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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 17:49 GMT
State of the Union address: Did Bush hit the right notes?
US President George W Bush has made his first State of the Union address to the joint houses of Congress in Washington.

He warned Americans that the war against terrorism was only just beginning.

And he specifically named Iraq, North Korea and Iran as part of "an axis of evil" threatening the world's peace.

What did you think of President Bush's State of the Union speech? Did he address your concerns?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

How about letting Americans know who influenced the energy policy?

Franklin, Maryland, USA
I support the War on Terror. I see it as self defense. I don't think people around the world realise how great the threat to America is. Basically, we're trying to stop al-Qaeda before they detonate a nuclear bomb in one of our cities. They are certainly trying to obtain nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. No US foreign policy could be flawed enough to justify that level of hatred and violence, so apologists should just shut up. That being said, Bush is driving me crazy! There was so much hypocrisy in his speech. He didn't even mention the civilian casualties of US bombs in Afghanistan. The US military killed those people. We need to be more honest about our tactics. He said corporations' finances should be more "transparent". Well, how about letting Americans know who influenced the energy policy? I bet there was not one environmentalist on that panel. I think we have a right to know. He should also be more honest about how his tax cut is destroying the American economy. There were so many problems with his speech, I couldn't possibly fit it all into a brief Talking Point.
Franklin, Maryland, USA

The number of sceptical people are on the rise, this gives me hope; not all of us have drowned our senses in Bush's sea of fear and revenge. It almost seems as if he was inviting a war with other countries, why not? That would make his defence spending more justifiable.. funny world.
Lisan, US

After listening to the state of the union address, I can only hope that Bush is a one term president and that the world can survive long enough to see someone else elected. On another note, I wish the rest of the world would quit expecting us to solve world poverty and bring peace to the middle east. Figure it out yourselves.
Jim, USA

Bush speech was right on target especially in calling Iraq and Iran an "axis of evil". I find it funny that Europeans and some Americans on this forum called Bushes speech inflammatory, when every day Iran and Iraq call America the Great Satan and openly talk about their desire to destroy us. One would have thought that after September 11th, the world would have woken up and realized what the terrorist want. When will the Europeans wake up and realize that Poverty is not the cause of terrorism? The terrorists have only one ultimate goal and that is to spread Islam around the globe. You can spend a trillion dollars on poverty in the Arab world and all you would accomplish is to raise the net income of the average terrorist.
Jeff Bander, USA

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervour, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar." -- Julius Caesar
Rob, US

Many people seem to think that diplomacy and niceness are cures for sociopathy. The 20th century should have taught us otherwise - that you don't increase peace or security by appeasing sociopaths. This was one of the messages in Bush's speech. The sooner we dispose of all these loathsome creatures, the better.
Paul W., USA

I'm not sure if our president is aware of the fact that he doesn't have the authority to declare war on a nation. Under our constitution, only the US Congress can declare war on a nation. So for the time being, the countries should not be too concerned about a possible attack.
Ronald Bejani, USA

As an Iranian I welcome Bush's concern about the world peace and fighting international terrorism.

Reza, Iran
As an Iranian I welcome Bush's concern about the world peace and fighting international terrorism. Mullahs of Iran have for past 20 years been destroying Iran and the people of that country. As an Iranian I find it difficult to believe and trust US policies, they help Saddam build an arsenal of weapons to fight Iranians and supported this evil man until it backfired. I, along with millions of other Persians, am working for democracy in my country and welcome any help we can get. My message to people of US is that there is a very big difference between the people of Iran and the conservative rulers of that country. Bless those who are truly fighting against misery and terror
Reza, Iran

We are losing an opportunity to make a better world. The 'Bush Doctrine' to deal with terrorists and the so-called 'evil axis states' ignored the Middle East situation. A worsening crisis there was one of the reasons why the Afghan trained terrorists had America in its sights. America with its global hegemony needs to act justly by not supporting Middle East authoritarian regimes; needs to help initiate new initiatives to quell violence and a settlement between Israel and Palestinians. To show generosity to al-Qaeda suspects. September 11 was not the world's first terrorist attack and the power of the USA must be used to a better end rather a war against 'evil axis states' which threatens the peace of the world.
Anonymous, UK

I did not vote for Bush and I am so glad. Every time he opens his mouth, I cringe. His face, his voice are so insincere. I hope that someone out there will say STOP before he leads us into a bloody messy war. His State of the Union address was frightening and simplistic, typical of someone with little real knowledge of the world outside Texas. Instead of guiding the flock into a better understanding of who we are and why there is a crisis in the world, addressing the causes of the problems, he is brain washing the average John Doe.
Janeen, USA

So many comments about Americans wanting to live in a world where there is no terrorism. Shouldn't the government in the USA start by putting their own house in order & stopping the massive number of gun related incidents, mass shootings etc. that we are always hearing about. How can the American nation expect to be able to lead the rest of the world the peace when most of the citizens of the US carry a gun?
Amanda , UK

Well, I agree with Bush on many areas. We all need to be tough and fight these terrorists. However, his reference to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as "the axis of evil" is just plain inflammatory, and, judging from the mixed responses to that comment, it did not adequately express the views of the American people. We should be working with these countries, not arrogantly demonising them. Their people have suffered, too. Have they ever attacked us directly? No. I think that reference was an uncalled for allusion to WWII, and that it makes Americans look like ethnocentric, selfish bullies who want to use a tragic act of terrorism to pick fights. I also resent that Bush often seems to think that Sept. 11 was the first act of terrorism! So many people in other countries have suffered, and we should give them more respect and recognition.
Amanda, USA

I think he delivered the speech like a true leader.

