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competitive, the best place in the world to do business, the best place 
where the entrepreneurial spirit can continue to flourish and be strong.
    I also told you I want to be President again because I want to keep 
America safer. That's my solemn duty, is to protect the American people. 
It was a solemn duty that really became so evident on September the 
11th, 2001. I mean, the enemy hit us in a way that was nearly impossible 
for anybody to dream that they would attack us, using our own airplanes 
to kill thousands of innocent people, a sudden attack. It says a couple 
of things about the nature of these people. They are coldblooded 
killers. They're not religious people. They've hijacked a great 
religion. They think they're religious, but they're not. Their hearts 
are filled with evil. They are--you can't negotiate with them. There is 
no peace treaty you can sign with these kind of people. They've got a 
dim vision of the world.
    I resolved then that I will do whatever it takes to defend America. 
My duty is to do everything I can to protect our country. I called a 
good man into action named Ridge. You might remember him. His job is to 
see to it that the Homeland Security Department functions well, and he's 
doing a great job. And it's not easy--it's not easy. For the first-
responders who are here--that would be your firefighters and your police 
and your EMS teams--I thank you for the job you're doing. We're all 
working together. We're on the frontlines.
    We're communicating better. We're sharing information better. We've 
now got the FBI and the CIA sharing information. We've got divisions 
within the FBI sharing information. Before September the 11th, we 
couldn't have the criminal division and the intelligence division of the 
FBI even talking to each other about certain cases. No wonder 
information slipped through the net. That's why we passed what they call 
the PATRIOT Act.
    So--by the way, let me say something about the PATRIOT Act. Nothing 
happens without court order. The same rules that we're using to catch 
drug lords is now--we're finally starting to apply to terrorists. It's 
essential that these tools stay in place if we expect to be safe.
    Anyway, I decided then and there that I'd do everything to defend 
the country, so we

[[Page 1244]]

set up this Department of Homeland Security. But we've got to be 100 
percent correct here at home; they've got to be right once. And 
therefore, the best way, really, to defend the country is to stay on the 
offensive, is to find these killers before they get here, is to use 
every asset we have, everything at our disposal to hunt down these 
evildoers and bring them to justice, which is exactly what I will 
continue to do as your President.
    We're making progress. Two-thirds of the known Al Qaida leaders 
are--have been brought to justice, and we're slowly but surely, 
methodically, finding them and bringing them to justice. It's hard work, 
and we've got some really fine people working hard, really fine people. 
A lot of them wear the uniform of the United States military.
    Politicians make a lot of promises, I know, and I've tried to do 
everything I can to meet them. One of the promises I did make is that 
help is on the way. When I--2000, Dick Cheney and I were campaigning, we 
used to go to see the military--go to a military base or talk to 
military families. Our pledge was, help is on the way. Help has 
happened. Our military is strong, vibrant, skilled. They're getting paid 
better, and they're getting housed better. They're getting all they 
need, and that's what they deserve.
    Listen, I--as the Commander in Chief, I've got to be able to tell 
the husbands and wives and the moms and dads, we're doing everything we 
can, everything we can to make sure you've got what you need to help us 
do our duty, which is to protect America.
    A second lesson in all this business is that when a President says 
something, he better mean it. In order to make the world more peaceful, 
the President must speak clearly and mean what he says. I said, ``If you 
harbor a terrorist''--I said the first thing is we will find--we will 
stay on the offense and bring Al Qaida to justice. And then I said, ``If 
you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist.'' In 
other words, I was sending a message to those who felt like that they 
could maybe give Al Qaida safe haven and maybe we would just ignore it. 
But that's not how you make sure America is secure. You not only have to 
deal with Al Qaida and their affiliates and friends, but you have to say 
to people, ``Don't provide safe haven for them.'' In other words, you've 
got to keep them on the run.
    As you might recall, the Taliban in Afghanistan were providing safe 
haven for these people. We gave them an ultimatum. They, of course, 
didn't believe it. And we went in. And we went in to not only eliminate 
the training bases and the safe havens for Al Qaida, to protect 
ourselves; we also went in to liberate the people of Afghanistan from 
the Taliban.
    These people, as I mentioned to you earlier, are barbaric people. 
America weeps when they know that young girls are brutalized by a 
government. And that doesn't--that's not our value system. We care about 
human suffering. This is a compassionate country. And we also understand 
that when people are free, they're going to be peaceful.
    And so we did a couple of things in Afghanistan. One, we liberated 
the people. Secondly, we got rid of Al Qaida safe havens. And thirdly, 
Afghanistan is now on the road to democracy, and Afghanistan is an ally 
and a friend in our task to make America more secure.
    And then, as you know, I looked at intelligence and facts, and I 
came to the conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to America. You 
see, because the other lesson of September the 11th is when we see a 
gathering threat, that we've got to deal with it--sooner, rather than 
later; that we can't hope that a gathering threat just goes away. That's 
the lesson of September the 11th.
    And, therefore, I went to the United Nations and said, ``Listen, 
I've looked at this intelligence, and it says he's a threat.'' I also, 
during my talk, reminded them that the guy had actually used weapons of 
mass destruction on his own people and that he had harbored terrorists. 
Abu Nidal is a terrorist. As you might recall, he killed an American. 
This guy Zarqawi got hospital aid there in Baghdad when Saddam Hussein 
was in power. He was the guy running a poisons factory in northeast 
Iraq. He's still in Iraq. He's the guy killing a lot of innocent people, 
ordering suiciders, bragging about it, cutting people's heads off. He's 
an Al Qaida affiliate. In other words, it was a safe haven. And the 
Congress looked at the very same intelligence I did, the exact same 
intelligence, and came to the

