By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
Nov. 1, 2007 - Vice President Richard B. Cheney today emphasized the importance of victory in Iraq and urged continued support for the men and women in uniform. Speaking to about 300 people in Indianapolis at the Indiana War Memorial before the opening of an American Legion conference, the vice president urged vigilance in standing up to terrorists who seek to destroy all that America and the rest of the free world stand for.
"Through acts of stealth and murder and spectacular violence, they intend to frighten us and break our will (and) to hit us again and again until we run away," he told the attendees, many of them veterans and members of the Indiana National Guard.
Cheney pointed to "enormous changes" made since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to better protect the United States and its people against another attack. "But we cannot protect the nation, much less win a war, by simply bracing for another attack," he said.
Cheney cited President Bush's decision "to marshal all the elements of strategic power to confront the extremists, to deny them safe haven, and above all, to deny them the means to wage catastrophic attacks against us."
"We've also made clear that, in the post-9/11 era, regimes that harbor terror and defy the demands of the civilized world should be held to account," he said.
The vice president said he supports U.S. intelligence programs that have produced intelligence that's prevented additional terrorist attacks. He defended CIA interrogation practices against terror suspects. "Our government has taken careful but urgent steps to monitor the communications of enemies at large and to get information from the ones that we have apprehended," he said.
"We've respected civil liberties and upheld the high standards of this great country. And because we've been focused, because we've refused to let down our guard, we've gone more now than six years without another 9/11."
Cheney said the war on terror is more than a contest of arms or a test of will. "It is a battle of ideas," he said, noting that to prevail, the United States must help remove the conditions that inspired violent extremists like those who planned and launched the Sept. 11 attacks.
Cheney praised the troops and urged public support for them and their families as they stand on the front lines in the war on terror guarding against another attack on the United States. He noted the sacrifices they've made, noting the exceptional sacrifice made by Army Staff Sgt. Richard Blakley, an Indiana National Guard soldier killed in Iraq. "He gave his life for his country, and his country will always honor him," Cheney said.
"War is an unpleasant business. It tires the soul of a nation and tests the will of its people," Cheney said.
He urged patience for "a long struggle" that continues in the war on terror. "The day will come when the threat hanging over the civilized world has been lifted," he said, urging attendees to take the message to their communities that persistence will achieve that victory.
"Because all of you are leaders in your communities, your very help is important as we remind fellow citizens of the nature of our broader war on terror, the stakes for our country, and the need for a systematic effort to win decisive victory," he said.
"Above all, you can remind your fellow citizens that the purposes America serves are good purposes," he said. "The United States is decent, honorable and generous, and so are the people who wear its uniform."
Cheney praised U.S. servicemen and women and urged continued support for them. "Right now, members of America's armed forces are serving in countries around the globe –- from the broader Middle East, to Europe, to Southeast Asia, to Latin America, to Africa," he said. "Every day they confront the violent, protect the weak, heal the sick, and bring hope to the oppressed.
"We live in a dangerous world, but it's a world made far better by the active, committed presence of the United States," he concluded. "Our cause is freedom. That cause is right. And by the valor of those who serve it, that cause will prevail."