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