The State of A Different Union
An excerpt from a State of the Union speech that we won't hear...
My fellow Americans, the attacks of September 11, 2001 showed us that we are vulnerable to terrorists seeking to destroy our way of life. I believe that extraordinary measures were necessary in order to ensure that we do a better job of protecting the American people from further attacks. Some of these measures have come under scrutiny by people who love our country as much as I do. These people suggest that our measures have gone so far as to encroach on the civil liberties of Americans. I don’t believe that we have done that. But I believe that is important that all Americans are united in our war on terror. I am therefore directing that a bi-partisan commission be established to review our policies for conducting surveillance of American citizens. I expect a full report to be presented to me by Independence Day 2006, the 230th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
I continue to believe that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq to be a critical component of our war on terror. It is true that some of our intelligence reports about Iraq were incorrect. These intelligence reports came on my watch and I accept full responsibility for them. Despite the errors in those reports, I nevertheless believe that our war in Iraq was the right decision. I stand by that decision and I accept full responsibility for the ramifications of that decision. I grieve for every American life that has been lost in Iraq and pray that history will show that their sacrifices paved the way for a better Iraq, and for a better America. Now that a democratic government has been established in Iraq, it is critical the the role of the American military be drastically scaled back so that the Iraqi people can rule themselves. I have directed that half of the troops in Iraq be brought home by the end of 2006, with the remainder to be withdrawn by the end of 2007. This will provide adequate support for the training of the Iraqi military and police forces and a smooth transition so that they will be fully able to maintain the peace in their country.
It breaks my heart that part of the legacy of the war in Iraq was the torture of Iraqi prisoners. I want to ensure that the well-known episodes of torture are never repeated. I have asked John McCain to personally advise me on changes that need to be made to our military operating procedures. I promise to implement his recommendations in their entirety.
Finally, my fellow Americans, I stand here in the belief that democratic governments represent the best way to, as our great constitution states in its preamble, “establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”. My support for the principles of democracy is absolute. Having said this, I am troubled by the victory of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections. Hamas policies directly conflict with the policies of the United States. Nevertheless, the Palestinian people have spoken, and we must respect their decision. I have asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to work with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the new Hamas-led Palestinian government, once formed, to move forward with our mission for peace in the Middle East.