President Bush sets the record straight

Here’s President Bush this morning, putting the current crisis in the Middle East back into perspective:

“As we work with friends and allies, it is important to remember this crisis began with Hezbollah’s unprovoked terrorist attacks against Israel. Israel is exercising its right to defend itself. And we mourn the loss of innocent life, both in Lebanon and in Israel. We’re determined to deliver relief to those who suffer; we’re determined to work to resolve this crisis.

“To achieve the peace that we want we must achieve certain clear objectives: Lebanon’s democratic government must be empowered to exercise sole authority over its territory. A multinational force must be dispatched to Lebanon quickly so we can help speed the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Lebanese people. Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon.

“This approach will make it possible what so many around the world want to see: the end of Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel, the return of the Israeli soldiers taken hostage by the terrorists, the suspension of Israel’s operations in Lebanon and the eventual withdrawal of Israeli forces.

“The current crisis is part of a larger struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror in the Middle East. For decades, the status quo in the Middle East permitted tyranny and terror to thrive. And as we saw on September the 11th, the status quo in the Middle East led to death and destruction in the United States, and it had to change. So America is opposing the forces of terror and promoting the cause of democracy across the broader Middle East.

This task is long, it is difficult work, but it is necessary work. (Applause.) When democracy spreads in the Middle East the people of that troubled region will have a better future. The terrorists will lose their safe havens and their recruits, and the United States of America will be more secure. The hard work of helping people realize the benefits of liberty is laying the foundation of peace for generations to come.”

George W. Bush, July 31, 2006