September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Congressional Record Senate Terrorism Will Not Win; October 23, 2001

TERRORISM WILL NOT WIN -- (Senate - October 23, 2001)

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Mr. DASCHLE. Madam President, I come to the Senate floor today to share with my colleagues a speech that former President Clinton gave earlier this month to the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives. It is an excellent speech that underscores a point many of us have made right here on this floor: the terrorists will not win, because we will not allow them to win.

If the terrorists thought they would succeed in dividing us, they need only read this strong endorsement of President Bush by President Clinton.

If the terrorists thought they could use terror to force us to withdraw from the world, they need only read this blueprint for greater U.S. engagement across the globe.

And, if the terrorists thought that they would get us to succumb to fear, they need only read this testament to the bravery shown by thousands of Americans since September 11.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that President Clinton's October 9, 2001 speech be printed in the RECORD.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:

Former President Clinton's Remarks at the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives

Thank you.

I never imagined that I could draw a crowd like this just because my wife is a senator. Well, Helen, you'll have a lot of mentions in the index. When I was told Helen Thomas was going to introduce me, I said, ``God, I hope she's doesn't get to ask a question.'' I thought her questions to me were term-limited. You know when Helen left the UPI, some reporters wrote that she had given up her front row seat at the White House press conferences. But it turned out not to be so. In a town where power is supposed to be vested in the office and not the individual, she is the exception to the rule: The only person powerful enough to quit her job and still keep her seat, and I am profoundly honored to be with her tonight. America is a better place today because of the 50-plus years she has given to the noble work of journalism.

Tonight, as we ask God's blessings on our men and women in uniform and their allies on their mission and pray that they return home safely, I thank the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives for going forward with this event, consistent with President Bush's request to us to go on with normal life in America.

Of course, it is not quite normal, and having been president and having been used to being second-guessed a bit, I want to make sure that anything I say here tonight about where we are and where we're going will be understood in the context of my complete support as an American for our president, his national security team and our allies in our efforts to deal with the challenges of terrorism.

Now, this bipartisan thing's getting down-right amazing. Last week Bob Dole and I taped a public service announcement. To--he did make sure I sat on the left and he sat on the right. To make America aware of the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund which has been established to raise $100 million for the children and spouses of those killed or disabled on September the 11th, including people from other nations. These people are going to make a big contribution to our national life in the years ahead if we make sure that we don't forget them, even in three, five, 10, 15 years. An amazing number of the men who died left wives who were pregnant. And this endeavor will therefore carry forward at least 21 years.

I thank the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives for assisting with a very special fund-raising event on October the 23rd from 5 to 7 at the Washington Hilton where President Gorbachev will be talking about the world after September the 11th. Attendance there will be free, but those attending are asked to bring a check payable to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund.

Thank you very much for supporting this effort.

Since September the 11th, I have spent a lot of time in New York with rescue and recovery workers, with survivors, with the families of the victims, with schoolchildren and their teachers, with people working to help people find answers and help people deal with their problems.

Today I attended the funeral of New York Fire Department Captain Fred Ill, a man who used to support my trips to New York as president. He was one of 10 firemen lost in one small firehouse in Midtown Manhattan and a remarkable man, who leaves a beautiful wife and three children, including a 22-year-old son who is New York fireman. The fire department, you know, is like a Medieval army. The generals lead the charge. They don't sit on a hill and direct. So after this terrible incident, we lost our fire chief and his top three deputies. We lost the Catholic chaplain who was a friend of Hillary's and mine. Over 300 firemen died and it required the New York Fire Department to promote over 200 of its firemen to fill the ranks of their superiors who went in first. But because they did, thousands and thousands of others who would have died did not.

After one person in the temple of our home town of Chappaqua perished, Hillary and I were invited to come to Rosh Hashanah service there. And I happened to meet one of those two amazing men who was on the 84th floor of the World Trade Center Tower, which was hit on the 85th floor. He immediately told everybody to get in the stairs and go down and then, with another man, carried a women in a wheelchair 84 floors to safety.

