By necessity and beginning with the events of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush has been the foreign policy president. He reiterated his basic stance regarding his foreign policy: “Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust that people, when given the chance, will choose a future of freedom and peace.”
He then pointed out the progress that has been made around the world in Afghanistan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Iraq, but he also mentioned the “images that have sobered us” such as assassinations and brutal bombings of weddings and mosques. He laid these atrocities at the feet of the perpetrators as he explained: “On a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant. These horrific images serve as a grim reminder: The advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists—evil men who despise freedom, despise America, and aim to subject millions to their violent rule.” He further emphasized that: Since 9/11, we have taken the fight to these terrorists and extremists. We will stay on the offense, we will keep up the pressure, and we will deliver justice to our enemies.”
He clearly drew the appropriate contrasts between Iraq before and after the surge. He asserted that while some still insist that the surge is not working, the terrorist themselves have admitted that it has. "The Anbar Awakening" has had a great impact all over Iraq: “In the fall of 2006, Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaeda's brutality and started a popular uprising.” He said proclaimed, “Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.”
He reported that because of the success of the surge there is now the beginning of a troop withdrawal. He did not set any timetable for total withdrawal, but he made it clear the success of the brave men and women of our military have been responsible for a turnaround in the Iraq War. He claimed that more than 20,000 troops will be coming home soon. He declared that the Iraqis will not rest until the terrorists have been defeated and neither will we.
President Bush said that the Palestinian president “recognizes that confronting terror is essential to achieving” a Palestinian state that can live in peace beside Israel. He called on Iran to “Verifiably suspend [their] nuclear enrichment, so negotiations can begin.” And he reassured the Iranian people that we desire that they achieve their freedom.
Protecting the homeland
The president called on Congress not to let the legislation expire that has been vital in stopping attacks. He stressed that that legislation is set to expire February 1, 2008, and he noted that our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened if it expires.
He declared that we oppose genocide in Sudan, that we support freedom in Cuba, Zimbabwe to Belarus and Burma. And he reported that America is leading the fight against global poverty, hunger, and disease. He said that half of the world’s food aid comes from the United States. He said that “American is a force for hope in the world because we are a compassionate people.”
He called on Congress “to enact the reforms recommended by Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, so we can improve the system of care for our wounded warriors and help them build lives of hope and promise and dignity.” And he suggested other legislation to help military families by “expanding their access to child care, creating new hiring preferences for military spouses across the federal government, and allowing our troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children.”
God Bless America
He closed by once again emphasizing the strength of the American people: “The strength—the secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lies not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people”:
When the Federal Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787, our nation was bound by the Articles of Confederation, which began with the words, "We the undersigned delegates.” When Governor Morris was asked to draft a preamble to our new Constitution, he offered an important revision and opened with words that changed the course of our nation and the history of the world: "We the people."
His final unifying words: “So tonight, with confidence in freedom's power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to do their business. God bless America.”
The State of the Union 2008 – The People’s Business
A transcript of the 2008 State of the Union Address