[[Page 1245]]

same conclusion: He's a threat. Interestingly enough, so did the United 
    Remember, I went to the United Nations and said, ``We've got a 
problem here. As a matter of fact, it's such a problem that I think you 
probably have passed over a dozen resolutions saying he's a problem, and 
yet nothing has happened.'' And so I said, ``Why don't we pass one and 
really mean what we say.'' And so with a 15-to-nothing vote, the United 
Nations Security Council did just that--15 to nothing--said, ``He's a 
threat.'' ``Disclose, destroy, or face serious consequences,'' is what 
the United Nations said, a collection of nations.
    So we all felt the same thing back there. And of course, Saddam 
Hussein defied, and he just ignored what the free world had to say once 
again. Now, once you say something, you better mean it. At least that's 
the way I think. And we said ``serious consequences.'' We meant serious 
consequences. I had a choice to make: Either trust this madman, who 
clearly hated America, who had--was fooling around with terrorists, who 
had used weapons of mass destruction and we had thought had weapons of 
mass destruction--take his word for it, or defend the country. Given the 
lessons of September the 11th, I chose to defend the country. And that's 
exactly what I would do again. America is a more secure place because 
Saddam Hussein is no longer in power.
    The Senate is looking at intelligence failures, and should. We all 
ought to welcome an investigation about where we went right and wrong 
with our intelligence-gathering. You know why? Because it's important 
for a President and the Congress to get the best intelligence possible 
in this war against these terrorists. One of the key components of 
finding out who is going to hurt us is good intelligence. And there are 
a lot of really good people working in our intelligence-gathering, by 
the way--dedicated, solid, fine Americans. They too want the 
intelligence services to be as effective as possible. So I welcome their 
investigation. I really do.
    And like Members of the Senate and the House, we thought there would 
be stockpiles of weapons. We haven't found them yet. We do know, 
however, and I just want you to remember this, that the man had the 
capacity to make weapons. He had the ability to make weapons. He had the 
intent and the capability, which is why I say I would have done it 
again, because he's a dangerous person.
    The work is hard in Iraq right now. It's really hard because we're 
trying to take people from a society run by a tyrant to a free society. 
We've done this kind of work before, though. I want our fellow citizens 
to remember that. After World War II, we helped to rebuild Germany and 
Japan. And that wasn't easy. If you go back and look at the history, 
you'll find that there was articles written about how the reconstruction 
effort wasn't properly planned, why the societies were still violent, 
how maybe Japan couldn't conceivably self-govern because of its past 
history. There were a lot of skeptics and pessimists about the ability 
of liberty to have a transforming effect on societies. And I can 
understand that. It's hard work.
    But fortunately, my predecessors didn't listen to the skeptics. And 
today, I'm able to sit down with the Prime Minister of Japan and discuss 
key issues like North Korea. In other words, a former enemy--former 
enemies sit at a table together and say, ``How can we work to keep the 
peace,'' because there were people that preceded me that had great faith 
in the ability of freedom to change societies.
    The Iraqi people want to be free. We've got a good leader there 
named Alawi. He's a tough guy. He's a strong guy. He's dedicated to a 
pluralistic, self-governing society. He's courageous enough to get them 
there. He just needs America to stand by his side. The terrorists have 
got--they've got an advantage over us: They don't have hearts, and we 
do. They kill in the hope that we--our hearts will be so full with 
sorrow, like they are every time, that we'll forget our promise and that 
we'll leave. We're not leaving. We will stand.
    Let me tell you an interesting story. I'm probably going on--am I 
going on too long? [Laughter] Either Laura or Jenna will give me the 
hook. [Laughter] Let me tell you an interesting story. They said that 
they've got some people from Iraq coming to see you. The door opens up 
in the Oval Office--which, by the way, is a fantastic place. It's a 
shrine to democracy. It's a powerful office.

