This will take a while to complete, but I wanted to place in a single reference all the speeches and radio talks bearing on the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq made prior to the liberation of Iraq. In them, the POTUS clearly spells out the naturre of the war, the anticipated length, and the rationale for establishing a free and democratic Iraq as necessary to victory. This is a public service for members of Scrappleface particularly, since the occasional troll invariably brings up "war for oil", "Bush lied", etc.
So, let's begin with the September 11, 2001 speech where he said:
America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
Then let's move to September 20, 2001:
Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. (Applause.)
Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.
Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
So, from the beginning it was "We will now come after the terrorists and those who harbor them." and "This will be long and different from other conflicts."
About Iraq, prior to entering the war, he said
But America's cause is always larger than America's security. We also stand for the advance of freedom and opportunity and hope. The lives and freedom of the Iraqi people matter little to Saddam Hussein, but they matter greatly to us.
As the war began, he said
We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.
And for those who wonder about the tie between al-Qaeda and Iraq, Cassandra at Villainous Company has a history review.
Andrew McCarthy also connects the dots at National Review Online. Please go there and read the information.
Update 9:36 PM on 30 Jun 2005
Powerline reminds us of the text of the joint resolution.
Update 5:55 AM on July 1, 2005
Melanie Phillips provides more evidence of the links between Iraq and al Qaeda.
Update 5:55 AM on July 7, 2005
Some people continue to throw smoke screens like "what about North Korea and Iran" or "There is no connection between Iraq and the War on Terror". The President actually addressed both of those in his State of the Union address on January 29, 2002:
Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.