Kathryn, USA
It's amusing how worked up everyone gets over this speech. Every year we go through the same analytic nitpicking no matter who gives the speech or what it says. In this one, I really liked President Bush's comments on how Americans are moving from a general attitude of "If it feels good, do it" to one of "Let's roll". I heartily embrace the change. I am thrilled that we now have a President who has a high level of morals and ethics and who loves his wife and honours her with faithfulness and public praise. I also think he delivered the speech like a true leader. Stop picking the speech and the President apart. He's doing a great job. By the way, remember the part in which he talks about getting jobs for Americans? Did anyone think about all the Corporations that are laying people off and giving their jobs to people in other countries? I wonder what would happen to the economy of these other countries (European and Asian) if our Corporations took all those jobs back.
Kathryn, USA

Yes, President Bush hit the right note. Terrorism is an international crime against humanity and President Bush did well to identify those who are behind this wicked act. Let President Bush take his time to deal with this matter. We don't have the power to help him and the American people physically, but we are with him in prayers.
Azariah M.W.Golay, Liberia

The general feeling one gets with this and similar speeches is that Bush is relishing the situation a bit too much. Relishing it enough to cause concern!
Andy S, Notts, UK

The US will never be able to dominate the world. No matter how much rhetoric is used to justify this unilateralist policy, it will never be able to sustain it indefinitely. The US better realise that if it wants to be an economic superpower, it better work with all countries instead of portraying power. No use being powerful if the home economy goes into a depression.
J. Owens, USA

I appreciated greatly that a U.S. politician has finally voiced support for true democracy in Iran.

John Stearn, USA
Bush hit all the right points with his speech. The war on terror is not an excuse for American unilateralism, as leftists in Europe and America have been whining, but it is essential for the survival of America, it's allies, and the rest of modern civilization. A point of the speech I appreciated greatly was that a U.S. politician has finally voiced support for true democracy in Iran. Democratic support has been fomenting in the country for years, and it would be a great help for Iranian citizens if the United States and her allies began putting added pressure on the mullahs who wish to stamp out the people's wishes. When, however, will we deal with the tyranny of our "allies" in Saudi Arabia and Egypt? Soon, I hope. Others on Talking Point have said that the war on terror is just an excuse to take over oil fields, but as he briefly mentioned in his speech, the United States government has embarked on a program to make America energy independent (largely through hydrogen power). Sorry to dismiss your fears of a global conspiracy, but I think oil will be of less importance to America in the years to come. Another person on talking point questioned America's appreciation for our allies (mainly Great Britain). As a proud American I can assure you that we have not forgotten how the Queen sang our national anthem during the changing of the guard, and how ordinary British citizens laid flowers in front of a statue of FDR. And, during the tragedy, who served as a role model for both Giuliani and Bush? The symbol of British heroism, Winston Churchill. To that I say, God Bless America, and God bless our allies who believe in freedom and democracy just as much as we do.
Jon Stearn, USA

The speech did little to ease my mind about the state of the world. I see the USA becoming more isolated. I don't know who made us, the USA, the police watch dog of the world. I think it is arrogant that we take such a stance and isolate the rest of world. I fear the this will come back to haunt us sooner than later.

Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are very different from Afghanistan. That was a nation beaten into submission to the Dark Ages. The later three have weapons of mass destruction and who knows what else. I feel that this would be stirring up a hornets' nest. The fall out will not be pleasant. The USA can't act alone. It must work with the world community. It seems we have not learned anything from our past mistakes and our arrogance!
IBaldizon, USA

Bush is saying what the people want to hear, but not necessarily what they need to hear. I believe it is out of complete arrogance that we as a nation believe that American interests are more important than the civilian casualties or "collateral damage" of other nations. Surely terrorism runs deeper than the WTC disaster. Perhaps the government should look closer at damaging foreign policy that has led to the oppression of many countries. In our prosperity we have forgotten humanitarianism and sooner exploit other nations for our national interests. We have forgotten that the world is watching.

Even if the U.S. finds Bin Laden and destroys the Al-Qaeda network - or eradicates terrorism - it will only be putting a bandage on a festering wound. Redemptive violence is only a myth which has spawned from personal interests.
Jes, U.S.A.

I think the President is too eager to exploit the explosive situation for his own political gain

Thomas, US
As a public educator, my reflection upon President Bush address is very negative. He is too eager to spend money on defense at the expense of the domestic agenda. It seems to me that the President will actually escalate the tension of war in general at a cost of fighting again poverty, crisis in healthcare and education. It will indeed affect the future and well being of America as it will not able to take good care of its own people. I don't think the best way to reduce the threat of terrorism is to make better weapons or improve defense spending but rather having a just and hospitable foreign policy in which can reduce anti-American sentiment around the world. As an American, I'm now no longer willing to travel abroad for fear of being a possible target. I think the President is too eager to exploit the explosive situation for his own political gain rather than a wise and restrain reaction toward the situation.
Thomas, US

