President Bush Outlines War Effort
Remarks by the President to the George C. Marshall ROTC Award
Seminar on National Security
April 17, 2002
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you all very much for that warm welcome.
General Meyer, thank you. General Bunting and General Casey, Secretary
Marsh, Congressman Goodlatte, Albert Beveridge, members of the
Corps of Cadets, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I want to thank you for your warm welcome and thank you for inviting
me to one of America's great institutions. (Applause.) I brought
along a little graduation present. I'm sure you'll like it; some
of you will need it. (Laughter.) As Commander in Chief, I hereby
grant amnesty -- (applause). General Bunting, I'm sure you can
tell who needed it. (Laughter.) And I know you'll be generous
in the interpretation of this doctrine. (Laughter.)
I want to congratulate the winners of the George C. Marshall ROTC
Award. (Applause.) The more than 260 young men and women who represent
-- the winners represent the best of our country and the best
future for the United States Army. You stand out among the nearly
30,000 young Americans who are today enrolled in the Army ROTC;
the officers who will serve in the military of the future, and
one day will lead it.
A majority of the Army's current officers started out in the ROTC.
For nearly 90 years, this great program has developed leaders
and shaped character. Those looking for idealism on the college
campuses of America will find it in the men and women of the ROTC.
ROTC's traditions and values are a contribution and a credit to
every college and every university where they're found.
Secretary of State Colin Powell was in the ROTC at City College
of New York, an experience that helped set the course of his life.
In his own words, he said this, "The order, the self-discipline,
the pride that had been instilled in me by our ROTC prepared me
well for my Army career or, for that matter, any career I might
Colin Powell's career has taken him from service in Vietnam to
the top rank in the military, and now on a peace mission to the
Middle East. America is fortunate and I am proud to have ROTC
graduate Colin Powell serving our country. (Applause.)
Only one other Army general has gone on to serve as Secretary
of State, and that was George Marshall, himself -- VMI's highest-ranking
cadet in the class of 1901.
As Army Chief of Staff, General Marshall became the architect
of America's victory in the second world war. He fought tenaciously
against our enemies, and then worked just as hard to secure the
peace. President Truman considered George C. Marshall the greatest
man he knew. Above all, said Winston Churchill, Marshall "always
fought victoriously against defeatism, discouragement and disillusionment."
The key to morale and to victory, Marshall said, is "steadfastness
and courage and hope." (Applause.)
And, today, we are called to defend freedom against ruthless enemies.
And, once again, we need steadfastness, courage and hope. (Applause.)
The war against terror will be long. And as George Marshall so
clearly understood, it will not be enough to make the world safer.
We must also work to make the world better.
In the days just after September the 11th, I told the American
people that this would be a different war, fought on many fronts.
Today, around the world, we make progress on the many fronts.
In some cases, we use military force. In others, we're fighting
through diplomacy, financial pressure, or special operations.
In every case, we will defeat the threats against our country
and the civilized world. (Applause.)
Our progress -- our progress is measured day by day, terrorist
by terrorist. We recently apprehended one of al Qaeda's top leaders,
a man named Abu Zabaydah. He was spending a lot of time as one
of the top operating officials of al Qaeda, plotting and planning
murder. He's not plotting and he's not planning anymore. (Applause.)
He's under lock and key, and we're going to give him some company.
(Applause.) We're hunting down the killers one by one.
We're learning a lot about al Qaeda operations and their plans.
As our enemies have fled their hideouts in Afghanistan, they left
some things behind. We found laptop computers, drawings and maps.
And through them, we're gaining a clearer picture of the terrorist
targets and their methods.
Our international coalition against these killers is strong and
united and acting. European nations have frozen almost $50 million
in suspected terrorist assets, and that's important. Many European
states are taking aggressive and effective law enforcement action
to join us in rounding up these terrorists and their cells. We're
making good progress.
Yet, it's important for Americans to know this war will not be
quick and this war will not be easy. The first phase of our military
operation was in Afghanistan, where our armed forces continue
to perform with bravery and with skill. You've got to understand
that as we routed out the Taliban, they weren't sent in to conquer;
they were sent in to liberate. And they succeeded. And our military
makes us proud. (Applause.)
