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pd24my04 Remarks at the Peace Officers Memorial Service...


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them: A free, prosperous, and secure Israel is in this Nation's national 
interest.
    AIPAC is doing important work. I hope you know that. In Washington 
and beyond, AIPAC is calling attention to the great security challenges 
of our time. You're educating Congress and the American people on the 
growing dangers of proliferation. You've spoken out on the threat posed 
by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. You've always understood and 
warned against the evil ambition of terrorism and their networks. In a 
dangerous new century, your work is more vital than ever. I thank you 
for doing your part in the cause of freedom.
    Our Nation and the nation of Israel have much in common. We're both 
relatively young nations, born of struggle and sacrifice. We're both 
founded by immigrants escaping religious persecution in other lands. We 
have both built vibrant democracies, built on the rule of law and market 
economies. And we're both countries founded on certain basic beliefs, 
that God watches over the affairs of men and values every life. These 
ties have

[[Page 915]]

made us natural allies, and these ties will never be broken.
    In the past, however, there was one great difference in the 
experience of our two nations: The United States, through most of our 
history, has been protected by vast oceans to our east and west and 
blessed with friendly neighbors to our north and south. Israel has faced 
a different situation as a small country in a tough neighborhood. The 
Israeli people have always had enemies at their borders and terrorists 
close at hand. Again and again, Israel has defended itself with skill 
and heroism. And as a result of the courage of the Israeli people, 
Israel has earned the respect of the American people.
    On September the 11th, 2001, Americans saw that we are no longer 
protected by geography from the dangers of the world. We experienced the 
horror of being attacked in our homeland, on our streets, and in places 
of work. And from that experience came an even stronger determination, a 
fierce determination to defeat terrorism and to eliminate the threat it 
poses to free people everywhere.
    Not all terrorist networks answer to the same orders and same 
leaders, but all terrorists burn with the same hatred. They hate all who 
reject their grim vision of tyranny. They hate people who love freedom. 
They kill without mercy. They kill without shame, and they count their 
victories in the death of the innocent.
    We saw the nature of this enemy again in recent days when terrorists 
in Iraq beheaded an American citizen, Nicholas Berg. The message that 
accompanied the videotape of this brutal slaying promised more such 
atrocities. Here's what the killer said: ``We will send you coffin after 
coffin, box after box, slaughtered in this way.'' The faces of the 
terrorists were cloaked, but we have seen their kind before.
    Followers of the terrorist ideology executed an elderly man in a 
wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, and pushed his body off the side of a ship 
into the sea. They kidnaped the journalist Daniel Pearl and cut his 
throat, because he was a Jew. This enemy has left blood on the streets 
of Jakarta and Jerusalem, Casablanca and Riyadh, Mombasa and Istanbul, 
Bali, Baghdad, and Madrid. They have declared war on the civilized 
world, and war is what they got.
    Freedom-loving people did not seek this conflict. It has come to us 
by the choices of violent men, hateful men. See, we seek peace. We long 
for peace. Israel longs for peace. America longs for peace. Yet, there 
can be no peace without defending our security. There is only one path 
to peace and safety. America will use every resource we have to fight 
and defeat these enemies of freedom.
    The lesson of September the 11th is clear and must never be 
forgotten. Emerging terrorist threats must be confronted before they can 
reach our country and harm our people. Every terrorist is at war with 
civilization, and every group or nation that aids them is equally 
responsible for the murders that the terrorists commit.
    So America has led a relentless global campaign against terrorists 
and their supporters. We're chasing them down one by one in caves and in 
shadows where they try to hide. We have uncovered terrorist cells on 
several continents. We've prevented a number of terrorist attacks. We've 
removed the Taliban regime, which sheltered the plotters of September 
the 11th. We have stopped shipments of chemical precursors and nuclear-
related--weapons-related components bound for states that sponsor 
terror. By speaking clearly and by meaning what we say, countries like 
Libya have gotten the message and have renounced their weapons programs.
    And for the sake of peace and security, we ended the regime of 
Saddam Hussein. That regime cast a shadow, a dark shadow of aggression 
over the Middle East for decades. They invaded both Iran and Kuwait. The 
regime built and used weapons of mass destruction against its neighbors 
and its own people. The regime sponsored terror and paid rewards of up 
to $25,000 to the families of Palestinian homicide bombers. That regime 
filled mass graves with innocent men, innocent women, and innocent 
children. That regime defied the demands of the free world and America 
for more than a decade. And America is more secure and the world is 
better off because that regime is no more.
    America is on the offensive, and we will stay on the offensive until 
the terrorists are stopped and our people are safe. I will use