I heard the Presidential address in parts but when I read the whole text, I was somewhat disappointed. I was disappointed as he did not mention anything in his speech of addressing various ongoing conflicts around the world in which US has benefited from directly or indirectly. We should not ignore Middle East crisis on any pretext. This is a genuine problem and we need to assert our influence and try to reign in Israel from using its military arsenals provided by the US on Palestinian people, and start the negotiations immediately. The Kashmir crises should have been mentioned at least. This dispute is just 50 years old. Isn't it a shame for UNO for not resolving this issue during these years. How many deaths of civilians and how many years of injustices would any civilized society can face. These people were mostly forced to take up arms as the whole world had its vested interests in these conflicts. Unless we address those issues, how can we threaten other nations of dire consequences when these people have been refused justice for years. President Bush's speech should have mentioned not only his rhetoric on taking all terrorists to task but he should have mentioned that we will review our handling of different disputes and will not retreat ourselves until these issues are resolved. Reference to domestic policies, I don't know how can our economy revive in the presence of tax cut, increase in defence spendings. Time will tell.
Salman Hasan, USA

I was appalled with what I heard of Bush's speech. It was inflammatory, had no regard for recent conciliatory gestures made by countries such as Iran and North Korea, and jeopardised not only relations with Arab and Asian nations, but alienated his own nation from the international coalition against terrorism. In short, this frenzied flailing at just about everybody has probably been the biggest boost to terrorists and terrorism to September 11. Liberal groups who have put themselves out on a limb to join the coalition are now going to turn radical, forced into reversals of foreign policy by the farcical moans of Bush
Alex, Australia

It was a night of bombastic and arrogant display of self-aggrandizement, which alienated the very many nations needed to eradicate terrorism. The speech lacked the eloquence that is necessary for a leader of sole superpower nation now to lead the world into peace and prosperity.
Teahong, USA

Last night was so general that only the tone of delivery could be considered important.

Dan, USA
Definition is everything. Last night was so general that only the tone of delivery could be considered important. We will not know anything constructive about the words until we receive the President's definitions. It could be weeks or months before we actually know just what he was trying to say. I do think his delivery has improved. And the current situation seems to have given GB new confidence. The budget battle could interesting, there is no way he could do all of the general economic deeds he proposed. There just isn't enough money.
Dan, USA

The USA is the only nation in the world where civil servants swear an oath to an idea (the constitution), and not a person, office, or deity. They swear to defend the constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. To those that have attacked the USA, the State and Federal governments are legally obligated to take some kind of action against you. And to prevent these actions from getting out of hand, there must be some dissent within the US Government to protect it from a sort of Domestic enemy- the dissolution of Civil Rights. So far things seem to be working fine, thank you.
BJ Bonin, Minneapolis, USA

If President Bush┐s speech aimed at inspiring the American people, and elucidating to the world the American posture on terrorism, he did a wonderful job. His speech sent a transparent and unequivocal message to the world how the US will deal with any present and potential threats. I just hope that he hasn┐t set too lofty a goal by making accusations so broad concerning possible future targets. Saying without delivering can be detrimental to his credibility, which is probably the only thing he┐s got going for him. Let┐s hope he learned that lesson from his father┐s administration. As for the ardent cabals of neo-liberals and Anti-Americans who criticize Bush┐s every move, there will always be dogmatic opposition regardless of the cause.
Peter Cavallini, NJ, USA

Critics of Clinton ignore that his following the polls would have led him to do what Bush is doing

I am impressed with the frequent contrasts being made here regarding Clinton and Bush. Critics of Clinton suggest he would have followed the polls and been indecisive, but ignore that his following the polls would have led him to say/do what Bush is doing - the polls overwhelmingly favour a continued hard-line stance. Critics of Bush note his comparative ignorance of the underlying causes of extremist violence, yet forget that is some cases there are no underlying causes - the largest exemplar of the modernized world draws attention by those peoples who feel their beliefs and culture are threatened by modernity - would appeasement even be possible?

Bottom line, the US administration is doing what any US or European administration would do - reacting aggressively to eradicate a well-established organization that has been planning on attacking the country for some time.

Iran was quietly warming to the West, now that seems unlikely.

James, Canada
President Bush was very poignant in his speech... very harsh in his criticism of several countries. The question one must ask is... in targeting his condemnations against Iraq, North Korea, and Iran, could he be making the situation worse? In my opinion the levying of threats and such can only lead to an even more defensive and anti US attitude in those states. Iran was quietly warming to the West, now that seems unlikely. Iraq is a big problem, they should let weapons inspectors back in and that really should not be open to debate. North Korea is somewhat a mystery to me, so I will offer no comment. In short, I feel the state of the union address was good, but it has sparked harsh anti US sentiment in several parts of the world, which is never good. The entire middle east situation should try and be resolved ASAP before a true catastrophe occurs.
James, Canada

Leading a nation united by terrorist attacks, disheartened by recession and slowly finding its way back to politics as usual, the State of the Union address presented President George W Bush with an opportunity to set the nation's political agenda, set the stage for his party in the upcoming midterm elections and further cement an alarmingly high popularity rating.

The reviews of political pundits and the early poll returns show that in one respect, Bush attained his central goal. He enjoys unremittingly unanimous support among the American people. In one respect, this is not unusual. A nation attacked is a nation united. In other respects, it is singularly frightening. Tonight's speech was, at its heart, American politics in its basest and most depraved incarnation.

