WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2006 – The advance of freedom will help protect the U.S. homeland, defeat terrorism and bring hope to people around the world, President Bush said yesterday. "Freedom has brought hope to millions, and it's helped foster the development of young democracies from Baghdad to Beirut," Bush said in his weekly radio address to the nation.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is part of a broader struggle between freedom and terror that is unfolding in the Middle East, he said. The president said it was not a coincidence that the two nations that are building free societies in the heart of the Middle East, Lebanon and Iraq, are also the scenes of the most violent terrorist activity.
"Forces of terror are seeking to stop liberty's advance and steer newly free nations to the path of radicalism," he said. "The terrorists fear the rise of democracy because they know what it means for the future of their hateful ideology." The way forward in the region will be difficult and will require sacrifice and resolve, he said. "But America's security depends on liberty's advance in this troubled region, and we can be confident of the outcome because we know the unstoppable power of freedom," he said.
The recently passed U.N. Security Council resolution will help bring an end to the violence and create a foundation for a sustainable peace, he said. The resolution calls for a robust international force to deploy to the southern part of Lebanon. "This force will help Lebanon's legitimate armed forces restore the sovereignty of its democratic government over all Lebanese territory and stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state," the president said.
The resolution also will enable both Lebanese and Israeli civilians to return home in safety and begin rebuilding their lives without fear of renewed violence and terror, he said. Bush also said the recently thwarted plot to bomb international commercial airplanes bound for the U.S. was a reminder that terrorists still want to strike the U.S. homeland.
"The terrorists remain determined to destroy innocent life on a massive scale, and we must be equally determined to stop them," Bush said.