I have been to the crisis center, first at the old armory on 26th and Lex and now at Pier 94, three times. There a man came to me and said President Clinton, ``I'm glad to see you again. I first met you in Oklahoma City.'' And I said, ``How did we come to meet?'' He said, ``You came to console me. My wife was in the building and I lost her.'' And he said, ``The minute this happened, I took a leave of absence, got in my car and drove to New York because I had no one to talk to who knew what I was going through. And I thought maybe I could be there for these people.'' So he said, ``I just come in and sit here all day and the people who are working with the victims bring them to see me.''

I've met a lot of victims' families from all over the world and every conceivable group here in America. I met the British and the Germans and the Italians, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Bangladeshis. I've met people from several African countries, from Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean and elsewhere.

I've been in three schools, and two of them had double student bodies because the schools took in grade school kids in one case and high school kids in another who were blown out of their schools on September the 11th. One of these schools has a principal whose sister was killed at the World Trade Center. And she knew immediately that her sister might have been lost, but after her school was vacated, she walked five miles to the central office of the New York City school system to tell them that her children and teachers were well, and that as soon as they found them a building, they would conduct school again.

I have also had the great good fortune in the last few days of talking to people like you in Chicago, Los Angeles, El Paso, Little Rock and New Haven. And there are so many questions people have. You probably do too.

In the schools, the children want to know, the 9- and 10-year-olds, why do they hate us so much? How did bin Laden get all of these people to commit suicide anyway? If we hit them, won't they retaliate? The kind of things that you can't imagine a 9- or 10-year- old should ever have to think about. And I do my best to give them honest answers.

The men I talked with often speak with awe and admiration of what happened on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. We ask each other whether we would have had the guts to take it down too.

When my oldest friend in the world, Mack McClarty called me and asked me how I was doing, and I asked him how he was doing and whether we would have had the guts to take the plane down if we had been on it, he said, ``I think so and I sure hope so.''

The mothers I talked to--and an astonishing number of women that Hillary and I know who are mothers of young children, have called me. They just, almost uniformly say, ``Bill, is it going to be all right? Tell me it's going to be all right.''

Tonight I'd like to sort through those questions with you, and I'd like to make these points.

First of all, though neither I nor anyone can tell you there will not be another terrorist attack on American soil, it will be all right, if we unite behind the president and our allies to fight terror now, if we spread the benefits and shrink the burdens of the 21st century all across the globe, if we bring freedom today to people who don't have it, and if we continue our efforts to become the people we ought to be, the polar opposite of what the terrorists represent.

We saw that in the sacrifices of the men and women of the police and fire departments in New York. The terrorists died to kill people, and they died to save them.

Make no mistake about it, this conflict represents a fundamental struggle that will go on for the next few years to define the

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soul of the 21st-century world. Mr. bin Laden, the Taliban have one set of answers. America and all the people who have rallied to our side, we have another.

Here's how, at least I think about this question. Try to imagine yourself on September the 10th. If I had asked you on September the 10th, ``What do you believe is the dominant factor of the 21st-century world?'' what would you have answered?

If you're an optimist, you might have said, ``The globalization of the economy.'' After all, its lifted more people out of poverty in the last 20 years than have ever been lifted out in all of human history; brought America 22.5 million jobs, the lowest unemployment in 30 years; and brought benefits to people around the world.

If you're into technology, you might say, ``No, no, it was the explosion of information technology.'' Think about this, when I became president in January of 1993, there were only 50 sites on the World Wide Web--50.

Unbelievable. It was still the private province of research physicists. When I left office in January of 2001, there were 350 million. Today, 30 times as much--as many messages are sent by e-mail as by the postal service or what the kids call snail mail.

If you're interested in politics and society, you might say, ``No, it's the explosion of democracy and diversity within democracies.''

I was honored to be president when, for the first time in all of human history, more people lived under governments of their own choosing than every before. And America became wildly more diverse. And I might add, much more interesting as a consequence of it.

The children I saw in Lower Manhattan who were blown out of their schools, represented at least 80 different ethnic groups and many, many different religions.

Or you might say, ``No, it is the advances in science that will shape the early 21st century.'' We're going to find out what's in the black holes outer space. We're still finding new forms of life at the deepest points of our rivers and oceans.

The sequencing of the human genome, which was announced a couple of years ago, is going to enable us to give genetic profiles of young babies to mothers when they bring them home from the hospital. And really quite soon, countries with good health systems will be seeing babies born with life expectancies in excess of 90 years.

