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George W. Bush On Freedom and Democracy

What are George W. Bush's views on these staples of U.S. political rhetoric?

September 2, 2004

What are George W. Bush's views on these staples of U.S. political rhetoric?

References to freedom and democracy have been a staple of U.S. political rhetoric for centuries. Following 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, President George W. Bush has often invoked the importance of protecting freedom and democracy in the United States — and spreading it abroad. Our Read My Lips feature examines the president's views.

Why is spreading democracy particularly important today?

“The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world.”

(May 2003)

How does democracy discourage people from turning to terrorism?

“Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope.”

(May 2003)

Why have you given America the responsibility of leading the war on terrorism?

“Humanity holds in its hands the opportunity to further freedom’s triumph over age-old foes. The United States welcomes its responsibility to lead in this great mission.”

(September 2002)

Is spreading democracy America's calling?

“The advance of freedom is the calling of our time. It is the calling of our country.”

(November 2003)

Why are you so determined to bring democracy to the Arab world — almost at any cost?

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe — because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.”

(November 2003)

What made it necessary for the United States to play the role it did in Iraq?

“We are the heirs of the tradition of liberty, defenders of freedom — the conscience and dignity of every person.”

(February 2004)

Was bringing democracy to Iraq worth a war?

“The path to freedom may not always by neat and orderly — but it is the right of every person and every nation.”

(April 2003)

Why did you believe you had the support of the American people at the start of the Iraq War?

“America seeks more than the defeat of terror: We seek the advance of human freedom in a world at peace.”

(January 2003)

Why should the U.S. intervention in Iraq not be viewed as self-serving?

“After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies. We left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom.”

(April 2003)

How critical is the success of democracy in Iraq?

“The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.”

(November 2003)

Why did many Iraqis fail to embrace their new liberty?

“It’s going to take more than 90 to 100 days for people to recognize the great joys of freedom and the responsibilities that come with freedom.”

(July 2003)

Finally, how does U.S. homeland security relate to freedom in the international sphere?

“America has always been less secure when freedom is in retreat. America is always more secure when freedom is on the march.”

(June 2004)