[[Page 916]]

every asset at our disposal to do our most important job, which is to 
protect the American people. And that includes the United States 
military.
    We have come to know the skill and the courage of the men and women 
of the United States military. They have fulfilled every mission their 
country has given to them. They and their families have endured long 
deployments and uncertainty. Our men and women in uniform have fought in 
mountain passes and desert sands in the remotest part of the world. 
They've lost brave friends and comrades, who will always be remembered 
and honored by a grateful nation. They have done all this to defend our 
country and to advance the cause of freedom and peace. And their loved 
ones and those who wear our uniform must know that America is very 
grateful to their service.
    The peace we seek depends on defeating the violent. Yet, we also 
have a larger mission in the world. In the long term, we must end 
terrorist violence at its source by undermining the terrorist ideology 
of hatred and fear. Terrorists find influence and recruits in societies 
where bitterness and resentment are common and hope and opportunity are 
rare. The world's best hope for lasting security and stability across 
the Middle East is the establishment of just and free societies.
    And so across that vital region, America is standing for the 
expansion of human liberty. This historic task is not easy in a part of 
the world that has known so much oppression and stagnation and violence. 
It's hard work. Yet we must be strong in our firm belief that every 
human heart desires to be free. We must be strong in our belief that 
free societies are hopeful societies and peaceful societies.
    We have made progress that few would have predicted or expected just 
3 years ago. In Afghanistan, our coalition is working with President 
Karzai to help the people of Afghanistan build a modern, peaceful, and 
democratic government. In January, Afghans approved a new constitution 
that protects the right of all Afghan citizens, including women. Through 
weeks of negotiation and compromise, they agreed upon a fundamental law 
that respects tradition and establishes a foundation of modern political 
rights, including free speech, due process, and a vote for every 
citizen. We're making progress.
    In Iraq, Saddam's brutal dictatorship is gone, and in its place an 
Iraqi democracy is emerging. Iraqi leaders have signed a transitional 
administrative law that will guarantee basic freedoms. Iraq now has an 
independent judiciary, a free market, a new currency, more than 200 
newspapers in circulation, and schools free of hateful propaganda.
    It's hard work in Iraq. Our efforts are approaching a crucial 
moment. On June 30th, our coalition will transfer its authority to a 
sovereign Iraqi Government. With the assistance of the United Nations 
and our coalition, Iraqi citizens are currently making important 
decisions about the nature and scope of the interim government. In time, 
Iraq will be a free and democratic nation at the heart of the Middle 
East. This will send a message, a powerful message, from Damascus to 
Tehran that democracy can bring hope to lives in every culture. And this 
advance of freedom will bring greater security to America and to the 
world. These are historic times. It's an historic opportunity.
    Yet, as June 30th approaches, the enemies of freedom grow even more 
desperate to prevent the rise of democracy in Iraq. That's what you're 
seeing on your TV screens, desperation by a hateful few, people who 
cannot stand the thought of free societies in their midst. They're 
targeting brave Iraqis who are leading toward democracy, such as Izz al-
Din al-Salim, who was assassinated in Baghdad yesterday. They're 
murdering Iraqi policemen who stand as symbols of order. They're killing 
foreign aid workers who are helping to rebuild Iraq. They're attacking 
our military. Their goal is to undermine the will of our coalition and 
the will of America and to drive us out before our mission is complete. 
They're not going to succeed. They will not shake the will of America.
    My resolve is firm. The resolve of the American people is solid. Our 
military is skilled; spirits are high. They are determined to succeed. 
We understand the stakes are high for America and for the world. We will 
not be intimidated by thugs and assassins. We will win this essential, 
important victory in the war on terror.

[[Page 917]]