Scientists are working on digital chips to replicate the incredibly sophisticated nerve movements in the spines, raising the specter that we might be able to implant a chip at the base of the spine that will work like a heart pacemaker and enable people with damaged spines confined to wheelchairs to stand up and walk.

So you might say that will be the dominant thing in this new century.

On the other hand, if you're not much of an optimist, or if you're what Hillary refers to as the designated worrier in your family, you might mention negative things that you think are the dominant forces of the 21st century.

You might have said that environmental challenges will dominate the next 50 years and if not addressed they will swamp all these positive developments. Climate change, the water shortage, the deterioration of the oceans, nine of the hottest 11 years recorded since 1400 occurred in the last decade or so. If the Earth warms for the next 50 years at the rate of the last 10, we'll lose 50 feet of Manhattan island, the Florida Everglades I worked so hard to save, the sugar cane fields in Louisiana, several Pacific island nations, we will totally disrupt agricultural patterns all across the world and create tens of millions of food refugees meaning more fighting and more terrorism.

We have a terrible water shortage in the world. One in four people here today never get a clean glass of water. It also threatens agricultural production and the stability of life on the planet.

And, of course, the oceans provide most of our oxygen. There is now a dead space in the Gulf of New Mexico the size of New Jersey. And many people believe the deterioration of the oceans is a serious threat, which is one of the reasons we protected so much of the great coral reefs and the northern Hawaiian Islands and the coast there.

Or you might say, ``No, no, long before global warming gets us, the public health crisis will get us.'' The health systems are breaking down all over the world. And we're going to be awash in epidemics. AIDS is the beginning. There are now 36 million cases of AIDS in the world; 22 million people have died. If present trends continue, there will be 100 million AIDS cases in four years. And while 70 percent of today's cases are in Africa, the fastest growing rates are in the former Soviet Union, on Europe's back door. The second fastest growing rate is in the Caribbean on our front door. The third fastest growing rate is in India, the biggest democracy in the world with nearly a billion people. And the Chinese recently announced they have twice as many AIDS cases as had previously been thought, and tragically, only 4 percent of their adults know how the disease is contracted and spread. If that keeps going, it will be the biggest plague since the bubonic plague killed one-fourth of Europe in the 14th century.

Or you might say, ``President Clinton, you have got it all backwards. The global economy is not the positive development; it's the negative development, because Americans are getting rich, but half of the people in the world are still living on less than $2 a day.'' Think about that the next time you buy a cup of coffee. Half of the people in the world are living on less than $2 a day. A billion people are living on less than $1 a day. A billion people go to bed hungry every single night. One in four people die of AIDS, TB and malaria and complications from diarrhea every year. That's how--of all of the deaths in the world from wars, from terrorism, from heart attacks, from strokes, from accidents, one in four people die of AIDS, TB, malaria and complications from diarrhea, most of it little kids that never got a clean glass of water because they are poor. And it is projected that in the next 50 years the world's population will increase by 50 percent, almost all of it in the countries that are poorest and least able to handle it, creating a breeding ground for terrorists, who feel that they can recruit among the disposed.

Or even on September the 10th, if you'd been thinking about it a long time, you might have said, ``No, the thing that could shape the 21st century most is the marriage of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction and ancient racial, religious, ethnic and tribal hatreds.''

You might have pointed out that 700,000 people were killed in Rwanda, all innocents, with machetes in three months. Or that Bosnia, a country of only 6 million, lost 250,000 innocents in Milosevic's campaign of ethnic cleansing. Or that Kosovo had 1 million refugees created overnight.

Now here's the question I would like to ask you, since obviously all eight of these things probably had some resonance in reality for each of you. I mentioned four positive things: the global economy, the explosion of information technology, the advance of democracy and diversity and the advances in medical sciences and other sciences. I mentioned four negative things: environmental crises, health crises, half the world in poverty and the growth of terrorism rooted in ancient hatreds.

Here's the real question: What do all things have in common, the positive and the negative? They all are manifestations of a breathtaking increase in global interdependence. And it is very important that we understand this. The reason we have to be concerned about all of them, the positive and the negative, is that we live in a world where we have collapsed distances, torn down walls and spread information.

