Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bush : We're Winning The War On Terror...In The Asia Pacific Region

The Melbourne Age has run an edited version of President Bush's speech to the APEC summit yesterday as a short column. It's a positive to see that Bush is talking about using education and lifting people out of positive as a way to combat extremist ideologies, instead of just "kicking ass" :
The fight against the terrorists in this region is one of the untold success stories in the war on terror and the rest of the world could learn from the approach that has been taken to fight the extremists. The two most dangerous terrorist networks in this region are a group called Jemaah Islamiah, or JI, and a Filipino terrorist group called Abu Sayyaf.

Nations in the Asia Pacific understand the threat posed by these groups and together we're following a clear strategy to defeat them. First, we must do everything we can to bring them to justice so they don't kill the innocent. Nations in the Asia Pacific have arrested and killed key leaders and operatives in networks.

Second, nations in the Asia Pacific are providing economic assistance to struggling communities where the terrorists operate. The reason we do this is we want to strengthen moderate leaders and give citizens in these communities alternatives to the path of radicalism and violence. For example, in Indonesia the Government is working with the United States to implement a $US157 million ($A189 million) initiative to improve basic education in 1500 public and private schools.

Third, the nations in the Asia Pacific are increasing regional co-operation in the fight against terrorism. Malaysia and the US have established a regional counter-terrorism training centre in Kuala Lumpur. There are law enforcement training centres in Jakarta and Bangkok that are improving the capabilities of security forces from across this region. Finally, nations in the Asia Pacific are working to defeat the terrorists' hateful ideology.

Our enemies have a vision that is narrow because it despises freedom, it rejects tolerance, it crushes all dissent. And they have goals. They want to impose this ideology as far and wide as possible. I believe that in the interest of peace we must promote an alternative vision based on human dignity and human liberty — a hopeful vision, a vision that is far stronger than the dark appeal of resentment and murder. And that's precisely what we're doing, and that's exactly what leaders here in the Asia Pacific region are doing.

These and other efforts are making a difference, (but) there's more work to be done here. We must work for the day when the people of North Korea enjoy the same freedoms as the citizens of their democratic neighbours. We must press the regime in Burma to stop arresting and harassing and assaulting pro-democracy activists for organising or participating in peaceful demonstrations. The Burmese regime must release these activists immediately. It must stop its intimidation of these citizens who are promoting democracy and human rights. It must release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

We'll continue to work with nations like Russia to advance our shared interests while encouraging Russia's leaders to respect the checks and balances that are essential to democracy. We'll work with China, but as we do so, we'll never shy away from expressing our deepest-held values that each person has human dignity, and that we believe strongly in liberty. And finally, we look forward to free and fair elections in Thailand.

These are important steps — and now we must build on them by forging new regional institutions to encourage the continued expansion of freedom in this vital part of the world. And so this week, the US is proposing the creation of a new Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership. Through this partnership, free nations will work together to support democratic values, strengthen democratic institutions and assist those who are working to build and sustain free societies across the Asia Pacific region.

The lesson of freedom's advance in the Asia Pacific region is this: the desire for liberty is universal, written by our Creator into the hearts of every man, woman and child. Whenever they're given a chance, whenever they're given an opportunity, the people of every culture and every religion choose freedom over oppression.

By providing security in Iraq, we're creating conditions that allow people to reconcile. It's hard for people to come together after years of tyranny, particularly since the brutal dictator did all he could to divide society to stay in power. It's hard to imagine what it is like to recover — psychologically recover — from life under a thug like Saddam Hussein. But that's what's happening. And they need time to do so. And they need the security necessary to do so.

We're going to succeed in Iraq. Given a chance, liberty will succeed every time, and liberty will help yield the peace we need