The battles in Afghanistan are not over. American and allied troops
are taking risks today in what we call Operation Mountain Lion
-- hunting down the al Qaeda and Taliban forces, and keeping them
on the run. Coalition naval forces, in the largest combined flotilla
since World War II, are patrolling escape routes and intercepting
ships to search for terrorists and their supplies.
As the spring thaw comes, we expect cells of trained killers to
try to regroup, to murder, create mayhem and try to undermine
Afghanistan's efforts to build a lasting peace. We know this from
not only intelligence, but from the history of military conflict
in Afghanistan. It's been one of initial success, followed by
long years of floundering and ultimate failure. We're not going
to repeat that mistake. (Applause.)
In the United States of America, the terrorists have chosen a
foe unlike they have any -- they have never faced before. They've
never faced a country like ours before: we're tough, we're determined,
we're relentless. (Applause.) We will stay until the mission is
We know that true peace will only be achieved when we give the
Afghan people the means to achieve their own aspirations. (Applause.)
Peace -- peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan develop
its own stable government. Peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan
train and develop its own national army. And peace will be achieved
through an education system for boys and girls which works. (Applause.)
We're working hard in Afghanistan. We're clearing minefields.
We're rebuilding roads. We're improving medical care. And we will
work to help Afghanistan to develop an economy that can feed its
people without feeding the world's demand for drugs. (Applause.)
And we help the Afghan people recover from the Taliban rule. And
as we do so, we find mounting horror, evidence of horror. In the
Hazarajat region, the Red Cross has found signs of massacres committed
by the Taliban last year, victims who lie in mass graves. This
is the legacy of the first regime to fall in the war against terror.
These mass graves are a reminder of the kind of enemy we have
fought and have defeated. And they are the kind of evil we continue
By helping to build an Afghanistan that is free from this evil
and is a better place in which to live, we are working in the
best traditions of George Marshall. (Applause.) Marshall knew
that our military victory against enemies in World War II had
to be followed by a moral victory that resulted in better lives
for individual human beings.
After 1945, the United States of America was the only nation in
the world strong enough to help rebuild a Europe and a Japan that
had been decimated by World War II. Today, our former enemies
are our friends. And Europe and Japan are strong partners in the
rebuilding of Afghanistan.
This transformation is a powerful testimony to the success of
Marshall's vision, and a beacon to light the path that we, too,
In the second phase of the war on terror, our military and law
enforcement intelligence officers are helping countries around
the world in their efforts to crack down on terror within their
borders. Global terrorism will be defeated only by global response.
We must prevent al Qaeda from moving its operations to other countries.
We must deny terrorists the funds they need to operate. We must
deny them safe havens to plan new horrors and indoctrinate new
We're working with Yemen's government to prevent terrorists from
reassembling there. We sent troops to help train local forces
in the Philippines, to help them defeat terrorists trying to establish
a militant regime. And in the Republic of Georgia, we provide
temporary help to its military, as it routes out a terrorist cell
near the Russian border. Wherever global terror threatens the
civilized world, we and our friends and our allies will respond
and will respond decisively. (Applause.)
Every nation that joins our cause is welcome. Every nation that
needs our help will have it. And no nation can be neutral. Around
the world, the nations must choose. They are with us, or they're
with the terrorists. (Applause.)
And in the Middle East, where acts of terror have triggered mounting
violence, all parties have a choice to make. Every leader, every
state must choose between two separate paths: the path of peace
or the path of terror. In the stricken faces of mothers, Palestinian
mothers and Israeli mothers, the entire world is witnessing the
agonizing cost of this conflict. Now, every nation and every leader
in the region must work to end terror. (Applause.)
All parties have responsibilities. These responsibilities are
not easy, but they're clear. And Secretary of State Powell is
helping make them clear. I want to thank Secretary Powell for
his hard work at a difficult task. He returns home having made
progress towards peace.
