11th, we learned that America must confront threats before they reach our shores; whether those threats come from terrorist networks or terrorist states.
I am often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat. (What threat exactly? )
My administration, the Congress and the United Nations saw the threat. (What threat exactly?)
And, after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. (What risk? Just because you say it three times doesn't make it any more true. WHat is this, "The Hunting Of The Snark"?)
The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. (In what way? More pleasant maybve, but how "safer"? What threat was Saddam to anyone?)
And now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December.
Al Qaeda and other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East. They have joined the remnants of Saddam's regime (oh right, because Islamic extremists and militant secularists always get on so well together, like Pat Robertson and Richard Dawkins) and other armed groups to foment sectarian violence and drive us out. (Actually, everyone not actually on your payroll wants to drive you out. Haven't you got that yet?)
Our enemies in Iraq are tough and they are committed, but so are Iraqi and coalition forces. We are adapting to stay ahead of the enemy, and we are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds. (Iraq now is no more democratic than when Saddam was in power. Instead of intimidation by the Ba'ath party, there is universal intimidation by local warlords and religious fanatics. At least when Saddam was around there was some kind of rule of law. Now Iraq's society has entirely collapsed, and the only unifying force is the universal hatred of the Americans and British.)
We are training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation (= beat people up and take bribes). We are helping Iraq's unity government (unity! government! ha!) grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done. (So you have no plans ever to leave Iraq then, at least until you run out of Americans to sacrifice to your ego.)
Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. (The worst mistake was to invade Iraq in the first place. The only terrorists in Iraq came purely to get the coalition forces out. There were no "terrorists" in Iraq until you invaded.)
They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. (Only until you're out of their country, dickhead.)
The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad. (Yes: and the sooner you admit defeat and get the hell out, the safer America and the whole world will be.)
Osama bin Laden calls this fight "The Third World War," (though oddly the only references on the Internet to his doing so seem to be in articles about Bush quoting bin Laden - did he actually ever say abny such thing?) and he says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever.
If we yield Iraq to men like bin Laden (who only took any interest in Iraq once it was full of Americans to kill - haven't you grasped yet that it's America he hates?), our enemies will be emboldened. They will gain a new safe haven. They will use Iraq's resources to fuel their extremist movement.
We will not allow this to happen. (Which is why we have made sure Iraq has no resources left, and is now a pile of unsustainable rubble).
America will stay in the fight (because I'm too stupid to do anything else). Iraq will be a free nation (not as long as America has any involvement wth it - Christ, you can't even maintain freedom at home) and a strong ally (ha!) in the war on terror (war on freedom).
We can be confident that our coalition will succeed because the Iraqi people have been steadfast in the face of unspeakable violence (the vast majority of which has come from the USA. And they have been steadfast, and you will be thrown out.) And we can be confident in victory because of the skill and resolve of America's armed forces (and clearly the abject stupidity of those in charge of strategy).
Every one of our troops is a volunteer (though most of them didn't volunteer for the period of time they have been required to serve). And since the attacks of September the 11th, more than 1.6 million Americans have stepped forward to put on our nation's uniform.
In Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war on terror, the men and women of our military are making great sacrifices to keep us safe. Some have suffered terrible injuries, and nearly 3,000 have given their lives.
America cherishes their memory. We pray for their families. And we will never back down from the work they have begun.
We also honor those who toil day and night to keep our homeland safe, and we are giving them the tools they need to protect our people (i.e. destroying freedom at home as we have been doing in Iraq).
We have created the Department of Homeland Security; we have torn down the wall that kept law enforcement and intelligence from sharing information; we have tightened security at our airports and seaports and borders; and we've created new programs to monitor enemy bank records and phone calls.
Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement and intelligence professionals, we have broken up terrorist cells in our midst and saved American lives.
Five years after 9/11, our enemies have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil, but they have not been idle.
Al Qaeda, and those inspired by its hateful ideology, have carried out terrorist attacks in more than two dozen nations. (This pea-brain is till banging on about "al-Qaeda" carrying out attacks. Not quite got the hang of things, have we?) And, just last month, they were foiled in a plot to blow up passenger planes headed for the United States. (Not too difficult to foil, what with its being wholly imaginary.)
They remain determined to attack America and kill our citizens, and we are determined to stop them.
We will continue to give the men and women who protect us every resource and legal authority they need to do their jobs.
