Bush: Islamic Militants of Trying to Intimidate World

President Bush has made the stunning announcement that Islamic extremists are big rotten meanies.

Bush Accuses Islamic Militants of Trying to Intimidate World (AP)

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 — 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 Islam—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.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Democracy, Middle East, Terrorism, Uncategorized, US Constitution, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. LJD says:

    President Bush has made the stunning announcement that Islamic extremists are big rotten meanies.

    Uh, Yeah. Because when Bush said “We are facing a radical ideology with inmeasurable objectives to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world,” half the idiots in this country think he’s referring to the U.S.

  2. ken says:

    Bush is a freakin nut case. He sees enemies under every bed.

    Why should Americans, who beleive in religious freedom, oppose people on the other side of the world from having the kind of government they want? Even if it is based upon religion?

    I know they may be crazy, but it is just as crazy for Bush to kill them over it.

  3. Herb says:


    Just when are you going to get off your “Hate Bush” kick.

    Or,Are you just to stupid to know that these extremist are trying to kill you?

    Wow, you are really a broken record coupled with some sort of self righteous philosophy that has turned you into another sore loser that just can’t get over it.

    This war is not about religous freedom, it’s about someone who wants to enslave you or just kill you outright.

    If you don’t think so, then that puts you into the “not to intelligent” class.

  4. The Heretik says:

    @#$%! indeed. Don’t know if the track back worked, but I linked you HERE

  5. James Joyner says:

    Yep, it went through.

  6. ken says:

    Herbie, you are either as crazy as Bush or as evil as the radical Islamist.

    Or perhaps your just a sick f,er who gets his jollies with death and destruction.

  7. James, with all due respect, the President’s speech was another in the series of thought provoking speeches in which the President has set forth an ambitious vision of the post 9-11 world.

    Like the Advance of Freedom speech President Bush gave to the National Endowment for Democracy and the Three Pillars speech he gave at Whitehall Palace nearly two years ago, today’s speech is another in the series of thought provoking speeches in which the President has set forth an ambitious vision of the post 9-11 world.

  8. Herb says:


    Well Ken, I just love and enjoy the freedoms that this good old USA has and I will not give those freedoms up to a bunch of radical Muslim extremists or guys like you. I don’t enjoy war or violance but, I am and will be always ready and willing to defend our country. Thats a lot more than I can say to the pacifists like you and the likes of you that want to hand this country to those bas….s that want only to make Islamic slaves of every American

    Your problem Ken is that you have an idealogy that would love to see this country go down to those who would take your freedom away and either make a slave of you or behead you and every member of your family. Even though Ken, you would sacrifice your freedom, your life and the lives of your loved ones, to these extremists and terrorists, you can be rest assured that I will be to defend you, your family and every American in spite of your misguided thinking. You truly are pathetic.

  9. James B. Putney says:

    This was a major speech – and I am shocked at the lack of comment nationally.


    (1) Saddam Hussein was the ultimate secularist Moslem. The guy had statues of himself – utterly against the Quran. We went in to depose him. Why? WMD.

    (2) Saddam’s gone and we have a new Yugoslavia. (Oh – no WMD. But I suspect we new that.) Some Shia and many Sunnis oppose us, and we commit hundreds of billions and too many lives trying to create a Western democracy in a country with no historical cohesion. Why? To put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    (3) October 6, 2005: George informs us that it’s no longer WMD, no longer the native insurgents – we are engaged in a global war against radical Islam (not the true, kindly, lovethyneighbor turntheothercheek kind of Islam that will eventually prevail, but the nasty heretical abberant minority murderous kind of Islam), and the radicals are trying to find some country to take over, and guess what – it’s Iraq! And then the other 200-odd nations on earth will fall like dominoes, so by STAYING THE COURSE we are in fact saving world civilization. So we must fight in Iraq forever.


    The fact is that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz’s intellectual neocon fantasies ended at the capture and humiliation of Saddam, and they never gave a moment’s thought to “what next”, even though Bush 41 had written – quite eloquently – on the subject, and even though there were major voices in the CIA and State saying “But what happens after…?”

    And the ultimate irony? We are (supposedly) building an army composed of the most fundamentalist group in the country – the group whose strongest ties are to Iran – the Shiites. Have you thought that one through, George?

    George blames the radicals for taking over Afghanistan, forgetting that we paid the anti-Soviet rebels $1 billion to lure every fanatical jihadist in the world to come fight the Russians. That’s right. We financed the radical Islamist takeover of Afghanistan. Did we think that one through?

    Hell, we financed Saddam in the 80’s against Iran.

    See a pattern here? Is this any way for an empire to behave?

    Poor George. Rather, poor us, and poor soldiers whose lives have been ended or shattered by the most UNpatriotic kind of mindlessness imaginaeable.

    How long until George gives his ratpack the Presidential Medal of Freedom?