We're confronting hatred that is centuries old, disputes that
have lingered for decades. But I want you to know, I will continue
to lead toward a vision of peace. (Applause.)
We will continue to remind folks they have responsibilities in
the short run to defuse the current crisis. The Palestinian Authority
must act, must act on its words of condemnation against terror.
(Applause.) Israel must continue its withdrawals. And all Arab
states must step up to their responsibilities. (Applause.)
The Egyptians and Jordanians and Saudis have helped in the wider
war on terrorism. And they must help confront terrorism in the
Middle East. (Applause.) All parties have a responsibility to
stop funding or inciting terror. (Applause.) And all parties must
say clearly that a murderer is not a martyr; he or she is just
a murderer. (Applause.)
And all parties must realize that the only vision for a long-term
solution is for two states -- Israel, Palestine -- to live side
by side in security and in peace. (Applause.) That will require
hard choices and leadership by Israelis, Palestinians, and their
Arab neighbors. The time is now for all to make the choice for
And, finally, the civilized world faces a grave threat from weapons
of mass destruction. A small number of outlaw regimes today possess
and are developing chemical and biological and nuclear weapons.
They're building missiles to deliver them, and at the same time
cultivating ties to terrorist groups. In their threat to peace,
in their mad ambitions, in their destructive potential and in
the repression of their own people, these regimes constitute an
axis of evil and the world must confront them. (Applause.)
America, along with other nations, will oppose the proliferation
of dangerous weapons and technologies. We will proceed with missile
defenses to protect the American people, our troops and our friends
and allies. And America will take the necessary action to oppose
We'll be deliberate and we will work with our friends and allies.
And, as we do so, we will uphold our duty to defend freedom. (Applause.)
We will fight against terrorist organizations in different ways,
with different tactics, in different places. And we will fight
the threat from weapons of mass destruction in different ways,
with different tactics, in different places.
Yet, our objective is always the same: we will defeat global terror,
and we will not allow the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten
us with the world's most dangerous weapons. (Applause.)
America has a much greater purpose than just eliminating threats
and containing resentment, because we believe in the dignity and
value of every individual. America seeks hope and opportunity
for all people in all cultures. And that is why we're helping
to rebuild Afghanistan. And that is why we've launched a new compact
for development for the Millennium Challenge Account. And that
is why we work for free trade, to lift people out of poverty throughout
A better world can seem very distant when children are sent to
kill other children, and old hatreds are stoked and carefully
passed from one generation to another, and a violent few love
death more than life. Yet hatred, fanaticism are not the way of
the future, because the hopes of humanity are always stronger
than its hatreds. (Applause.)
And these hopes are universal in every country and in every country
-- in every culture. Men and women everywhere want to live in
dignity to create and build and own, to raise their children in
peace and security.
The way to a peaceful future can be found in the non-negotiable
demands of human dignity. Dignity requires the rule of law, limits
on the power of the state, respect for women, private property,
equal justice, religious tolerance. No nation owns these principles.
No nation is exempt from them.
Sixty years ago, few would have predicted the triumph of these
values in Germany and Japan. Fifteen years ago, few would have
predicted the advance of these values in Russia. Yet, Americans
are not surprised. We know that the demands of human dignity are
written in every heart.
The demands have a power and momentum of their own, defying all
pessimism. And they are destined to change lives and nations on
every continent. America has acted on these hopes throughout our
history. General George Marshall is admired for the war he fought,
yet best remembered for the peace he secured.
The Marshall Plan, rebuilding Europe and lifting up former enemies,
showed that America is not content with military victory alone.
Americans always see a greater hope and a better day. And America
sees a just and hopeful world beyond the war on terror. (Applause.)
Many of you will help achieve this better world. At a young age,
you've taken up a great calling. You'll serve your country and
our values. You'll protect your fellow citizens. And, by your
effort and example, you will advance the cause of freedom around
the world. And so I'm here to thank you for your commitment and
congratulate you on the high honor you have received.
May God bless you all, and may God bless America. (Applause.)