[[Page 1246]]

Just being in there is such an honor. And in walk seven people who have 
had their right hands cut off by Saddam Hussein. These were small-
business guys. And not only did they have their right hands cut off, 
they had X's carved on their foreheads by the Hussein henchmen. The 
currency of the country had devalued, and he needed a scapegoat, so he 
found seven small merchants to blame the currency devaluation on and 
punished them by cutting off their right hands.
    I asked one guy, ``Well, why you?'' He said, well, he was a jeweler, 
and he sold dinars to buy--I think it was either dollars or euros so he 
could get gold to use as a product for his jewelry. And they round him 
up--of course, no jury, no press looking after human rights, nothing.
    He cut off seven hands off. Interestingly enough, a documentary was 
made of these seven guys, and the documentary was seen by a Houston 
newsman named Marvin Zindler. He is the--I don't know if you ever saw 
``The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,'' the play. He's the guy, the 
newsman, that discovered this place in central Texas--anyway, famous in 
Texas, at least. [Laughter] But he started a foundation years ago to 
help people. And he saw the story, and he flew them over.
    And so these seven guys walk in with new hands as well, because in 
Houston they had been outfitted because of the compassion of this 
American. In other words, what a contrast, isn't it, the brutality of a 
tyrant and the compassion of an individual citizen.
    And they came in, and one guy took his new hand--they're just 
learning to use their hands--and he wrote ``God Bless America'' in 
Arabic. I nearly broke out in tears right there, it was such an 
emotional--I said, ``Welcome to the Oval Office.'' I said, ``I'm glad 
you're here.'' I said, ``You don't have to worry about America. When we 
say we're going to do something, we'll do it, and we will stand with you 
so your children can grow up in a free society, which will make us more 
    See, a free Iraq, free societies in the Middle East are in the long-
term interest of America. In the short term, we get after them with 
every asset we got. In the long term, we defeat terror and darkness with 
the light of democracy and freedom. That's what we believe. Look what 
happened in Japan and Germany. And I'm telling you, it can happen.
    Anyway, I told these guys, I said, ``It's good you're in the Oval 
Office because I want to tell you something about our society. The 
office of the President is bigger than the person. This is a great place 
to meet because it's a chance to remind you that in your new country, 
when you've survive, the institutions you put in place will be bigger 
than the people, and therefore, your society will be stable, and you're 
more likely to be free.''
    Now, finally, I want your vote because I want to make America a 
better place--a better place. There's a lot of ways we can do so. I want 
to make sure the education system works well. I'm telling you, the No 
Child Left Behind Act is a good piece of legislation. We spent more 
money than we ever have at the Federal level. At the same time, we said 
we trust local people to make decisions for their schools, and we did 
something else that I thought was very wise. We said, ``Show us the 
results.'' For too often we'd just spend money and hope for the best, 
and guess what would happen? Kids whose parents didn't speak English as 
a first language just get shuffled through the system--the hard-to-
educate, inner-city kids--``Just move them through. Maybe they'll learn; 
maybe they won't.'' That's not good enough for the 21st century, and 
it's certainly not good enough for me.
    And so we've raised the bar. And we said, ``You're going to get more 
money, but now you're going to devise accountability tests to show us 
whether the kids can learn,'' to read, for example. We want every child 
reading at grade level by the third grade. That's what we want, right? 
Seems like a reasonable national goal to me. That's not too hard to ask 
in America, to say, ``How about just reading at the 3d grade level? And 
if you don't, there will be remedial help, and the parents will get more 
choice.'' In other words, there needs to be accountability.
    And it's working. We've raised the bar. We're saying, ``Show us 
whether or not the kids can read and write and add and subtract.'' We're 
paying for curriculum that works. Listen, some reading programs work;