On the domestic front, there were few surprises. The unholy union between Enron and the Republican Party, in which campaign coffers were filled with Enron funds and thousands of employees saw their life savings evaporate, was brushed aside with a request that Congress initiate financial safeguards and accounting reforms. Senior citizens were promised aid for prescription costs and the Senate was asked to pass a Republican economic stimulus package that has already cleared the house. A call went out for citizens to pledge themselves to national service and for the formation of a "Freedom Corps" - the Bush equivalent of Kennedy's Peace Corps.

All were warmly received - although the "Freedom Corps" exhortation seemed to land on the floor with a resounding thud, where it will lie in embarrassed prostration until it is forgotten.

The military, of course, will get more than its share. Bush called for a tremendous increase in military spending - including a call once again for the development of the technically doubtful "missile shield".

The preceding was, of course, the second act. As it inevitably would, the war on terrorism took centre stage... One can find some comfort in a few small things. Restraint is not usually found in his references to terrorism; thankfully, the word "evil" was only used five times in less than an hour. The remainder, however, was derisorily true to form. Terrorism against the US, a phenomenon that has grown out of decades of careless American foreign policy, was again reduced to a simplistic falsehood - the war against terror is a war against those who would deprive of us our "freedom".

This theme is wonderfully simple. It avoids so many uncomfortable questions and one simple truth - that terrorists couldn't care less about our freedom. Terrorists simply want us to die. This is because the US has been "free" to support oppressive regimes in Islamic states, "free" to support Israel, and "free" to pursue its interests regardless of the rights of others. As the defender of "freedom, one can then be "free," as the only nation that has used nuclear weapons, to proclaim that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea must be not be allowed to develop these weapons on their own.

Irony or thoughtfulness have no place in this approach. How Ronald Reagan's mujahideen "Freedom Fighters" have become George W Bush's "evildoers" does not need to be examined. When speaking to your nation, trot out the wounded soldier and the new leader of "liberated" Afghanistan, place the flag on your shoulders, and tell your people that they must fight to be free.

Whatever you do, don't ask why.
Dr. C, US

This speech is not only heard by Americans, it is heard by rest of the world.

Jan, Belgium
Bush accepts the role of the USA as the number one nation in the world but does not want or is not able to take the responsibility that belongs to this role. This speech is not only heard by Americans, it is heard by rest of the world. I'm scared by it's oversimplification, evil/good dualism, the religious motives, the abuse of the word "war", the militarism, the half truths or lies and above all the mediocracy. Somebody compared Bush to Churchill. How is this possible? Churchill had travelled the world and won a Nobel prize for literature. Mr. Bush never travelled very much abroad. His literary skills? Hum.
Jan, Brussels, Belgium

If Bush can destroy evil, poverty, and taxes by the next election, I'll certainly vote for him. If he can't, I'll vote for someone with a more realistic agenda.
Jesse, USA

I was one of those who protested against Bush gaining the President's position but as we go along I realize that liberal views of the world are no longer tenable in an age of terror. I am so tired of hearing the liberal naysayers attack the president and his efforts to combat terrorism and lift up the economy. If it wasn┐t for Western capitalism and values of democracy, plurality and tolerance we would all still be living under old world oppression. And for all those nations whose leaders are tyrants, beware because the bells of freedom are ringing so loudly and the conviction of liberty so strong in the hearts of the masses that your selfish pursuits and interests will soon be washed away. God Bless America and hopefully the rest of the liberal free world across the ocean will recognize that it is time for the West to stand up for the values that have made us all so prosperous.
Leah, USA

Bush's simple analogies about good vs. evil, etc., are not only wearing, they're dangerous. Tax breaks for the rich (they'll use their extra cash to build factories and employ us), a huge military build-up and Congressional permission to deploy that military anywhere in the world without concern about civilian casualties -- and if you've got a problem with any of this, you're unpatriotic. Oh, yes, and Bush wants to do something to prevent future Enron-type debacles, but he's not giving the campaign contributions back and Cheney isn't going to cooperate with the investigation.
Gail, USA

I think that George Bush was right in what he was saying. But, to me it gave the impression of the USA becoming very paranoid and almost closing its doors to the rest of the world. All this spending on arms is worrying but still I guess the guy must have a plan. At least he has the guts to actually say what the majority of his country thinks. Maybe Mr Blair should stop pandering to the do-gooders and take a leaf out of Mr Bush's 'hard backed' book!
Simon, UK

I don't think Europe truly understands how determined we are to protect ourselves from the kind of savage attack we suffered during September.

