Home > 2004 Presidential Documents > pd29mr04 Telephone Remarks to the South Boston Saint Patrick's Day Breakfast...

pd29mr04 Telephone Remarks to the South Boston Saint Patrick's Day Breakfast...


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    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I'm all for united action, and so are our 34 
coalition partners in Iraq right now. Yet America must never outsource 
America's national security decisions to the leaders of other countries.
    Some are skeptical that the war on terror is really a war at all. 
Senator Kerry said, and I quote, ``The war on terror is far less of a 
military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering, law 
enforcement operation.''
    Audience members. Boo-o-o!
    The President. I disagree--I disagree. Our Nation followed this 
approach after the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993. The matter was 
handled in the courts and thought by some to be settled. The terrorists 
were still training in Afghanistan. They were still plotting in other 
nations. They were still drawing up more ambitious plans.
    After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough 
to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the 
terrorists and supporters declared war on the United States of America, 
and war is what they got.
    Our men and women in the military are taking great risks, and 
they're doing great work. At bases across our country and the world, 
I've had the privilege of meeting with those who defend our country and 
sacrifice for our security. I've seen their great decency and unselfish 
courage. And I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, the cause of 
freedom is in good hands.
    This Nation is prosperous and strong, yet we need to remember that 
our greatest strength is in the hearts and souls of our fellow citizens. 
We're strong because of the values we try to live by, courage and 
compassion, reverence and integrity. We are strong because of the 
institutions that help give us direction and purpose, families and 
schools and religious congregations. These values and institutions are 
fundamental to our lives, and they deserve the respect of our 
Government.

[[Page 443]]

    We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based groups so they can 
receive Federal support for their works of compassion and healing. We 
will not stand for discrimination by the Federal Government against 
people of faith.
    We stand for welfare reforms that require work and strengthen 
marriage, which have helped millions of Americans find their 
independence and dignity. We will not stand for any attempt to weaken 
those reforms and send people back into lives of dependence.
    We stand for a culture of life in which every person counts and 
every person matters. We will not stand for the treatment of any life as 
a commodity to be experimented upon or exploited or cloned.
    We stand for the confirmation of judges who strictly and faithfully 
interpret the law. We will not stand for judges who undermine democracy 
by legislating from the bench or judges who try to remake the values of 
America by court order.
    We stand for a culture of responsibility in America. It's the 
culture of a country that's changing from one that has said, ``If it 
feels good, do it,'' and ``If you've got a problem, blame somebody 
else,'' to a culture in which each of us understands we are responsible 
for the decisions we make in life. If you are fortunate enough to be a 
mother or a father, you're responsible for loving your child with all 
your heart. If you're worried about the quality of the education in the 
community in which you live, you're responsible for doing something 
about it. If you're a CEO in corporate America, you're responsible for 
telling the truth to your shareholders and your employees. And in the 
responsibility society, each of us is responsible for loving our 
neighbor, just like we'd like to be loved ourselves.
    For all Americans, these years in our history will always stand 
apart. There are quiet times in the life of a nation when little is 
expected of the leaders. This is not one of those times. You and I are 
living in a period when the stakes are high, challenges are difficult, a 
time when resolve is needed.
    None of us will ever forget that week when one era ended and another 
began. On September the 14th, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin 
Towers. I'll never forget that day. One guy pointed at me and said, 
``Don't let me down.'' Workers in hardhats were shouting, ``Whatever it 
takes.'' And as we all did that day, these men and women searching 
through the rubble took it personally. I took it personally. I have a 
responsibility that goes on. I will never relent in bringing justice to 
our enemies. I will defend the security of America, whatever it takes.
    In these times, I've also been witness to the character of this 
Nation. Not so long ago, some had their doubts about the American 
character, our capacity to meet serious challenges or to serve a cause 
greater than self-interest. But Americans have given their answer. I've 
seen the unselfish courage of our troops. I've seen the heroism of 
Americans in the face of danger. I've seen the spirit of sacrifice and 
compassion renewed in our country. We've all seen our country unite in 
common purpose when it mattered most.
    We'll need all these qualities for the work ahead. We have a war to 
win. The world is counting on us to lead the cause of freedom and peace. 
We have a duty to spread opportunity to every corner of America. With 
your help, we're going to share our message of optimism and national 
strength with every voter in the State of Florida.
    I'm looking forward to this campaign ahead. I'm going to give it my 
all. And I'm counting on you all to do the same. Talk to your friends. 
Talk to your neighbors. Get out the word. Ask people to join our cause 
to participate in democracy. With you at my side, there is no doubt in 
my mind we're headed to a victory on November the second.
    Thank you for coming. God bless. Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 12:14 p.m. at the Orange County Convention 
Center. In his remarks, he referred to Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, and his 
wife, Columba; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California; Lt. Gov. Toni 
Jennings of Florida; Tom Gallagher, chief financial officer, Florida 
Department of Financial Services; country music entertainer Billy Ray 
Cyrus; musical group The Katinas; pro football Hall of Fame receiver 
Lynn C. Swann; Al Hoffman, finance chairman, Republican National 
Committee; and former President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

