Bush: Islamic Militants of Trying to Intimidate World
President Bush has made the stunning announcement that Islamic extremists are big rotten meanies.
President Bush accused Islamic militants on Thursday of seeking to “enslave whole nations and intimidate the world” and charged they have made Iraq their main front. “The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia,” Bush said. The president has been stepping up his defense of his Iraq policy in the face of declining public support for the war and a crucial test in Iraq with the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum.
In a speech before the National Endowment for Democracy, Bush likened the ideology of Islamic militants to communism. And he said they are being “aided by elements of the Arab news media that incites hatred and anti-semitism.” “Against such an enemy, there’s only one effective response: We never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory,” Bush declared.
“We are facing a radical ideology with inmeasurable objectives to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world,” Bush said.
Well, no #$%@. This is a “major speech”?!
Update (1119): As more reporting becomes available, it appears that my reaction to the initial AP report was hasty. From the extended remarks:
Bush said the terrorists are aided by corrupt charities that direct money to terrorist activities and nations, such as Syria and Iran, calling them “allies of convenience” that back terrorists.
Countering claims that the U.S. military presence in Iraq is fueling radicalism, Bush noted that American troops were not there on Sept. 11, 2001. He said Russia did not support the military action in Iraq, yet a terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia, left more than 300 schoolchildren dead in 2004. “The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in the war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror,” he said.
“Our commitment is clear Ã¢€” we will not relent until the organized international terror networks are exposed and broken and their leaders held to account for their acts of murder,” Bush said. The president said that no one should estimate the difficulties ahead, nor should anyone be pessimistic about U.S. efforts to battle terrorism.
“With every random bombing. And with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots, or resistance fighters,” Bush said. “They are murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves.”
Bush also took on war critics in the United States. “There’s always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder,” he said. But Bush vowed to not to retreat from Iraq or from the broader war on terrorism. “We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory,” he said.
I’m still not sure this constitutes a “major speech” but these are at least substantive points to make.
Update: The White House has the full text of the speech online: President Discusses War on Terror at National Endowment for Democracy.
Walid Phares finds the speech historic for a simple reason:
Finally, four years after the bloodiest Jihadi attack on the Western Hemisphere, and perhaps worldwide, the President of the United States named the enemy: He used the “ISM” word. It was lastly uttered..
In his speech this morning Text, President Bush said: “Some call this (ideology) evil Islamic radicalism, others, militant Jihadism, still others, Islamo-facism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology (…) serves a vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire.” Then he goes on to describe its strategies, the US counter plans and the rationale of American moves around the world to fight the War on Terror. While I’ll post later a global analysis of the speech, looking at the advances and the misses, one significant step has been made: Ladies and Gentlemen: we have the names of the enemy…
Indeed, it can be called Islamic radicalism, militant Jihadism, or Islamo-facism. Now we have an “ISM.” Better we have three of them!
A good point. Since most of us have been using those words for years, it didn’t strike me as unusual. Phares is right, though: The president has scrupulously avoided naming the enemy as other than a tactic (terrorism) rather than an ideology.
Charles Johnson agrees, noting, “There was still quite a bit of political eggshell-walking, but this marks the first time that Bush has identified and described the real goals of radical IslamÃ¢€”to re-establish the mythical caliphate and the global dominance of Islam.”
Donald Sensing was also impressed, saying Bush’s speech “was one of the best on the subject he has ever made. He said what needed to be said and took more time than he has usually used when speaking about the war.”
Glenn Reynolds heard it on the radio and deemed it “a really first-rate speech”
Bill Quick, meanwhile, shares my initial reaction:
Man, this doesn’t even sound like decent bullhooey, let alone that it makes no sense. Determined to deny WMD to outlaw regimes? You mean like Syria and Iran? And, of course, Saudi Arabia isn’t an outlaw regime at all, never mind that it supplies ninety percent of the financing to Islamist terrorism everywhere in the world.
Of course, it’s likely academic since almost no one actually heard the speech. This means Steven Taylor’s rule of speeches comes into effect: All that really matters is the sound bytes. We’ll see which ones the press glom onto.
That is, unless one follows Dan Spencer‘s advice:
Reading summaries, excerpts and critiques lets others do the thinking for you. Snippets can’t help you grasp the import, which you should have especially if you want to disagree in a knowledgeable manner. This speech deserves to be read in its entirety. Please invest the 30 minutes required to read, listen or watch the whole thing.
But, since we know most people won’t do that, the sound bytes will prevail.