For Americans, it has brought us great bounty and has been, on balance, an enormous blessing. But it has also created vast new opportunities for the forces of destruction to come into our lives. My wife represents New York in the Senate. They have a million Dominicans alone. If the Caribbean has the second fastest growing rates of AIDS in the world, can New York escape it? We depend upon continually expanding markets for America's economy to grow. If half the people are still living on $2 a day or less 10 years from now can we continue to grow? We haven't changed human nature. And therefore, there will always be organized forces of destruction unless we succeed in finding a pill to change human nature or solve every problem on Earth. So if we take down barriers, collapse distances, spread knowledge, we are inevitably vulnerable here in ways that we never were before to those organized forces of destruction. Therefore, what happened on September the 11th is the dark flip side of the positive things that have come into a world without walls. That means that the great question of the 21st century is whether, on balance, it'll be a good thing for you and your family, your country and people like you in every corner of the world; whether we can expand the forces and reach of positive interdependence and shrink the impact of negative interdependence.

What are we going to do now?

First, let me try to put this into some perspective. In the whole of human history, no terrorist campaign has ever won on its own. Even when coupled with a successful conventional military strategy, terrorism has almost always backfired. In the great crusade that succeeded in capturing Jerusalem, the Christian soldiers burned a synagogue and killed 300 Jews, and proceeded to slaughter every man, woman and child who was a Muslim on the Temple Mount. And I promise you that story is being told today in the Middle East. We are still paying for it, and it was not necessary for the military campaign.

When I was a boy growing up in the South, when we should have been focusing on civil rights and equal rights for African-Americans, instead young white boys still learned the story about how General Sherman marched to the sea by burning all of the farms and burning Atlanta. It was, in fact, a brilliant military campaign, and by modern and ancient standards, rather tepid terrorism. He didn't kill innocent women and children. He just burned all of the farms and burned Atlanta to break their spirit and make them hungrier. But it was dumb politics that our efforts at national unity had to deal with for a century afterward.

The terrorist therefore, cannot win unless they affect the way we think and act. They want us to be afraid of them. They want us to be afraid of each other, and they want us to be afraid of the future--don't get on an airplane, don't put any money in the stock market, don't expand your business, lay people off, the Moslem sitting next to you might have a gun or a knife and they're coming again.

They want us to shrink. And they believe that terrorism might work in this modern world to achieve their objectives because we

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have collapsed distances and because the filaments of our economy are so delicately interrelated, so that they can have a big economic impact in southern Manhattan and scare the living daylights out of people all over the world who see it unfold. But they still can't win unless we give them permission. We are not about to give them permission.

So what are we going to do?

First, we have to support the president and all those who are leading us in the fight against the present terrorist threat. We will get better at this. Better at playing defense. Better at offense.

You should know that hundreds and hundreds of your fellow citizens, dedicated public servants, have been working at this for years to protect you from the awful thing that occurred on September the 11th. And they have had some astonishing successes since we got our own wake-up call back in the early '80s when our soldiers were killed by the suicide truck bomb in Lebanon. In my time, they stopped planned attacks on the Holland Tunnel, on airplanes flying from Los Angeles to the Philippines, on the pope. During the millennium celebration alone, a dozen planned terrorist attacks were thwarted, including planned attacks on the northeast and the northwest of our country by bombers who were picked up coming across from Canada. A plan to put a bomb at the Los Angeles airport, a plan to blow up the biggest hotel in Amman, Jordan. A plan even to blow up one of the Christian holy sites in the Holy Land. For those things which have been done, many people have been arrested and put in jail or executed. But obviously, everything that was done was not enough to prevent what happened on September 11th. So we have to make our defenses better. Airline security is being improved. We are also facing the fact that we have to do a much better job of using modern technology to track people when they are in our country. That will be done. And the president in the current campaign against the Taliban and Mr. bin Laden, with the help of our allies, is bringing to bear military forces to support our law enforcement efforts. And I might add, doing it in a way which deserves our commendation, accompanying it with humanitarian aid and making every effort not to do what bin Laden wants us to do, which is to kill as many civilians as he did so he can say we're no better than him. And I applaud the way this campaign has been conducted. Now, so we have to continue to do this.

