I thought the president's speech was great, but I think he needed to be even more firm. Here's what I would have liked to hear him say:
The loss of American lives in Iraq has caused sorrow for all Americans, and has led some here to wonder whether our continuing to fight terrorist killers in Iraq is creating more problems than it's solving.
That's a reasonable question, and the answer depends on what you believe is true about the terrorists. If you believe the terrorists would become peaceful if America would stop fighting against them, then it would make sense to leave them alone.
Unfortunately, many Americans seem to have forgotten that terrorists were killing Americans for many years before American troops entered Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein and his psychotic sons from power. Part of the reason you've forgotten this is because the mainstream media wants you to forget it. Because if you remembered these attacks, there would be no question why American troops are in Iraq.
Does anyone remember that in 1993, Islamic extremists exploded a car-bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center--presumably trying to bring down that building? Does anyone remember that Islamic extremists rammed an explosive-loaded boat into a docked U.S. Navy ship in 2000, killing 17 American sailors? How about the suicide truck-bombing of an American barracks in Saudi Arabia--the Khobar Towers--that killed over 100 Americans in [ ]?
Terrorists don't just hate Americans--they've openly said they regard democracy as a "satanic system." They regard women as the property of men, and many extremists won't let females appear in public without a male family member escorting them.
The terrorists don't just object to American actions in Iraq and elsewhere--they've openly declared their hostility to our core beliefs and our way of life.
Before I ordered our military forces to go into Iraq I asked my staff to ask the brightest members of congress, from both parties, to offer alternative theories under which we might coexist with Islamic terrorists. No one offered any idea under which this might happen. Based on the open, public statements of the terrorists, I believe there is no way we can appease them enough to get them to stop attacking us.
If that's true, there seem to be just two possible courses: either we surrender and give up our way of life, or else try to bring about a change of conditions in the nations where terrorists are raised and recruited, so that those who would become terrorists and suicide bombers no longer choose this path.
Specifically, I believe that if democracy can be established in just one Muslim nation in the Middle East--such as Iraq-- it will eventually spread to other Middle Eastern nations, and then to other Islamic countries.
On the other hand, if we were to "cut and run", as some politicians in this country have suggested, I believe it would show the terrorists that what they saw in the U.S. mission in Somalia is correct: that the American people are impatient and skittish, and will run if confronted by a determined foe.
I encourage members of the Democratic party in the United States to consider the facts I've just outlined, and--if they believe they know a better plan--to offer in detail the actions they recommend. If they believe a compromise with the terrorists is feasible, let them say so. If they believe pulling all our forces out of Iraq in two or three months will end terrorist attacks on Americans and others, let them openly state this belief, on the record. Let them go before the cameras and state, in detail, not only what they recommend, but also that their recommendations will end attacks by terrorists.
I encourage all of you: If your Senator or congressman calls for a quick withdrawal from Iraq, ask them to state, for the record, whether this will end terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens. If the critics won't go on the record with this assurance, ask why they won't do so. Ask them. And ask yourselves.
Thank you and good night.