State of the Union Transcript

ByABC News

W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 29, 2002 -- Here is the full transcript of President Bush's State of the Union address:

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress,distinguished guests and fellow citizens:

As we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is inrecession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. Yetthe state of our union has never been stronger.

We last met in an hour of shock and suffering. In four shortmonths, our nation has comforted the victims; begun to rebuild NewYork and the Pentagon; rallied a great coalition; captured,arrested and rid the world of thousands of terrorists; destroyedAfghanistan's terrorist training camps; saved a people fromstarvation; and freed a country from brutal oppression.

The American flag flies again over our embassy in Kabul.Terrorists who once occupied Afghanistan now occupy cells atGuantanamo Bay. And terrorist leaders who urged followers tosacrifice their lives are running for their own.

America and Afghanistan are now allies against terror. We willbe partners in rebuilding that country, and this evening we welcomethe distinguished interim leader of a liberated Afghanistan:Chairman Hamid Karzai.

The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughtersof Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden fromworking or going to school. Today women are free, and are part ofAfghanistan's new government, and we welcome the new Minister ofWomen's Affairs, Dr. Sima Samar.

Our progress is a tribute to the spirit of the Afghan people, tothe resolve of our coalition and to the might of the United Statesmilitary. When I called our troops into action, I did so withcomplete confidence in their courage and skill. And tonight, thanksto them, we are winning the war against terror. The men and womenof our armed forces have delivered a message now clear to everyenemy of the United States: Even 7,000 miles away, across oceansand continents, on mountaintops and in caves, you will not escapethe justice of this nation.

For many Americans, these four months have brought sorrow andpain that will never completely go away. Every day a retiredfirefighter returns to Ground Zero, to feel closer to his two sonswho died there. At a memorial in New York, a little boy left hisfootball with a note for his lost father: "Dear Daddy, Please takethis to Heaven. I don't want to play football until I can play withyou again someday." Last month, at the grave of her husband,Micheal, a CIA officer and Marine who died in Mazar-e-Sharif,Shannon Spann, said these words of farewell: "Semper fi, mylove." Shannon is with us tonight.

Shannon, I assure you and all who have lost a loved one that ourcause is just, and our country will never forget the debt we oweMicheal and all who gave their lives for freedom.

Our cause is just, and it continues. Our discoveries inAfghanistan confirmed our worst fears and show us the true scope ofthe task ahead. We have seen the depth of our enemies' hatred invideos where they laugh about the loss of innocent life. And thedepth of their hatred is equaled by the madness of the destructionthey design. We have found diagrams of American nuclear powerplants and public water facilities, detailed instructions formaking chemical weapons, surveillance maps of American cities andthorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout theworld.

What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that — far fromending there — our war against terror is only beginning. Most ofthe 19 men who hijacked planes on September 11 were trained inAfghanistan's camps, and so were tens of thousands of others.Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder,often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread throughout theworld like ticking time bombs set to go off without warning.

Thanks to the work of our law enforcement officials andcoalition partners, hundreds of terrorists have been arrested, yettens of thousands of trained terrorists are still at large. Theseenemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursuethem wherever they are. So long as training camps operate, so longas nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk and America andour allies must not, and will not, allow it.

Our nation will continue to be steadfast, and patient, andpersistent in the pursuit of two great objectives. First, we willshut down terrorist camps, disrupt terrorist plans, and bringterrorists to justice. Second, we must prevent the terrorists andregimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons fromthreatening the United States and the world.

Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistanout of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozencountries. A terrorist underworld — including groups like Hamas,Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Jaish-i-Mohammed — operates in remotejungles and deserts and hides in the centers of large cities.

While the most visible military action is in Afghanistan,America is acting elsewhere. We now have troops in the Philippineshelping to train that country's armed forces to go after terroristcells that have executed an American and still hold hostages. Oursoldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terroristswho were plotting to bomb our embassy. Our Navy is patrolling thecoast of Africa to block the shipment of weapons and theestablishment of terrorist camps in Somalia.

My hope is that all nations will heed our call and eliminate theterrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. Manynations are acting forcefully. Pakistan is now cracking down onterror, and I admire the leadership of President Musharraf. Butsome governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make nomistake: If they do not act, America will.

Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror fromthreatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of massdestruction.

Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September 11. Butwe know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming withmissiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving itscitizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror,while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope forfreedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and tosupport terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax andnerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regimethat has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its owncitizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their deadchildren. This is a regime that agreed to internationalinspections, then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime thathas something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute anaxis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seekingweapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growingdanger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving themthe means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies orattempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, theprice of indifference would be catastrophic.

We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists andtheir state sponsors the materials, technology and expertise tomake and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop anddeploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our alliesfrom sudden attack. And all nations should know: America will dowhat is necessary to ensure our nation's security.

We will be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will notwait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as perildraws closer and closer. The United States of America will notpermit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with theworld's most destructive weapons.

Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun. Thiscampaign may not be finished on our watch, yet it must be and itwill be waged on our watch.

We cannot stop short. If we stopped now, leaving terror campsintact and terror states unchecked, our sense of security would befalse and temporary. History has called America and our allies toaction, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege tofight freedom's fight.

