Success is not assured, but America is resolute: this is the best chance for peace we are likely to see for some years to come - and we are acting to help Israelis and Palestinians seize this chance.
It has been, after all, 11 years, more than a decade now, of defiance of U.N. resolutions by Saddam Hussein. Every obligation that he signed onto after the Gulf War, so that he would not be a threat to peace and security, he has ignored and flaunted.
We needed to go back on the offense and offer clear leadership on Iraq.
The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.
What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.
I didn't run for student council president. I don't see myself in any way in elected office. I love policy. I'm not particularly fond of politics.
But the truth of the matter is, we're an open society, we want to remain an open society, and there will continue to be vulnerability. That's why we have to meet the threats when they are not yet taking place on our territory and on our soil.
The essence of America - that which really unites us - is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion - it is an idea - and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things.
We need a common enemy to unite us.
We're in a new world. We're in a world in which the possibility of terrorism, married up with technology, could make us very, very sorry that we didn't act.
Does anybody think these people were just sitting around drinking tea?
After all, when the world looks to America, they look to us because we are the most successful political and economic experiment in human history.
So I think, if September 11 taught us anything, it taught us that we're vulnerable, and vulnerable in ways that we didn't fully understand.
I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center - and then a second one - and a third, the Pentagon.
My mom was a teacher - I have the greatest respect for the profession - we need great teachers - not poor or mediocre ones.
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