Chris Irvine, USA
While I support President Bush and his stated objectives, I can see we're in for a long and increasingly violent war. It's depressing but I understand. I don't think Europe truly understands how determined we are to protect ourselves from the kind of savage attack we suffered during September. You've stood by us and we thank you for your help and support. Some Europeans have finger waved at us citing other problems of the world that we are supposedly responsible for as a reason to sit stay at home and not react. Forget about it. The time for finger waving has passed. The time to decide where you will stand in the future is here.
Chris Irvine, USA

President Bush did hit all the right notes in the State of the Union address, but that is no surprise, these speeches are always well scripted. One of the most important and correct points in my mind is when he said the US will act against terrorism even if other countries don't. That I can assure you is supported by the overwhelming majority of American people. The average Jane and Joe on the American street is feed up with nations that are willing to hide behind America's might and call themselves our allies but waver when the call for help is given. The UK in my mind is the only nation to deliver on it's alliance and friendship with the US during this war on terrorism. These nations reactions (or lack thereof) are not lost on the American people, nor will they soon be forgotten.
Dan, USA

What gives the US the right to condemn other nations for developing weapons, when she herself has a massive arsenal? Why is it that she says nothing to Israel who also has nuclear weapons? Its OK to build weapons of mass destruction so long as the agenda is a US agenda. Darn arrogance!
Abu Zahra, Liverpool, UK

I understand that effective rhetoric is essential for any leader, especially in times of war. In this respect he hit the right notes. But it seems that Bush Jr has not learned much from the lessons of US intervention (or attempts to control) world affairs over the last 60 years. The massive cost will cripple the economy of the US, recession or not. Then what about the people of the US There will be much hardship and unemployment. And for what? The achievement of some ill defined, vague and ever expanding goals. Overall he hasn't hit a single right note since his inauguration.
Martin, UK

He did not mention a plan of action.

Shauna, USA
Bush's speech was nothing short of typical for a State of the Union address. He hit every political topic possible and stated things Americans wanted to hear. However he did not mention a plan of action. He discussed spending as if America had money sitting around for these very purposes. Yet he wants to cut taxes further. It doesn't take a genius to realize both cannot happen as easily has Bush makes it sound. But as I said, in that way it was a typical State of the Union address.
Shauna, USA

Thank God Bush came along when he did. We finally have a real leader unfazed by polls and media hype. I applaud his strength of character and his willingness to rise above spin doctors and a media willing to do anything to keep the airwaves filled 24/7.
Mary, Atlanta, USA

George Bush's rhetoric concerns me more and more. Although there is truth in what he says it is irresponsible and foolish to think that because of the relative ease with which the Taleban have been removed from power, the US can take a more hawkish stance in international relations. The recent speech by Bush makes another atrocity like September 11th more rather than less likely. The US should be applying pressure on Israel and acting more like the moral authority that it should be on the international stage.
Andy Oakley, UK

President Bush is carrying out what he pledged to the world, he is a courageous world leader. His commitment against terror started almost since President Bush came to office and it has superseded everything else that is important within the US such as domestic affairs at home. He has virtually the full support of congress at this time as Americans appear to be backing their President in very difficult times. It is apparent now that the world has changed through the barbaric events of terror but it affects so much more of our lives in other areas. The only way that freedom and democracy will prevail is by crushing terror at its very roots. What has gone up until now is only the tip of the ice-berg. President Bush is strong and has courage, he is not running away because he like most of us know the implications of allowing terror to fester will be to destroy all of the values that America and other freedom loving countries like the UK seek to enjoy.
Mark Dowe, Scotland

I couldn't watch the whole speech. It started out with so much jingoism and very little substance on the real problems occurring in our country, such as the recession. I feel there is way too much focus on the "War on Terror". I can't believe this guy has an approval rating as high as he does. I believe it is because the expectations of him were set so low by the American media when he got elected (well, sort of got elected!)
Ken, NJ, USA

You can look at his face and know he's speaking from his heart

Michelle, USA
I did vote for Bush--actually it was more a matter of voting against Gore - and every time I see President Bush speaking, I'm so happy he won the election. The last thing we need in these times is someone like Clinton or Gore, who depended on constant polling and sound bites, with no real creed or ethics. Bush says some things that don't make all of the people happy, he knows some of the things that have to be done are not going to be popular. But he does it because he knows it has to be done. And you can look at his face and know he's speaking from his heart. I think he is a brave and responsible man and exactly who we need at this time--not some immature intern-groping egomaniac. Bush makes me very proud to be American, not embarrassed and disgusted like our last unfortunate choice.
Michele, USA

Vested interests. That's what I heard coming out of President Bush's speech. I may be cynical but the history of American foreign policy gives me cause. It seems an awfully big coincidence that Bush has targeted certain countries for their participation in terrorist activities. Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and Malaysia amongst them, have one very real thing in common. All are leading producers of oil. Has the world forgotten that the US funded the armament and training of Afghan "resistance fighters" throughout the 1980's? At the time, The USSR's occupation there was a threat to oil country. The Taliban (Afghani for "students")are the same soldiers once supported by the Americans and trained through the Pakistan secret service, with the cooperation of the CIA. President Bush labels "evil-doers" as those who are against America and its allies. What he's really saying is that they are against Americas interests. The world should be wary of this dangerous man and his administration.
Shawna, Canada

Reading over the comments below, I am embarrassed for my fellow citizens. How self-righteous and egotistical we must sound to the rest of the world. We use phrases like "the leader of the free world" and "the war on terrorism." We mimic the politicians who have invented these terms without even calling into question what we might be saying. Some of us even go so far as to say those who would criticize this "peace-loving nation" are naive and "jealous of American prosperity." I can only encourage those people to undertake a bit more research into the history of the world and examine just how that prosperity was won, before they question the motives of those criticizing it. If the world at large has a different opinion about American foreign policy most of our citizens would seem to be unaware of this, as our news-media has left us bereft of any perspective but our own. Finally, the last time I checked, "peace-loving" nations are those that refuse to celebrate war, through movies and the mass media, at home; through extending sanctions and embargos, abroad. We may be greedy to extend our influence, but God help us all if we can see no further than the newspapers and television programs that have forgotten their duty towards free-thinking citizens, and have instead became the celebrants of governmental policy, and world-lost figureheads like George W. Bush.
Erik, USA