Our first priority must always be the security of our nation,and that will be reflected in the budget I send to Congress. Mybudget supports three great goals for America: We will win thiswar, we will protect our homeland, and we will revive our economy.

September 11 brought out the best in America and the best in thisCongress, and I join the American people in applauding your unityand resolve. Now Americans deserve to have this same spiritdirected toward addressing problems here at home. I am a proudmember of my party, yet as we act to win the war, protect ourpeople and create jobs in America, we must act first and foremostnot as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans.

It costs a lot to fight this war. We have spent more than abillion dollars a month, over 30 million dollars a day, and we mustbe prepared for future operations. Afghanistan proved thatexpensive precision weapons defeat the enemy and spare innocentlives, and we need more of them. We need to replace aging aircraftand make our military more agile to put our troops anywhere in theworld quickly and safely. Our men and women in uniform deserve thebest weapons, the best equipment and the best training, and theyalso deserve another pay raise. My budget includes the largestincrease in defense spending in two decades, because while theprice of freedom and security is high, it is never too high:whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay it.

The next priority of my budget is to do everything possible toprotect our citizens and strengthen our nation against the ongoingthreat of another attack. Time and distance from the events ofSeptember 11 will not make us safer unless we act on its lessons.America is no longer protected by vast oceans. We are protectedfrom attack only by vigorous action abroad and increased vigilanceat home.

My budget nearly doubles funding for a sustained strategy ofhomeland security, focused on four key areas: bioterrorism,emergency response, airport and border security and improvedintelligence. We will develop vaccines to fight anthrax and otherdeadly diseases. We will increase funding to help states andcommunities train and equip our heroic police and firefighters. Wewill improve intelligence collection and sharing, expand patrols atour borders, strengthen the security of air travel and usetechnology to track the arrivals and departures of visitors to theUnited States.

Homeland security will make America not only stronger, but inmany ways better. Knowledge gained from bioterrorism research willimprove public health; stronger police and fire departments willmean safer neighborhoods; stricter border enforcement will helpcombat illegal drugs.

And as government works to better secure our homeland, Americawill continue to depend on the eyes and ears of alert citizens. Afew days before Christmas an airline flight attendant spotted apassenger lighting a match. The crew and passengers quickly subduedthe man, who had been trained by al Qaeda and was armed withexplosives. The people on that airplane were alert, and as aresult, likely saved nearly 200 lives. And tonight we welcome andthank flight attendants Hermis Moutardier and Christina Jones.

Once we have funded our national security and our homelandsecurity, the final great priority of my budget is economicsecurity for the American people. To achieve these great nationalobjectives — to win the war, protect the homeland and revitalizeour economy — our budget will run a deficit that will be small andshort-term so long as Congress restrains spending and acts in afiscally responsible way. We have clear priorities and we must actat home with the same purpose and resolve we have shown overseas:We will prevail in the war, and we will defeat this recession.

Americans who have lost their jobs need our help, and I supportextending unemployment benefits and direct assistance for healthcare coverage. Yet American workers want more than unemploymentchecks, they want a steady paycheck. When America works, Americaprospers; so my economic security plan can be summed up in oneword: jobs.

Good jobs begin with good schools, and here we've made a finestart. Republicans and Democrats worked together to achievehistoric education reform so no child in America will be leftbehind. I was proud to work with members of both parties — ChairmanJohn Boehner and Congressman George Miller, Sen. Judd Gregg — and Iwas so proud of our work I even had nice things to say about myfriend Ted Kennedy. The folks at the Crawford coffee shop couldn'tquite believe it, but our work on this bill shows what is possibleif we set aside posturing and focus on results.

There is more to do. We need to prepare our children to read andsucceed in school with improved Head Start and early childhooddevelopment programs. We must upgrade our teacher colleges andteacher training and launch a major recruiting drive with a greatgoal for America: a quality teacher in every classroom.

Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. ThisCongress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology,build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy productionat home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.

Good jobs depend on expanded trade. Selling into new marketscreates new jobs, so I ask Congress to finally approve TradePromotion Authority. On these two key issues — trade and energy — the House of Representatives has acted to create jobs, and I urgethe Senate to pass this legislation.

Good jobs depend on sound tax policy. Last year, some in thishall thought my tax relief plan was too small, and some thought itwas too big. But when those checks arrived in the mail mostAmericans thought tax relief was just about right. Congresslistened to the people and responded by reducing tax rates,doubling the child credit and ending the death tax. For the sake oflong-term growth and to help Americans plan for the future, let'smake these tax cuts permanent.

The way out of this recession, the way to create jobs, is togrow the economy by encouraging investment in factories andequipment, and by speeding up tax relief so people have more moneyto spend. For the sake of American workers, let's pass a stimuluspackage.

Good jobs must be the aim of welfare reform. As we reauthorizethese important reforms, we must always remember the goal is toreduce dependency on government and offer every American thedignity of a job.

Americans know economic security can vanish in an instantwithout health security. I ask Congress to join me this year toenact a Patients' Bill of Rights, to give uninsured workers creditsto help buy health coverage, to approve an historic increase inspending for veterans' health, and to give seniors a sound andmodern Medicare system that includes coverage for prescriptiondrugs.

