THE TIMES: Mr President, last night you mentioned the link between Iraq and 9/11, but there's evidence of Iraq becoming a haven for jihadists, there's been a CIA report which says that Iraq is in danger of... are you at risk of creating kind of more of the problems that actually led directly to...?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No. Quite the contrary. Where you win the war on terror is go to the battlefield and you take them off. And that's what they've done. They've said, Look, let's go fight. This is the place. And that was my point. My point is that there is an ideology of hatred, an ideology that's got a vision of a world where the extremists dictate the lives, dictate to millions of Muslims. They do want to topple governments in the Middle East. They do want us to withdraw. They're interested in exporting violence. After all, look at what happened after September 11 (2001). One way for your readers to understand what their vision is is to think about what life was like under the Taleban in Afghanistan.
So we made a decision to protect ourselves and remove Saddam Hussein. The jihadists made a decision to come into Iraq to fight us. For a reason. They know that if we're successful in Iraq, like we were in Afghanistan, that it'll be a serious blow to their ideology. General (John) Abizaid (Commander of US forces in the Middle East) told me something very early in this campaign I thought was very interesting. Very capable man. He's a Arab-American who I find to be a man of great depth and understanding. When we win in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's a beginning of the end. Talking about the war on terror. If we don't win here, it's the beginning of the beginning. And that's how I view it.
We learnt first-hand the nature of the war on terror on September 11. And last time I went to Europe I said many in Europe viewed September 11 as a tragic moment, but a moment. I view September 11 as an attack as a result of a larger war that changed how I view the world and how many other Americans view the world. It was one of the moments in history that changed outlook. So as long as I'm sitting here in this Oval Office, I will never forget the lessons of September 11, and that is that we are in a global war against cold-blooded killers.
And you are seeing that now being played out in Iraq, and we're going to win in Iraq and we're going to win because, one, we're going to find (Osama bin Laden) and bring him to justice, and two, we're going to train Iraqis so they can do the fighting. Iraqis don't want foreign fighters in their country, stopping the progress toward freedom. And the notion that people want to be free was validated by the over eight million people who voted.
Frankly, I rejected the intellectual elitism of some around the world who say, "Well, maybe certain people can't be free". I don't believe that. Of course I was labelled a, you know, blatant idealist.
But I am. Because I do believe people want to be free, regardless of their religion or where they are from. I do believe women should be empowered in the Middle East. I don't believe we ought to accept forms of government that ultimately create a hopelessness that then can be translated into jihadist violence. And I believe strongly that the ultimate way you defeat an ideology is with a better ideology. And history has proven that. Anyway, you got me going. Starting to give the whole speech again.
What struck me, now that i think about it, is that he really does believe what he says. Unlike so many post-modernists (in the aftermath of WW2) who believes that human actions can only cause harm, thus it would be better to suffer (especially better if someone elses does the suffering). W still believes that human actions can do substantial good for humanity. In fact, i now wonder if the reason i find W speechs so goofy at times is because he is almost naive about his faith in humanity. Stark in a world so cynical and crass. Which makes me glad for smiling and laughing at his speech. It is a good thing. I like the W.