[[Page 444]]


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 444]
 
Monday, March 29, 2004
 
Volume 40_Number 13
Pages 437	488
 
Week Ending Friday, March 26, 2004
 
Telephone Remarks to the South Boston Saint Patrick's Day Breakfast

March 21, 2004

    The President. Senator, this would be your President calling.
    State Senator Jack Hart. President Bush, President Bush is on the 
line. How about a nice round of applause for President Bush? Happy Saint 
Patrick's Day. What an honor.
    The President. Yes, same to you, Jack. Thanks for letting me call 
in. I appreciate you taking my call.
    Senator Hart. Any time, Mr. President, we'll take your call any 
time, for crying out loud.
    The President. Well, I'm proud of that. Listen, I want to thank 
Father Casey. I presume he's got quite a few souls to save there in that 
crowd. [Laughter]
    Senator Hart. There's quite a few Democratic souls to save in this 
hall, Mr. President.
    The President. I know you've got one--you invited at least one 
Republican, and that's my friend the Governor.
    Senator Hart. Yes, yes, he's here. Mitt Romney is here. We were 
going to ask you, Mr. President, do you need a running mate? [Laughter]
    The President. Wait a minute.
    Senator Hart. We like Dick Cheney and all, but we'd like for you to 
take the Governor to Washington, DC. [Laughter]
    The President. Look, you're lucky to have the guy. Here's the way I 
like to put it about Massachusetts: I know there's a lot of talk about a 
Massachusetts politician who has his eye on the Presidency. But tell 
Mitt it's not open until 2008. [Laughter]
    Senator Hart. Oh, you're talking about--you had me stumped for a 
second there. You're talking about Senator Kerry, of course.
    The President. Oh, no, no.
    Senator Hart. Oh, my goodness.
    The President. You mean the--well, never mind. [Laughter]
    I want to thank the Lieutenant Governor. I want to thank the speaker 
and the senate president. I miss my days as being the Governor. I loved 
dealing with our Lieutenant Governor and speaker and members of the 
statehouse and the State senate. And I wish you all the very best. I 
know you're struggling with some big issues. But these are good, decent 
folks working for the people of Massachusetts to get some things done, 
and I appreciate, Jack, the spirit of this lunch.
    Senator Hart. Well, thank you very much. We are certainly honored 
that you called, and we respect the job that you're doing. We pray for 
you every day, Mr. President. You're a good man, and we just wanted to 
wish you a very, very happy Saint Patrick's Day.
    The President. Same to you, sir, and I wish everybody a happy Saint 
Patrick's Day as well. God bless, everybody. God bless our great Nation.

Note: The President spoke at 10:25 a.m. from the Residence at the White 
House to breakfast participants meeting in Boston, MA. In his remarks, 
he referred to Rev. Robert E. Casey, pastor, Saint Brigid's Catholic 
Church, Boston, MA; Gov. Mitt Romney and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey of 
Massachusetts; Thomas M. Finnerman, speaker, Massachusetts State house 
of representatives; and Robert E. Travaglini, president, Massachusetts 
State senate.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
                         

[Page 444-447]
 
Monday, March 29, 2004
 
Volume 40_Number 13
Pages 437	488
 
Week Ending Friday, March 26, 2004
 
Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Consolidated Report on 
the Deployment of United States Combat-Equipped Armed Forces

March 20, 2004

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. President:)

    In the interests of improving the efficiency of the reporting 
process and to increase the utility of reports to the Congress, 
consistent with the War Powers Resolution, I have decided to consolidate 
supplemental reports I provide to the Congress regarding the deployment 
of U.S. combat-equipped armed forces in a number of locations around the 
world. This consolidated report is part of my efforts to keep the 
Congress informed about such deployments and covers operations in 
support of the global war on terrorism (including in Afghanistan), 
Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Haiti. Operations in Iraq are a 
critical part of the war on terror, and it is my intention to continue 
to provide, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, information 
regarding the deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq in the reports to the 
Congress

[[Page 445]]

under Public Law 107-243 and Public Law 102-1, as amended.