[[Page 1247]]

some of them don't. You know what I'm talking about. And the best way to 
determine whether yours does is to measure. And that's what we're doing 
with local control of schools. See, we called it the No Child Left 
Behind Act. That's exactly what I mean. I don't want any children left 
behind in America. I want everybody to be able to realize their full 
potential. And so a better America is going to come when our public 
schools get better, and they are. They are.
    Another way to make sure America is a better place is to surround 
people with love. The Government is not a loving organization, however. 
[Laughter] Government is law and justice. Love comes from the hearts and 
souls of our fellow citizens. Love is found in our churches and mosques 
and synagogues. Love is found in those kind of daily acts of kindness 
that take place all the time not because of governmental law, because--
many times because of a higher law. And it happens in America every 
single day. The strength of this country is the hearts and souls of the 
American people, and a President must understand that.
    And so we started what I call the Community and Faith-Based 
Initiative, which says we're going to open up Federal monies to 
applications for grants from faith-based organizations. I mean, if you 
want somebody to quit drinking, sometimes you have to change his heart 
and therefore change his behavior. Not every time--it doesn't have to 
happen every time. But a lot of times, if you change a person's heart, 
good chance they're going to change their behavior. And faith-based 
organizations are pretty good at changing hearts. That's why they exist, 
isn't it? And so Government must be willing to allow faith-based 
programs to access Federal money without causing the faith-based program 
to change their mission. How can you practice to be a faith-based 
program if you cannot practice your faith?
    And so what I'm telling you is, is that part of a changing and 
better America is for Government to understand--or for the person, for 
the President to understand the true strength of the country and be 
willing to rally that strength. We're going to change America one heart 
at a time, one soul at a time, because the American people are so loving 
and so caring and so decent. And one of my jobs is to call upon that 
decency and to rally the armies of compassion.
    Listen, I am honored that you came out and given me a chance to 
share with you my vision for a safer, stronger, better America. I'm here 
asking for the vote. I'm working for the vote, because I have something 
to do. I've got a reason to serve. There are things I want to do to make 
this country the greatest country it can possibly be. It's a honor to 
serve America. Thank you for coming, and may God bless you all.

Note: The President spoke at 3:16 p.m. in the warehouse at Lapp 
Electrical Service, Inc. In his remarks, he referred to Charles W. Dent 
and Scott Paterno, candidates for Pennsylvania's 15th and 17th 
Congressional Districts, respectively; former President Saddam Hussein 
of Iraq; Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, who was found dead in Baghdad, 
Iraq, on August 19, 2002; senior Al Qaida associate Abu Musab Al 
Zarqawi; Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan; and Prime Minister 
Ayad al-Alawi of the Iraqi Interim Government. This item was not 

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