    This is an historic moment. The world watches for weakness in our 
resolve. They will see no weakness. We will answer every challenge. U.S. 
Army soldiers and Iraqi security forces are systematically destroying 
the illegal militia in the south of Iraq. Coalition forces are working 
with Iraqis in Fallujah to end control by Saddam loyalists and foreign 
fighters. We're building up Iraqi security forces so they can safeguard 
their own country. We're flexible in our methods, but our goal is 
unchanging. Iraq will be free, and Iraq will be a democratic nation.
    Freedom is also at the heart of our approach to bringing peace 
between Israel and the Palestinian people. The United States is strongly 
committed, and I am strongly committed, to the security of Israel as a 
vibrant Jewish state. Israel is a democracy and a friend and has every 
right to defend itself from terror.
    For the sake of peace, this country is committed to helping the 
Palestinian people establish a democratic and viable state of their own. 
Israel needs a truly responsible partner in achieving peace. The 
Palestinian people deserve democratic institutions and responsible 
leaders. Progress towards this vision creates responsibilities for 
Israel, the Palestinian people, and Arab nations. Before these two 
states--before there can be two states, all parties must renounce 
violence and fight terror.
    Security is the foundation for peace. All parties must embrace 
democracy and reform and take the necessary steps for peace. The 
unfolding violence in the Gaza Strip is troubling and underscores the 
need for all parties to seize every opportunity for peace. I supported 
the plan announced by Prime Minister Sharon to withdraw military 
installations and settlements from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. As I 
said in my statement on April 14, 2004, the Prime Minister's plan is a 
bold, courageous step that can bring us closer to the goal of two 
states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
    The Prime Minister's decision has given the Palestinian people and 
the free world a chance to take bold steps of their own toward peace. 
First, the Palestinian people must reject corrupt and failed leaders and 
insist on a leadership committed to reform and progress and peace. 
Second, they must renounce terror and violence that frustrate their 
aspirations and take so many innocent lives. And finally, by taking 
these steps, they will have an opportunity, a fantastic opportunity, to 
build a modern economy and create the institutions and habits of 
liberty. The Palestinian people deserve a better future, and that future 
can be achieved through democracy.
    Many in this room have worked and waited a lifetime for peace in the 
Holy Land. I hear that deep concern for peace. Our vision is a Middle 
East where young Israelis and Palestinians can play and learn and grow 
without living in the shadow of death. Our vision is a Middle East where 
borders are crossed for purposes of trade and commerce, not crossed for 
the purposes of murder and war. This vision is within our grasp if we 
have the faith and the courage and the resolve to achieve it.
    Perhaps the deepest obstacle to peace is found in the hearts of men 
and women. The Jewish people have seen, over the years and over the 
centuries, that hate prepares the way for violence. The refusal to 
expose and confront intolerance can lead to crimes beyond imagining. So 
we have a duty to expose and confront anti-Semitism wherever it is 
found.
    Some of you attended a very important event in Berlin last month, 
the International Conference on Anti-Semitism. You understand that anti-
Semitism is not a problem of the past. The hatred of Jews did not die in 
a Berlin bunker. In its cruder forms, it can be found in some Arab 
media, and this Government will continue to call upon Arab governments 
to end libels and incitements. Such hatred can also take subtler forms. 
The demonization of Israel, the most extreme anti-Zionist rhetoric can 
be a flimsy cover for anti-Semitism and contribute to an atmosphere of 
fear in which synagogues are desecrated, people are slandered, folks are 
threatened. I will continue to call upon our friends in Europe to 
renounce and fight any sign of anti-Semitism in their midst.
    We are living through historic times. We are called to do important 
work in the world. We will stand together against bigotry in

[[Page 918]]

every land and every language. We will answer violent men with patient, 
determined justice. We will expand human freedom and the peace that 
freedom brings. And by our resolve and by our courage, we will prevail.
    I want to thank you for your dedication to the security of America 
and to the safety of Israel. I want to thank you for your warm 
hospitality today. May God bless America. May God bless Israel. Thank 
you for coming. Thank you all for your time. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 8:53 a.m. at the Washington Convention 
Center. In his remarks, he referred to Amy Friedkin, president, board of 
directors, Bernice Manocherian, president-elect, and Howard Kohr, 
executive director, American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Prime 
Minister Ariel Sharon, Prime Minister (Acting) Ehud Olmert, and Deputy 
Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Yosef ``Tommy'' Lapid of Israel; 
American hostage Nicholas Berg, who was killed in Iraq in early May by 
senior Al Qaida associate Abu Musab Al Zarqawi; former President Saddam 
Hussein of Iraq; President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan; and Iraqi 
Governing Council President Izz al-Din al-Salim, who was killed in a 
suicide car bomb attack on May 17 in Baghdad.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
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[Page 918]
 
Pages 903	940
 
Week Ending Friday, May 21, 2004
 
Statement on Establishing the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force

May 18, 2004

    The Great Lakes are a national treasure that represents 20 percent 
of the world's fresh water. The Great Lakes region is an economic engine 
and recreational haven, and we are making great progress in protecting 
and restoring this vital natural resource.
    To build on that progress, today I am establishing the Great Lakes 
Interagency Task Force, chaired by EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. The 
Task Force will address environmental and natural resource issues of 
national concern and better coordinate the region's sustainable 
development and restoration. It will harness the collective efforts of 
the Federal Government, Governors, mayors, Members of Congress, tribes, 
and citizen stewards to ensure that the greatness of the lakes endures 
for generations. The Task Force will also consult with the Government of 
Canada on the most effective way forward on addressing past and current 
environmental impacts to the Great Lakes ecology.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
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[Page 918-920]
 
Pages 903	940
 
Week Ending Friday, May 21, 2004
 
Executive Order 13340--Establishment of Great Lakes Interagency Task 
Force and Promotion of a Regional Collaboration of National Significance 
for the Great Lakes

May 18, 2004

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and 
the laws of the United States of America, and to help establish a 
regional collaboration of national significance for the Great Lakes, it 
is hereby ordered as follows:

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