War, intervention, Western interests
On Thursday October 23, US President George Walker Bush addressed a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament in Canberra. He spoke of war, terrorism, US intervention and enforcement of collective security and US values — with an ever loyal Australia at its side. The following is an edited version of his speech. Some five months ago your Prime Minister was a distinguished visitor to our ranch in Crawford, Texas. You might remember that I called him a man of steel. That is Texan for "fair dinkum". Prime Minister John Howard is a leader of exceptional courage who exemplifies the finest qualities of one of the world's greatest democracies. I am proud to call him "friend". In 100 years of experience, American soldiers have come to know the courage and good fellowship of the diggers at their side. We fought together in the Battle of Hamel, in the Coral Sea, in New Guinea, on the Korean Peninsula and in Vietnam. And, in the war on terror, once again we are at each other's side. In this war, the Australian and American people have witnessed the methods of the enemy. We saw the scope of their hatred on September 11, 2001. We saw the depth of their cruelty on October 12, 2002. We saw destruction and grief — and we saw our duty. Your nation and mine have known the shock and felt the sorrow and laid the dead to rest, and we refuse to live our lives at the mercy of murderers. The nature of the terrorist threat defines the strategy we are using to fight it. These committed killers will not be stopped by negotiations. They will not respond to reason. The terrorists cannot be appeased. They must be found, they must be fought and they must be defeated. The terrorists hide and strike within free societies, so we are draining their funds, disrupting their plans and finding their leaders. The skilled work of Thai, Indonesian and other authorities in capturing the terrorist Hambali — suspected of planning the murders in Bali and other attacks — was a model of the determined campaign we are waging. The terrorists seek safe harbour to plot and to train, so we are holding the allies of terror to account. America, Australia and other nations acted in Afghanistan to destroy the home base of al-Qaida and rid that country of a terror regime. And the Afghan people, especially the Afghan women, do not miss the bullying, the beatings and the public executions at the hands of the Taliban. The terrorists hope to gain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons — the means to match their hatred. So we are confronting outlaw regimes that aid terrorists, that pursue weapons of mass destruction and that defy the demands of the world. Today, Saddam Hussein's regime is gone, and no-one should mourn its passing. In the months leading up to our action in Iraq, Australia and America went to the United Nations. We are committed to multi-lateral institutions, because global threats require a global response. We are committed to collective secur-ity, and collective security requires more than solemn discussions and sternly worded pronouncements. It requires collective will. The res-olutions of the world are to be more than ink on paper. They must be enforced. Must enforce security If the institutions of the world are to be more than debating societies, they must eventually act. If the world promises serious consequences for the defiance of the lawless, then serious consequences must follow. Because we enforced resolution 1441 and used force in Iraq as a last resort, there is one more free nation in the world and all free nations are more secure. Members and Senators, with decisive victories behind us we have decisive days ahead. We cannot let up on our offensive against terror even a bit. We must continue to build stability and peace in the Middle East and Asia as the altern-atives to hatred and fear. We seek the rise of freedom and self-government in Afghanistan and in Iraq for the benefit of their people, as an example to their neighbours and for the security of the world. America and Australia are helping the people of both those nations to defend themselves, to build the institutions of law and democracy and to establish the beginnings of free enterprise. These are difficult tasks in civil societies racked by years of tyranny. It should surprise no-one that the remnants and advocates of tyranny should fight liberty's advance. The advance of liberty will not be halted. The terrorists in the Taliban and Saddam hold-outs are desperately trying to stop our progress. They will fail. The people of Afghanistan and Iraq measure progress every day. They are losing the habits of fear and they are gaining the habits of freedom. Some are sceptical about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East and wonder if its culture can support free institutions. In fact, freedom has always had its sceptics. Some doubted that Japan and other Asian countries could ever adopt the ways of self-government. The same doubts have been heard at various times about Germans and Africans. At the time of the Magna Carta, the English were not considered the most promising recruits for democracy. To be honest, sophisticated observers had serious reservations about the scruffy travellers who founded our two countries. Every milestone of liberty was considered impossible before it was achieved. In our time we must decide our own belief: either freedom is the privilege of an elite few or it is the right and capacity of all humanity. By serving our ideals we also serve our interests. If the Middle East remains a place of anger and hopelessness and incitement, this world will tend toward division and chaos and violence. Only the spread of freedom and hope in the Middle East in the long term will bring peace to that region and beyond. The liberation of more than 50 million Iraqis and Afghans from tyranny is progress to be proud of. Our nations must also confront the immediate threat of proliferation. We cannot allow the growing ties of trade and the forces of globalisation to be used for the secret transport of lethal materials. Pacific responsibility So our two countries are joining together in the Proliferation Security Initiative. We are preparing to search planes, ships, trains and trucks carrying suspect cargo, to seize weapons or missile shipments that raise proliferation concerns. Last month Australia hosted the first maritime interdiction exercise in the Coral Sea. Australia and the United States are also keeping pressure on Iran to conform to the letter and the spirit of its non-proliferation obligations. We are working together to convince North Korea that the continued pursuit of nuclear weapons will bring only further isolation. The wrong weapons, the wrong technology in the wrong hands, have never been so great a danger and we are meeting that danger together. Our nations have a special responsibility throughout the Pacific to help keep the peace, to ensure the free movement of people, capital and information, and to advance the ideals of democracy and freedom. America will continue to maintain a foreign presence in Asia and continue to work closely with Australia. Today America and Australia are working with Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and other nations to expand trade and to fight terror — to keep the peace, including peace in the Taiwan straits. Your country is hosting President Hu Jintao. Australia's agenda with China is the same as my country's. We are encouraged by China's co-operation in the war on terror. We are working with China to ensure the Korean Peninsula is free of nuclear weapons. We see a China that is stable and prosperous, a nation that respects the peace of its neighbours and works to secure the freedom of its own people. Security in the Asia-Pacific region will always depend on the willingness of nations to take responsibility for their neighbourhood, as Australia is doing. Your service and your sacrifice helped to establish a new government and a new nation in East Timor. In working with New Zealand and other Pacific island states you are helping Solomon Islands re-establish order and build a just government. By your principled actions Australia is leading the way to peace in South-East Asia, and America is grateful. Together my country, with Australia, is promoting greater economic opportunity. Our nations are now working to complete a US-Australia free trade agreement that will add momentum to free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region while producing jobs in our own countries. The relationship between America and Australia is vibrant and vital. Together we will meet the challenges and the perils of our own time. In the desperate hours of another time, when the Philippines was on the verge of falling and your country faced the prospect of invasion, General Douglas MacArthur addressed members of the Australian Parliament. He spoke of a code that unites our two nations, the code of free people, which, he said "embraces the things that are right and condemns the things that are wrong". More than 60 years later, that code still guides us. We call evil by its name. We stand for freedom that leads to peace. Our alliance is strong. We value more than ever the unbroken friendship between the Australian and the American peoples.