The Global War on Terrorism

    Since September 24, 2001, I have reported, consistent with Public 
Law 107-40 and the War Powers Resolution, on the combat operations in 
Afghanistan against al-Qaida terrorists and their Taliban supporters, 
which began on October 7, 2001, and the deployment of various combat-
equipped and combat-support forces to a number of locations in the 
Central, Pacific, and Southern Command areas of operation in support of 
those operations and of other operations in our global war on terrorism.
    United States efforts in the campaign in Afghanistan continue to 
meet with success, but as I have stated in my previous reports, the U.S. 
war on terror will be lengthy. United States Armed Forces, with the 
assistance of numerous coalition partners, continue to conduct the U.S. 
campaign to eliminate the primary source of support to the terrorists 
who viciously attacked our Nation on September 11, 2001. These 
operations have been successful in seriously degrading al-Qaida's 
training capability and virtually eliminating the Taliban's ability to 
brutalize the Afghan people and to harbor and support terrorists. 
Pockets of al-Qaida and Taliban forces, however, remain a threat to U.S. 
and Coalition forces and to the Afghan government and Afghan people. 
United States, Coalition, and Afghan forces are actively pursuing and 
engaging remnant Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.
    The United States continues to detain several hundred al-Qaida and 
Taliban fighters who are believed to pose a continuing threat to the 
United States and its interests. The combat-equipped and combat-support 
forces deployed to Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay,
    Cuba, in the U.S. Southern Command area of operations since January 
2002, continue to conduct secure detention operations for the 
approximately 610 enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay.
    In furtherance of the U.S. worldwide efforts against terrorists who 
pose a continuing and imminent threat to the United States, our friends 
and allies, and our forces abroad, the United States continues to work 
with friends and allies in areas around the globe. For example, combat-
equipped and combat-support forces deployed to Georgia to assist in 
training and equipping the Georgian government's forces will be 
completing their task in May 2004. United States combat-equipped and 
combat-support forces are also located in Djibouti. The U.S. forces 
headquarters element in Djibouti provides command and control support as 
necessary for military operations against al-Qaida and other 
international terrorists in the Horn of Africa region, including Yemen. 
These forces also assist in enhancing counterterrorism capabilities in 
Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Eritrea, and Djibouti. The United States is 
engaged in a continuous process of assessing options for working with 
other nations to assist them in this respect.
    Additionally, the United States continues to conduct maritime 
interception operations on the high seas in the U.S. Central, European, 
and Pacific Command areas of responsibility. These maritime operations 
have recently expanded into the U.S. Southern and Northern Command areas 
of responsibility to stop the movement, arming, or financing of 
international terrorists.
    It is not possible to know at this time either the duration of 
combat operations or the scope and duration of the deployment of U.S. 
Armed Forces necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United 
States. I will direct additional measures as necessary in the exercise 
of the U.S. right to self-defense and to protect U.S. citizens and 
interests. Such measures may include short-notice deployments of special 
operations and other forces for sensitive operations in various 
locations throughout the world.

NATO-Led Kosovo Force (KFOR)

    As noted in previous reports regarding U.S. contributions in support 
of peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, most recently on November 14, 2003, 
the U.N. Security Council authorized member states to establish KFOR in 
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 of June 10, 1999. The mission of 
KFOR is to provide an international security presence in order to deter 
renewed hostilities; verify, and, if necessary, enforce the terms

[[Page 446]]

of the Military Technical Agreement between NATO and the Federal 
Republic of Yugoslavia (which is now Serbia and Montenegro); enforce the 
terms of the Undertaking on Demilitarization and Transformation of the 
former Kosovo Liberation Army; provide day-to-day operational direction 
to the Kosovo Protection Corps; and maintain a safe and secure 
environment to facilitate the work of the U.N. Interim Administration 
Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
    Currently, there are 18 NATO nations contributing to KFOR in 
addition to the 18 non-NATO nations that provide forces. The U.S. 
contribution to KFOR in Kosovo is about 1,900 U.S. military personnel, 
or approximately 11 percent of KFOR's total strength of approximately 
17,500 personnel. Additionally, U.S. military personnel occasionally 
operate from Macedonia, Albania, and Greece in support of KFOR 
operations. Eighteen non-NATO contributing countries also participate 

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