Pursuing our enemies is a vital commitment of the war on terror, and I thank the Congress for providing our service men and women with the resources they have needed. During this time of war, we must continue to support our military and give them the tools for victory.
In the long term, the peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder. If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free nations for decades. The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror and replace hatred with hope is the force of human freedom. Our enemies know this, and that is why the terrorist Zarqawi recently declared war on what he called the "evil principle" of democracy. And we've declared our own intention: America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian Territories are now showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure. Tomorrow morning Secretary of State Rice departs on a trip that will take her to Israel and the West Bank for meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. She will discuss with them how we and our friends can help the Palestinian people end terror and build the institutions of a peaceful, independent, democratic state. To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach, and America will help them achieve that goal.
To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, the United States will work with our friends in the region to fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher standard of freedom. Hopeful reform is already taking hold in an arc from Morocco to Jordan to Bahrain. The Government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future. And the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.
Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. That country is a vital front in the war on terror, which is why the terrorists have chosen to make a stand there. Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq so we do not have to face them here at home. And the victory of freedom in Iraq will strengthen a new ally in the war on terror, inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, bring more hope and progress to a troubled region, and thereby lift a terrible threat from the lives of our children and grandchildren.
The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy and will continue to attack it. Yet the terrorists' most powerful myth is being destroyed. The whole world is seeing that the car bombers and assassins are not only fighting coalition forces; they are trying to destroy the hopes of Iraqis, expressed in free elections. And the whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn the will of the Iraqi people.
President Bush has confronted unprecedented challenges, including a world scarred by terrorism. The President and the American people have risen to the occasion by acting on a bold new statement of America's place and purpose in the world. Today, we are filled with hope for the most dramatic advance of liberty in 60 years. President Bush's leadership is rooted in the timeless values that have made America a unique and exalted nation: respect for individual rights; a deep commitment to freedom; a desire to serve as a living example of the power of democracy. The President's leadership has achieved successes once deemed impossible to realize in so short a period of time. His forward-looking strategy for freedom and peace is making progress in every part of the world. The President and Republicans in Congress recognize that new threats demand new tools and new methods for defending America and promoting our goals in the world. They have responded swiftly to the challenges of a new era, rather than remaining wedded to outdated theories and fighting battles that ended long ago. Their accomplishments are the foundation upon which future progress will be built.
Today, the dictator who caused decades of death and turmoil, who twice invaded his neighbors, who harbored terrorist leaders, who used chemical weapons on innocent men, women, and children, finally stands before the bar of justice. Iraq, which once had the worst government in the Middle East, is now becoming an example of reform to the region. Iraqi security forces are fighting beside coalition troops to defeat the terrorists and foreign fighters who threaten their nation and the world. Today, because America and our coalition helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we are helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, 25 million Iraqis are free and the American people are safer.
The road ahead for Afghanistan is still long and difficult. Yet the Afghan people can know that their country will never be abandoned to terrorists and killers. The world and the United States look forward to elections this year in Afghanistan and stand with the Afghan people as partners in their quest for peace and prosperity, stability, and democracy.
Under President Bush's leadership, the United States is working with responsible governments and international institutions to convince the leaders of North Korea and Iran that their nuclear weapons ambitions are deeply contrary to their own interests. With allies, America has launched the Broader Middle East Initiative, to encourage reform and democracy throughout the region, a project that will shape the history of our times for the better. Our nation is helping governments fight poverty and disease, so they do not become failed states and future havens for terror.
The Castro regime is an anachronism in a region where democracy and open markets prevail. The current political and economic crisis in Cuba reflects four decades of Castro's failed policies. The Cuban government rightfully remains on the State Department's Terrorist List due to its continued support for terrorism, including the harboring of fugitives from justice wanted in the United States for terrorism-related offenses. The Castro regime continues to pursue policies of Marxist-Leninist dictatorship, police state tactics, and total economic control. Because of these policies, the Castro regime remains hostile to America's interests and values.
American ties to the Philippines have been close for more than a hundred years. We Republicans have supported the victory of Filipino democracy and cherish our continuing friendship with this great nation and its people who have been by our side in war and in peace.
It is important to reaffirm that the war we wage against terrorists is not a battle of faiths. As the home to millions of Muslim believers, America welcomes the valuable role of Muslim leaders in promoting peace. We recognize that acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. We know that in this struggle against terrorism free nations have strong allies, of every faith, including millions of people in the Middle East who want to live in freedom. As Republicans, we share the President's conviction that if that region grows in democracy, prosperity, and hope, the terrorist movement will lose its sponsors, lose its recruits, and lose the festering grievances that keep terrorists in business.
We support President Bush's vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. However, as he observed in his remarks of June 24, 2002, for such a vision to become a reality, Palestinians need a new leadership, not compromised by terror. Like all other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their interests and listens to their voices. If Palestinians embrace democracy and the rule of law, confront corruption, and firmly reject terror, they can count on American support for the creation of a Palestinian state. The Bush Administration has been clear about the obligations of Arab nations in achieving peace in the Middle East.
In Iran, we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction, and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty, human rights, and democracy. The Iranian people have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny. We applaud President Bush's leadership in ensuring them that the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom, including by broadcasting uncensored information to the Iranian people nearly 24 hours a day. We also support the President's practice of forming policy toward Iran based on Iranian actions, not words, and applaud his Administration's progress in convincing America's friends and allies, most importantly in Europe, to join us in a firm, common approach to ending Iran's nuclear weapons programs. Under President Bush's leadership, the United States and our European allies are speaking as plainly as possible to the Iranians, making it absolutely clear that the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran is intolerable to the international community.
What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust. We will show them to be living symbols of racial hatreds, of terrorism and violence, and of the arrogance and cruelty of power. They are symbols of fierce nationalisms and of militarism, of intrigue and war-making which have embroiled Europe generation after generation, crushing its manhood, destroying its homes, and impoverishing its life. They have so identified themselves with the philosophies they conceived and with the forces they directed that any tenderness to them is a victory and an encouragement to all the evils which are attached to their names. Civilization can afford no compromise with the social forces which would gain renewed strength if we deal ambiguously or indecisively with the men in whom those forces now precariously survive. 2b1af7f3a8