President Bush's speech was excellent in all aspects. All people must never forget what the Islamic terrorists are capable of inflicting upon innocent citizens around the globe. We must never become complacent and lower our guard. They hate the US and The West and all that we stand for. If you think they cannot, or won't, strike your country, your family and your friends, think again! The terrorists are the very epitome of evil. Their philosophy has nothing to do with peace, rather, it has everything to do with hate. America will stand tall, she will recover from the unemployment rate we are now seeing, and from any other internal situations needing help. We are strong, intelligent, and good moral people. Bash us all you want in Britain and Europe, but the next time you need our help, we will be there for you, as we always have been in the past.
Patty, USA

In response to Patty in the US - who says, "next time you need our help, we'll be there " - does that include the next time the IRA decides to launch a bombing campaign in the UK? I think not. All Bush is good for is stirring the jingoist in Americans, which is not hard to do. As we say in this country, he is all mouth and no trouser's!
kc, UK

I did not watch. I will wait to get the major points from the analysts. Frankly, I find it too painful to listen to this man. It is like fingernails on a chalk board. His priorities are skewed. His reasoning is transparent. I believe we are headed for massive failures domestically and internationally.
Eric, USA

President Bush gave an excellent speech revealing his cognisance of the relevant issues. Inspires confidence. Has dignity, integrity. I thank God for him. He is the right man for this office. Please pray for us and our leadership. Thank You , Cousins!
Grace E. Alexander, United States of America

Plenty of Americans loathed FDR even though they thought him a good war leader. Bush is somewhat the same.

Jon Livesey, USA
It is perfectly possible to have differing views of a President in different areas of the job. Plenty of Americans loathed FDR even though they thought him a good war leader. Bush is somewhat the same. He's hated by what passes for the Left in the US, but he is correct to keep warning people that the war on terrorism is not over. And let us not forget how many times he has been right this year when his critics in the US and Europe mocked him. He was right to say Bin Laden was behind the attack on the WTC. He was right to hold off his response until he was ready. The military response succeeded, even though critics in Europe predicted disaster, and he was also right to use Pakistan is an ally. This isn't a bad record when so many people were prepared to go on record as saying that Bush was an amateur and out of his depth. Incidentally, I don't see too many of his critics admitting that they were wrong.
Jon Livesey, USA

Bush's speech was on the mark and nicely delivered. It's encouraging to see some strong leadership in the States again. However, the tendency to lean on simplistic analogies to describe international conflicts could become a bit wearing going forward. Obviously the State of the Union address is intended to be a bit of a "pep talk", but a bit more introspection would have added a bit more credibility. Nonetheless, the basic message is not lost. Bravo George.
Richard Barnes, Sydney, Australia

As one who didn't vote for him, I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how effective a leader of the free world George W. Bush has become. I, for one find his candour regarding Iran, Iraq, and terrorist organizations refreshing, especially in light of the waffling and dissembling of certain European nations. It is high time indeed the nations of the West and freedom loving peoples everywhere awake to the threat that surrounds us and unite. President Bush may not play well in certain circles, but he has the support of his fellow Americans and their allies throughout the world. His speech while general, hit all the right notes.
Robert, USA

The emperor has no clothes! If this speech was the result of three months of writing by countless minions, I am not impressed. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton was speaking in Palo Alto, CA for a non-profit that's mission is to educate and empower the 2/3 of the world's female population that lives in poverty. What a contrast.
Kelley, CA, USA

George Bush will probably run out of time before he achieves his goal.

Phillip Tunnell, Oman
I work in the Middle East and terrorism is something I take very seriously. I personally think that something should have been done about terrorism years ago. However, it will take a very brave man indeed to follow through with what has to be done, in an International context if world-wide terrorism is to be defeated. George Bush will probably run out of time before he achieves his goal. It is not only the USA that has to fight against terrorism it is the whole of the civilised world. Unfortunately for most democracies, there is a very strong, world-wide, lobby of liberal voices that will oppose any global battle against terrorism.
Philip Tunnell, Oman

I think he was right on the international front, but I am more concerned about the economy and the millions of Americans such as myself who is in the unemployment line. If he doesn't start addressing the concerns of millions of unemployed Americans soon I will be sure to not vote for him 3 years from now.
Melinda, USA

I think Bush is trying so hard to focus on international terrorism because he's afraid of what will happen if the American public ever opens its eyes and sees how this Administration has eroded the US Constitution. We won't need international terrorists to change our way of life, we've "elected" our own to eliminate our freedoms.
Caryle, USA

I agree with everything President Bush had to say about fighting the war against terror, saving the economy and education while also updating the military. My only question is where is President Bush getting all of this money from? Especially now that he intends to keep the tax cuts.
Justin, Connecticut

Previous contributors have accused Europeans of not fully grasping the threat posed by terrorism. Perhaps the reason the Europeans and others haven't reacted in the same high handed fashion is because they have been living with terrorism for most of the last 100 years. Some of it sponsored by US citizens who have supported such organisations as the IRA in the past.
Anton Zimmermann, UK

America was overdue for a speech of this sort.

