Stay the Course
Tonight Americans and Iraqis are dying for a world where each people may choose its own path to change. This is the principle for which our ancestors fought in the valleys of Pennsylvania. It is the principle for which our sons fight tonight in Iraq.
The war is hard and brutal and difficult. And some 1878 young men, born into an America that is bursting with liberty and freedom, have ended their lives on Iraq's steaming sands. Why must we take this painful road? Why must this nation hazard its ease, its interest, and its power for the sake of a people so far away? We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny, and only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure.
A Democracy will never be built by bombs or bullets. Yet the acts of terror are such that force must often precede reason and the waste of war, the works of peace. We wish this were not so. But we must deal with the world as it is, if it is ever to be as we wish. The world as it is in the Middle East is not a serene or peaceful place. Of course, some of the people of Iraq are participating in attack on their own countrymen. But trained men and supplies, orders and arms, flow in a constant stream from Iran to Iraq. This support is the heartbeat of the war.
And it is a war of unparalleled terror. Simple shop keepers are the targets of assassination and kidnapping. Women and children are strangled in the night because their men are loyal to the cause for freedom. And helpless Iraqis are ravaged by suicide bombers. Large-scale raids are conducted on towns, and terror strikes in the heart of cities. The confused nature of this conflict cannot mask the fact that it is the new face of an old enemy. The contest in Iraq is part of a wider pattern of the war on our freedom.
Why are these realities our concern? Why are we in Iraq? We are there because we have a promise to keep. Over many months, we have made a national pledge to help the Iraqi's defend their freedom. And I intend to keep that promise. To dishonor that pledge, to abandon this small and brave nation to the insurgents, and to the terror that would follow, would be an unforgivable wrong.
Now read it again...