February 26, 2003


Bush to say change in Iraq will have ripple effect (Steve Holland, 26 Feb 2003, Reuters)
President George W. Bush will say on Wednesday night that a change in government in Iraq will have a ripple effect in the Middle East and make it easier to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, White House officials said.

His speech to the American Enterprise Institute comes as Arab states are angry about the prospect of war, fearing it could destabilize the already volatile Middle East and further complicate the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. His words also could send a chill down the spines of some of the non-democratic leaders in the region.

In what the White House called a big-picture speech, Bush is to lay out a vision of the region in the event war is necessary to disarm Iraq of suspected weapons of mass destruction and topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush will say what the future may hold not only for Iraq but also the security of the region, "because the president believes that a free Iraq will lead to a more stable Mideast."

"He'll talk about how a different Iraq will make it easier to achieve peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians," he said.

C-SPAN will broadcast the speech at 7:10pm.

Russian Official: Country Will Back Second U.N. Resolution (Fox News)
Mexico Appears to Shift Stance on Iraq (DAFNA LINZER, Feb 26, 2003, Associated Press)

Mexico appeared to be the first among a handful of undecided U.N. Security Council members to shift toward the U.S. position on Iraq as Canada sought to find a middle ground among members split between disarming Saddam Hussein by force or giving weapons inspectors more time. [...]

The change in policy for Mexico -- one of the most outspoken supporters of continued weapons inspections instead of war, echoing French and German desires -- was first presented in a key address by Mexican President Vicente Fox on Tuesday and then outlined in a new and confidential foreign policy directive obtained by The Associated Press.

President Discusses the Future of Iraq in Speech at American Enterprise Institute (February 26, 2003, Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.)

Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before -- in the peace that followed a world war. 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. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. (Applause.) The nation of Iraq -- with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people -- is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom. (Applause.)

The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times. Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater politics participation, economic openness, and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward politics reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region. (Applause.)

It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that a whole region of the world -- or the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim -- is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same. For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror. (Applause.)

Success in Iraq could also begin a new stage for Middle Eastern peace, and set in motion progress towards a truly democratic Palestinian state. (Applause.) The passing of Saddam Hussein's regime will deprive terrorist networks of a wealthy patron that pays for terrorist training, and offers rewards to families of suicide bombers. And other regimes will be given a clear warning that support for terror will not be tolerated. (Applause.)

Without this outside support for terrorism, Palestinians who are working for reform and long for democracy will be in a better position to choose new leaders. (Applause.) True leaders who strive for peace; true leaders who faithfully serve the people. A Palestinian state must be a reformed and peaceful state that abandons forever the use of terror. (Applause.)

For its part, the new government of Israel -- as the terror threat is removed and security improves -- will be expected to support the creation of a viable Palestinian state -- (applause) -- and to work as quickly as possible toward a final status agreement. As progress is made toward peace, settlement activity in the occupied territories must end. (Applause.) And the Arab states will be expected to meet their responsibilities to oppose terrorism, to support the emergence of a peaceful and democratic Palestine, and state clearly they will live in peace with Israel. (Applause.)

The United States and other nations are working on a road map for peace. We are setting out the necessary conditions for progress toward the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. It is the commitment of our government -- and my personal commitment -- to implement the road map and to reach that goal. Old patterns of conflict in the Middle East can be broken, if all concerned will let go of bitterness, hatred, and violence, and get on with the serious work of economic development, and political reform, and reconciliation. America will seize every opportunity in pursuit of peace. And the end of the present regime in Iraq would create such an opportunity. (Applause.)

In confronting Iraq, the United States is also showing our commitment to effective international institutions. We are a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We helped to create the Security Council. We believe in the Security Council -- so much that we want its words to have meaning.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2003 4:42 PM

You know what I say about people (Canada) who try to find a middle ground on moral issues? I say they are immoral.

Posted by: Harry at February 26, 2003 11:45 PM

How pleasingly morally absolutist of you, Harry.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2003 9:18 AM