Bush’s speech, transcript & video. Here, he acknowledges feelings the pundits often try to quantify, but moves on to a firm conclusion:
There’s always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. This would be a pleasant world, but it’s not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday’s brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory.
He sets out the time line; notes that Russia’s unwillingness to join in our cause did not mean that the children of Beslan were spared. Then he moves on to frame the conflict in terms of old ones. This may not work perfectly, but clearly we won’t be able, I think, to define this well until we are – I hope – through it. This is not the same as communism nor as WWII nor . . . But we have heard the voice of the killer of Van Gogh – and we have heard that voice over and over in the past. We understand that frame, the one he uses:
The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, “what is good for them and what is not.” And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his — that this is the road to paradise — though he never offers to go along for the ride.
Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We’ve seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, and Margaret Hassan, and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim’s grieving mother and said, “I do not feel your pain — because I believe you are an infidel.” And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.