But the second thing I want to say is that though nothing can ever justify the killing of innocents and terror tactics, we have to realize that we must do more to reduce the pool of potential terrorists. This is manifestly not about blaming America. I don't belong to that crowd. But it is about knowing our enemy, understanding the threats and acting according to our interests and our values. So many of the countries where terrorists recruit have 50 or 60 or more percent of the people who are under 18. Kids who never go to school, or if they do, are mostly indoctrinated instead of educated and know they won't have a job when they get out. So America must continue to work to reduce global poverty and to increase economic empowerment through education and other proven strategies.

We had a huge bipartisan effort last year to lead the world to its first big round of targeted debt relief for the 24 poorest countries in the world. So they got the debt relief, but only if it went to education, health care or economic development. We should do more of that. We funded 2 million micro-enterprise loans for economic empowerment among the world's poor. We should do more of that. We tripled overseas efforts to reduce AIDS by treatment and prevention. And the current administration has pledged $300 million, I think, to the Secretary General's Global Health Fund to fight AIDS, TB, malaria and diarrhea-related disease. We should do more of that. We should reduce the pool of potential terrorists by showing people that we will not claim for ourselves what we would deny to them.

We should continue to promote democracy throughout the world. It is no accident that the most fertile recruitment grounds for terrorists in the world occur in countries that are not democracies. Because when people cannot exercise any responsibility for themselves, they are kept in a state of permanent collective immaturity, and it becomes quite easy if they are in distress to convince them that our success is the cause of their problems. This creates, I might add, agonizing dilemmas for leaders of such countries, many of whom have been our friends but also are terrified by stirring dissent in their own countries. And it is going to be a significant challenge for us when the current military campaign is over.

But if you look at the Middle East, it's no accident that perhaps the stablest country is not the richest. Jordan is a country that is ripe for trouble. A majority of its people are no longer Jordanians; they are Palestinians. Indeed, the young queen of Jordan is a Palestinian. But the late King Hussein several years ago recognized that he had to find a way if he wished to preserve the monarchy as a relevant institution in modern times to give the people of Jordan some greater say over their own lives. So they began to have elections, real elections where real parties could run, including militant Islamic fundamentalists who could get elected to parliament. The problem is, as we all find, after the campaign when you get one of these jobs, you actually have to show up for work. And when you have to show up for work, people expect you to deliver, especially if they can hold you accountable. And so people of highly extreme political views have to reconcile them to get decisions made so that the country can go forward. You may have noticed some of that occurring in the previous years in America.

The same thing will happen in other countries with people of different views. The king of Jordan can still replace the prime minister. He is still the spokesperson and the leader of the state and the person who charts a course in foreign affairs. He comes to see our president in times like this. But it's an example of the kind of thing that we need more of. Because if people have no outlet for their frustrations at home and never have to take any responsibility for themselves, then they will never have an awareness of what they have to do to solve their own problems and to get the help that they may well deserve and to make the most of it if it comes.

This is a big issue and will grow larger in the years ahead.

Finally, we have to continue our efforts to show people all over the world that America is not the enemy of any faith or any people. Actually, Mr. bin Laden has a pretty hard case to make against America if you look at all the facts.

The last time we used military power was to protect the lives of poor Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo. We lead the world in the debt forgiveness campaign I just mentioned. We stood for a fair and a just peace in the Middle East, which would have given the Palestinians their state, and their equities in their religious sites and a chance to make a genuine economically successful partnership with the Israelis.

We are not the enemy of the poor of Islam in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.

I also think it's important to point out, however, that we'll have to keep working on this. We've got more to do there. And we have to keep working at home.

I was very encouraged when the president went to the mosque and met with the Muslim leaders to point out to the American people that Islam is not our enemy. The attacks on Muslims and mosques are regrettable. They are by in large carried out by people who are angry and scared and still ignorant of the roots and the diversity of Islam, because we're still learning about each other.

Sikhs have been attacked because they wear turbans and the Taliban does too. An Indian Christian was attacked because he looked like he might have been one of them.