In the first days after the 9/11 attacks, I promised to use every element of national power to fight the terrorists wherever we find them. One of the strongest weapons in our arsenal is the power of freedom. (But they needn't worry, because you have plans in hand to remove as much of it as possible, at home as you did in Iraq.)
The terrorists fear freedom (eh? what they want is freedom, freedom from American influence) as much as they do our firepower (oh yes, that's so evident, because nobody with an IED has ever killed a heavily-armed American soldier).
They are thrown into panic at the sight of an old man pulling the election lever, girls enrolling in schools (Iraq had that until the Americans came), or families worshiping God in their own traditions (again, Iraq had reigious tolerance until the US invasion).
They know that, given a choice, people will choose freedom over their extremist ideology. So their answer is to deny people this choice by raging against the forces of freedom and moderation. (Talk about missing the point. And since when was the US a force for freedom and moderation, anyway?)
This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations (er, by you). In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. (Oh, nice: the racism card now.)
We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we're fighting for (against) the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.
We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom (only you, George) and whether the forces of moderation can prevail.
For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace (propping up militaristic theocracies and dictators like Saddam) had left us with neither.
So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world (dwindling as we speak) to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.
With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. (Unfortunately they are having to kill Americans to obtain them.)
And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? (What, you're going to nuke somebody?)
By standing with democratic leaders and reformers (=warlords and corrupt apparatchiks), by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we are offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free. (Only you're enlisting it against America.)
Across the broader Middle East, the extremists are fighting to prevent such a future. Yet America has confronted evil before, and we have defeated it; sometimes at the cost of thousands of good men in a single battle.
When Franklin Roosevelt vowed to defeat two enemies across two oceans, he could not have foreseen D-Day and Iwo Jima, but he would not have been surprised at the outcome.
When Harry Truman promised American support for free peoples resisting Soviet aggression, he could not have foreseen the rise of the Berlin Wall, but he would not have been surprised to see it brought down.
Throughout our history, America has seen liberty challenged. And, every time, we have seen liberty triumph with sacrifice and determination.
At the start of this young century, America looks to the day when the people of the Middle East leave the desert of despotism for the fertile gardens of liberty and resume their rightful place in a world of peace and prosperity. (A day which America will delay as long as possible. See under "Palestine".)
We look to the day when the nations of that region recognize their greatest resource is not the oil in the ground, but the talent and creativity of their people. We look to the day when moms and dads (awwww) throughout the Middle East see a future of hope and opportunity for their children (instead of the piles of rubble America helpfully provides).
And when that good day comes, the clouds of war will part, the appeal of radicalism will decline, and we will leave our children with a better and safer world. (And I am Marie of Rumania.)
On this solemn anniversary, we re-dedicate ourselves to this cause.
Our nation has endured trials, and we face a difficult road ahead. Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country.
And we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us. (Oppose me and you'll vanish into Guantanamo.)
We will defeat our enemies, we will protect our people, and we will lead the 21st century into a shining age of human liberty.
Earlier this year, I traveled to the United States Military Academy. I was there to deliver the commencement address to the first class to arrive at West Point after the attacks of September the 11th. (Oh, not to complete your dodged military service?)
That day, I met a proud mom named RoseEllen Dowdell. She was there to watch her son, Patrick, accept his commission in the finest army the world has ever known. A few weeks earlier, RoseEllen had watched her other son, James, graduate from the Fire Academy in New York City.
On both these days, her thoughts turned to someone who was not there to share the moment: her husband, Kevin Dowdell. Kevin was one of the 343 firefighters who rushed to the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September the 11th and never came home.
His sons lost their father that day, but not the passion for service he instilled in them.
Here's what RoseEllen says about her boys: "As a mother, I cross my fingers and pray all the time for their safety. But, as worried as I am, I am also proud. And I know their dad would be too."
Our nation is blessed to have young Americans like these, and we will need them. Dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. (Well, only if you keep INVADING THEIR COUNTRES.)
They're not the first to try, and their fate will be the same as those who tried before. (Oh, like the Vietcong.)
9/11 showed us why. The attacks were meant to bring us to our knees, and they did; but not in the way the terrorists intended. Americans united in prayer, came to the aid of neighbors in need, and resolved that our enemies would not have the last word.
The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength. And we go forward with trust in that spirit, confidence in our purpose, and faith in a loving God who made us to be free.
Thank you, and may God bless you.