A good job should lead to security in retirement. I ask Congressto enact new safeguards for 401(k) and pension plans, becauseemployees who have worked hard and saved all their lives should nothave to risk losing everything if their company fails. Throughstricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure requirements,corporate America must be made more accountable to employees andshareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct.

Retirement security also depends upon keeping the commitments ofSocial Security, and we will. We must make Social Securityfinancially stable and allow personal retirement accounts foryounger workers who choose them.

Members, you and I will work together in the months ahead onother issues: productive farm policy, a cleaner environment,broader home ownership, especially among minorities, and ways toencourage the good work of charities and faith-based groups. I askyou to join me on these important domestic issues in the samespirit of cooperation we have applied to our war against terrorism.

During these last few months, I have been humbled and privilegedto see the true character of this country in a time of testing. Ourenemies believed America was weak and materialistic, that we wouldsplinter in fear and selfishness. They were as wrong as they areevil.

The American people have responded magnificently, with courageand compassion, strength and resolve. As I have met the heroes,hugged the families, and looked into the tired faces of rescuers, Ihave stood in awe of the American people.

And I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to one Americanfor the strength, and calm, and comfort she brings to our nation incrisis: our first lady, Laura Bush.

None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September 11,yet after America was attacked it was as if our entire countrylooked into a mirror and saw our better selves. We were remindedthat we are citizens, with obligations to each other, to ourcountry and to history. We began to think less of the goods we canaccumulate, and more about the good we can do.

For too long our culture has said, "If it feels good, do it."Now America is embracing a new ethic and a new creed: "Let'sroll." In the sacrifice of soldiers, the fierce brotherhood offirefighters and the bravery and generosity of ordinary citizens,we have glimpsed what a new culture of responsibility could looklike. We want to be a nation that serves goals larger than self. Wehave been offered a unique opportunity and we must not let thismoment pass.

My call tonight is for every American to commit at least twoyears — 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime — to the serviceof your neighbors and your nation.

Many are already serving, and I thank you. If you aren't surehow to help, I've got a good place to start. To sustain and extendthe best that has emerged in America, I invite you to join the newUSA Freedom Corps. The Freedom Corps will focus on three areas ofneed: responding in case of crisis at home, rebuilding ourcommunities and extending American compassion throughout the world.

One purpose of the USA Freedom Corps will be homeland security.America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized inmajor emergencies, volunteers to help police and fire departments,transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting danger.

Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild ourcommunities. We need mentors to love children, especially childrenwhose parents are in prison, and we need more talented teachers introubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve thegood efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than200,000 new volunteers.

And America needs citizens to extend the compassion of ourcountry to every part of the world. So we will renew the promise ofthe Peace Corps, double its volunteers over the next five years,and ask it to join a new effort to encourage development, andeducation and opportunity in the Islamic world.

This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity — amoment we must seize to change our culture. Through the gatheringmomentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, Iknow: We can overcome evil with greater good.

And we have a great opportunity during this time of war to leadthe world toward the values that will bring lasting peace. Allfathers and mothers, in all societies, want their children to beeducated and live free from poverty and violence. No people onEarth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude or eagerlyawait the midnight knock of the secret police.

If anyone doubts this, let them look to Afghanistan, where theIslamic "street" greeted the fall of tyranny with song andcelebration. Let the skeptics look to Islam's own rich history,with its centuries of learning and tolerance and progress.

America will lead by defending liberty and justice, because theyare right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere. Nonation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them.We have no intention of imposing our culture, but America willalways stand firm for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity:the rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect forwomen, private property, free speech, equal justice and religioustolerance.

America will take the side of brave men and women who advocatethese values around the world, including the Islamic world, becausewe have a greater objective than eliminating threats and containingresentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war onterror.

In this moment of opportunity, a common danger is erasing oldrivalries. America is working with Russia, China and India in wayswe never have before to achieve peace and prosperity. In everyregion, free markets and free trade and free societies are provingtheir power to lift lives. Together with friends and allies fromEurope to Asia, from Africa to Latin America, we will demonstratethat the forces of terror cannot stop the momentum of freedom.

The last time I spoke here, I expressed the hope that life wouldreturn to normal. In some ways, it has. In others, it never will.Those of us who have lived through these challenging times havebeen changed by them.

We've come to know truths that we will never question: Evil isreal, and it must be opposed. Beyond all differences of race orcreed we are one country, mourning together and facing dangertogether. Deep in the American character there is honor, and it isstronger than cynicism. Many have discovered again that even intragedy — especially in tragedy — God is near.

In a single instant we realized that this will be a decisivedecade in the history of liberty, that we have been called to aunique role in human events. Rarely has the world faced a choicemore clear or consequential.

Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicideand murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed.We stand for a different choice, made long ago, on the day of ourfounding. We affirm it again today. We choose freedom and thedignity of every life.

Steadfast in our purpose, we now press on. We have knownfreedom's price; we have shown freedom's power, and in this greatconflict, my fellow Americans, we will see freedom's victory.

Thank you, and may God bless the United States of America.

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