Ryan, USA
A very good presentation of themes and ideals. The naysayers are very naive. So much of the international community is jealous of American prosperity. It is very clear in their rhetoric. President Bush understands that their jealousy often turns to hatred and violence (as we all have witnessed). I applaud him for doing what is necessary to protect American sovereignty from those nations and groups who would seek to destroy it for their own twisted and selfish reasons. America was overdue for a speech of this sort. The world needs to hear this message: that the most powerful nation on earth is a peace loving nation and will stop at nothing to safeguard liberty for itself and its allies.
Ryan, USA

Great leaders do what is right without looking over their shoulder to see who is watching or cheering. George Bush is that kind of leader. Whether the rest of the world likes it or not he is doing what is right for America and it's people. The rest of the world will be better for it as well.
Darrell Galloway, USA

I agreed with everything that President Bush said in his speech last night. For all those who are so worried that he might be more concerned with the war on terrorism than our economy, how well do you think our economy will fair after another terrorist attack? Thousands of jobs were lost as a result of the last one. George W. Bush is, by far, the best President of my lifetime and he and his Cabinet have my complete support.
Gwen, USA

I believe the US presidents statements were correct about Iran. The Iranian people have been under the oppression of a regime that cloaks itself in religion to obtain legitimacy. It is to the shame of the world that countries such as UK could actually support a government that uses religion to destroy an entire people.
Hasan Asadi, Iran

God help America's enemies now!

Karel, UK
It was a fine speech. President Bush has a huge task ahead of him, trying to keep the war on terrorism on track whilst keeping American home policies working toward the greater good of Americans will not be easy. There will always be people that will criticise what he has done and now what he has said, but Mr. Bush has shown that his resolve to win through is unstoppable, God help America's enemies now!
Karel, UK

Why not mention the support from our closest allies - especially from the people of Canada and Great Britain? The British are constant in their willingness to stand up in defense of theirs and the interests of the free world alongside America. He could have at least uttered some words of appreciation. Let's not isolate ourselves from them as well. We may find ourselves in a weaker position without their strong support...
Keir, NYC (now in London, England)

George W's speech did nothing to address many Europeans' concerns that he really doesn't have a clue about diplomacy. He has no clear goal; only rhetoric and flag-waving. If he truly wanted to improve the world situation, he would seek to build relations with America's 'enemies' instead of inflaming them to the point of causing another war. I suspect that while we (Brits & Europeans) were happy to support the war against Afghanistan, which was, after all, caused by a totally unjustified attack on civilians, we would be less happy about helping America fight random countries they just don't particularly like.
Dave, England

It is striking to see people returning to old habits just four months after the Sept. 11th attacks. We in the West are fortunate to live in a very comfortable world. It is easy to forget that outside our bubble, there is tremendous poverty, hatred, and violence. Even if these things were of no threat to us, we should do something about them. It is a shame that Bush and we Americans only take action against these plights when we feel threatened. But at least we are finally taking action. European finger waving and hand wringing does nothing to solve the problems of the world.

America has the ability to make a huge difference in the world. We can remove bad governments and help people to form new governments that will allow them to live in peace and eventually prosper. I hope that Afghanistan will be the first of a long string of examples in which tyrants who serve only themselves or some twisted religious cause are replaced with governments whose purpose is to help their people.

I don't claim that our actions are motivated purely by altruism -- far from it. We are primarily acting in our own self-interest. However, I do believe that we have a very enlightened sense of our own self-interest, and that we are making efforts to choose actions that address not only our immediate security concerns, but also the needs of people in poor and unstable countries, thereby also serving our own longer term interests. So I feel very good about Bush's speech and the direction the US is heading.
John, USA

Mr. Bush has shown the ability to lead our world in these times of great uncertainty.

Patrick Duerr, USA
We as caring people must not back down from the threats and actions of those who want to do us harm. Mr. Bush has shown the ability to lead our world in these times of great uncertainty. We, as allied brothers and sisters, must face these difficult times together with steady resolve. In my 30 years of living I have never been or felt more inspired than I was Tuesday night. If facing this threat results in the loss of my life to save the interest of my son than I will sacrifice myself knowing that Mr. Bush and the American resolve is right and honourable.
Patrick Duerr, USA

I did try to keep an open mind last night during Bush┐s speech, but found it hard to believe he never mentions the war against poverty here at home. Many families with their children are suffering on our home front and they find no help available to them in this great country of ours.
Alice C. Davis, USA

People who criticize President Bush for "destroying the economy" are not very familiar with his or President Clinton's economic policies. The current recession began during the last administration, and Americans say they are better off now than they were 2 or 3 years ago. I think that some people just want to complain, and their perception is so skewed and narrow that they cannot look at the facts. President Bush made a good speech last night, and Americans overwhelmingly stand with him...just as he stands with us.
Dallas, USA

People may not like Bush's brand of American wartime unilateralism, but is there really any question about whether the speech itself was well done? I do have to chuckle at those who complain of Bush's jingoistic rhetoric. What do you expect from a leader of a nation at war? Something on the order of 'can't we all just get along?'
David, USA

Bush is right. If the U.S. is attacked again the economy will suffer. We are now reminded that our economic security is forever linked with the security of our country. I think Europeans are turning a blind eye to the threat so obviously posed by Iraq, Iran etc.... The terrorists want to destroy Western culture, not just U.S. culture. Also, do Europeans honestly believe that Iraq does not pose a threat? Does anyone remember World War 2. Saddam has had no problem using chemical weapons on his own citizens. Why should he have a problem using them on the citizens of the world?

