George W. Bush photo

The President's Radio Address

September 13, 2003

Good morning. Two years ago this week, America suffered a brutal attack. We will never forget the burning towers and the smoke over Arlington Cemetery and the passengers who rushed the hijackers. Yet history asks for more than memory. On September the 11th, 2001, we began a war on global terror that continues to this hour.

In the decades before that terrible day, the terrorists conducted a series of bolder and bolder attacks in the Middle East and beyond. They became convinced that free nations were decadent and weak and would never offer a sustained and serious response. They now know otherwise.

Together with a coalition of nations, we have struck back against terror worldwide, capturing and killing terrorists and breaking cells and freezing assets. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban regime that harbored Al Qaida. In Iraq, we defeated a regime that sponsored terror, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and defied the United Nations Security Council for 12 years. We have helped to liberate people from oppression and fear.

Today, with our help, the people of Iraq are working to create a free, functioning, and prosperous society. The terrorists know that if these efforts are successful, their ideology of hate will suffer a grave defeat. So they are attacking our forces, international aid workers, and innocent civilians. Their goal is to drive us out of Iraq before our work is done. They are mistaken, and they will fail. We will do what is necessary to win this victory in the war on terror.

We are following a clear strategy with three objectives: Destroy the terrorists; enlist international support for a free Iraq; and quickly transfer authority to the Iraqi people. Through a series of ongoing operations, our military is taking direct action against Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists. One major effort underway right now, called Operation Longstreet, is seeking and finding our enemies wherever they hide and plot. Already, this operation has yielded hundreds of detainees and seized hundreds of weapons, and we will remain on the offensive against the terrorists.

We are expanding international cooperation in rebuilding Iraq. Today in Geneva, Secretary of State Powell is meeting with Secretary-General of the United Nations and representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council. They are discussing ideas for a new resolution to encourage wider participation in this vital task.

And we're moving forward on a specific plan to return sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people. We have created a Governing Council made up of Iraqi citizens. The Council has selected a committee that is developing a process through which Iraqis will draft a new constitution for their country. Day-to-day operations of many government tasks have been turned over to ministers appointed by the Governing Council. And when a constitution has been drafted and ratified by the Iraqi people, Iraq will enjoy free and fair elections, and the coalition will yield its remaining authority to a free and sovereign Iraqi Government.

We have a strategy in Iraq and a mission. We will fight and defeat the terrorists there so we don't have to face them in America. And we will help transform Iraq into a example of progress and democracy and freedom that can inspire change and hope throughout the Middle East.

Thank you for listening.

NOTE: The address was recorded at 1:20 p.m. on September 11 in the Cabinet Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on September 13. In his remarks, the President referred to Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the United Nations. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 12 but was embargoed for release until the broadcast. The Office of the Press Secretary also released a Spanish language transcript of this address.

George W. Bush, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/216464

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