We're still getting it right here. One the most moving encounters I've had since I started going into New York was outside the armory crisis center when I was talking to all of these victim's families, this huge guy was a head taller than me, was standing there, and he had big tears in his eyes. And I said, ``Have you lost someone?'' He said, ``Not in my family.'' But he said, ``I am an Egyptian Muslim American.'' And he said, ``Believe it or not, I probably regret what happened more than you do. And I am so afraid my fellow Americans will never trust me again.'' That's one of the things they want. And we can't give it to them. We have to continue to live up to our founders' injunction about making a more perfect union.

The last thing I want to say is this: This is about more than what we do, it's about who we are, who they are and what the 21st century's going to be about. For between ourselves and the Taliban and Mr. bin Laden, there are radically different views about the nature of truth, the value of life and the content of community. It is at the root of all of this, would not be solved if we had perfect policies in all the areas that I mentioned.

They believe they have the truth. And if you agree with them, you've got it too. And if you don't--well, you know that.

We believe, and have believed since we were founded as a democracy, that no one has the whole truth; that the truth is something we can only fully realize when we're in a different place than Earth; that we are humans, be definition, fallible. We are on a journey toward understanding the truth.

This difference leads to radically different conclusions about the value of life. We believe everybody counts, everybody has a role to play, everybody deserves a chance. We have to learn from each other. They believe there are three categories of people: the people who accept their truth, who are Muslims; the Muslims who don't, who are heretics; and those that are Muslims, who are infidels. And if you are in the latter two categories, well, just to hell with you, even if you are a 6-year-old girl who just wanted to go to work with her mother on September the 11th at the World Trade Center.

They believe a community is people--made up of people who are all the same, who have the same religion, and the same beliefs and practice the same way, and that those beliefs have to be enforced by rigorous authority so we see on the television the excerpts from that movie, ``Behind the Veil,'' with those Afghan women imprisoned in their burqas--I don't even know how they breathe in them--being beaten on the street by sanctimonious men with their little sticks, or in one case shot.

We believe that anybody can be part of our community as long as you accept the rules of engagement: individual equality, mutual respect, obedience to the law. We think we all do better when we work together. And this is a much more interesting country than it was 30 years ago because we have people here

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from everywhere. We've got people in this room here tonight from everywhere. Now our kind of community has a lot of problems. We still have hate crimes. We still have--because we're more open, we're vulnerable to the things that happen that we deplore. But it has created a lot of good, and it's given a lot of people from everywhere a chance to live their dreams.

Their kind of community has created 4.5 million refugees. So people are voting even there.

It's very important that you understand that we are up against a worthy adversary: a man of great intelligence, great wealth, great boldness who honestly believes he has the truth with his top aides.

It's also important that you believe--even though sitting here tonight you agree with me, that you understand this is very hard to do. We all organize the world into categories so we can think and function. We have to. Men, women, boys, girls, adults, children, black, white, Muslim, Christian, Ba'hai. Buddhist, business, labor, government, education. We have to. We have to organize reality into these little boxes.

And then our whole lives are spent acquiring the wisdom to understand that they do not reflect reality, they just capture a piece of it we can use so we can come to understand the unity of the human spirit and the human community. But it's very hard.

Look what happened to the greatest people of the age. Gandhi killed, not by a Muslim, but by a Hindu because he was a Hindu who wanted India for the Muslims and the Jains and the Sikhs.

Sadat killed by the organization the number two guy in Afghanistan heads today. Not by an Israeli rocket, but by an angry Egyptian who hated him for being willing to lay down a lifetime of military service to make peace with Israel.

My friend Yitzak Rabin killed, not by a Palestinian terrorist, but by an angry Israeli who though he should not reach across the divide to recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians and try to bring an end to decades of slaughter and insecurity.

Mandela survived, praise God, but only after giving up 27 of the best years of his life, so that he was able to reach out to the other side without having the people of his own ethnic group and political views think he had betrayed them. This is not easy to do.

But if you look at America's long journey, it is worth the effort. So, yes, let us support the president. Let us win this battle. But let us look down the road to reduce those negative resources and spread the reach of those positive ones so that what we have sought for America we can one day offer to all of the world, and so that our children will see that we met this task in a way that not only helped their lives, but the children like them in every corner of the Earth.

Thank you, very much.


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