If he truly wished to end such terrorism he could redirect our foreign policy

Stephen B, USA
Left unsaid as usual by Mr. Bush is asking how we alone have been the targets of these latest round of terrorists? Why not other democracies? If he truly wished to end such terrorism he could redirect our foreign policy to pursue policies that do not create even more unneeded enemies. I do not expect that to happen since the present economic and military power enjoyed by the U.S. has created its own arrogance. By naming North Korea, Iran and Iraq as our "enemies" he did not mention that those countries never attacked us, we dispatched our military thousands of miles from our own troubled shores to attack them in their homes. He also did not admit that much of the terror now directed at us is the result of his dad's war with Iraq which was instigated by foreign loyalist lobbyists here. Until he subdues their power we will face perpetual wars and they will prove unsustainable as all past empires have proven.
Stephen B, USA

It is all fine and dandy to speak of doubling the military budget, improving education and reducing taxes. But I don't understand how this adds up. Perhaps congress was too exhausted in all of their standing and applauding to think about how any of this will possibly happen. Why doesn't he just promise everyone a pony while he's at it? You can't increase spending while reducing taxes. He says the deficit will be short term, but I doubt he will find a way to pay for it in the long run.
Jordan Medeiros, USA

The speech said nothing. Bush was looking for an excuse to raise military spending, and Al-Qaeda gave it to him. I hope Bush will go the way of his father, and lose re-election.
Daryl N., USA

It pacified a population too lazy to realize that their civil liberties are being eroded

Cherie, NYC
That speech had every buzz word imaginable in it. It pacified a population too lazy to realize that their civil liberties are being eroded continually for a temporary safety that the government is unable to give them. Who is giving this president (or any other for the last 50 years) a high approval rating? They obviously aren┐t asking me.
Cherie, NYC

President Bush did hit the right notes. He knows what he is doing and he has a great battery of wise people to assist him.
Agha Ata, USA

George Bush stated that "thousands of dangerous killers , schooled in the methods of murder...are now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs". It is worth noting that for years the US government has funded the military training of foreign nationals, notably in Latin America, and that many of these have gone on to be involved in activities that have violated the rights of many civilians. Some of Latin America's most notorious dictators were graduates of the School of the Americas, a US military training school in Alabama. So I ask that perhaps those responsible for filling the world with murderous time bombs should set their own house in order before making grand statements about ridding the world of these ticking time bombs, many of whom are only ticking away because the US, and others, have provided the mechanism to set them ticking.
Ruth, UK

I am a firm supporter of the way that Bush is handling foreign issues. That said, I agree with the idea that he focused primarily on the war issue during the speech because his domestic agenda and policies are so weak and won't be received well by the American people. He has learned from his Dad's mistakes.

I also think that American Presidents should take a more worldly approach when speaking in a forum which will be televised or commented on throughout the world. Everything is "America has the moral right to..." What about saying "The world has the moral right to.." We alienate our foreign friends way to much. (I would note that sometimes this is with good reason.)
James, USA

His speech was well received by the American public. He spoke plainly yet with conviction and forthrightness. There are some who would rather not be reminded of the evils that exist in the world and the real threat to our security and way of life. Some say we need to understand what causes terrorism. We understand they want to wipe us off the face of this planet. President Bush is simply informing the world we will fight for our survival.
Tim , USA

His public speaking skills have dramatically improved.

Michael, USA
President Bush demonstrated to me last evening that his public speaking skills have dramatically improved. His speech was nice rhetoric, but that's all these speeches ever are. The incessant, sustained, and staged applause is equally transparent. As for substance, I heard very little, other than a clear intention on the part of my government to pursue this cause to the bitter end, and despite international opinion. The latter disturbs me, since it feeds what appears to be the root cause of this problem - resentment and hatred of the United States government and its citizens (and by association, our friends and allies). We truly need to win "hearts and minds" to keep terrorism at bay. Not in the superficial Vietnam War sense, but in reality.

I support my governments goals as stated last night, but I hope my government listens to others about the means we use to achieve them. You can't please all the people all the time, but listening to and considering all points of view is critical. This applies not only to the US, but also to people everywhere, especially those who prefer to jump to conclusions based on one picture or a few poorly worded headlines.
Michael, USA

Bush's speech was great, but like most modern political speeches, it lacked the intellectual quality and thoughtfulness of some of the great political speeches of the past, like those of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
John Litwinski, USA

I look around me and wonder if I'm the only person in this country who sees what an embarrassment this president is. We should never forgive Ralph Nader for getting George W. Bush elected.
Cindy, USA

Mr. Bush tells it like it is and does not back down.

Mike, UK
The speech was wonderful. Mr. Bush tells it like it is and does not back down. Personally, I believe Americans notice the danger of terrorism while the rest of the world sits back and watches. In 2010, when this war is hopefully over, the world will have the same country to thank for doing another thing to help the world... wiping out most of the terrorists.
Mike, UK

I just think it a shame that America does not use the $388 billion to fight poverty. This is one of the cornerstones that creates terrorism.
Paul King, England

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