for $48 Billion Increase in Defense Spending
Eglin Air Force Base
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
February 4, 2002
10:40 A.M. CST
Thank you all. Thank you very much. I appreciate your warm welcome. It is an
honor to be here with the men and women who wear our uniform. (Applause.) It's
an honor to be at Eglin. (Applause.) And it's appropriate that I was delivered
to your door on an Air Force jet. (Applause.)
I not only want to thank all of you who wear our uniform, I want to thank your
families, as well. (Applause.) I understand that military life makes a lot of
demands on those who serve, and I also understand the family's sacrifice. And,
for that, your nation is grateful. (Applause.) Every family member here today
can be certain that our nation's cause is right, and our nation's cause is just.
You can be sure of something else -- in this war against terror, the forces
of freedom will prevail. (Applause.)
I always enjoy coming to states which have a great governor. (Applause.) Enough
said. (Laughter.) It's clear that both of us were listening to our mother. (Laughter.)
My advice to all you youngsters out there is, listen to your mother. (Laughter
and applause.) Right, Buddy?
I'm also honored to be here with Ched Bob. As you know, I like nicknames. I
never heard a general called Ched Bob before. (Laughter.) But, General, thank
you for your leadership.
I also want to thank General Lyles and General Stogsdill, as well, for their
leadership for our country. I'm proud of the men and women who wear the uniform,
and I'm proud we've got some of the finest -- finest -- Americans who are leading
our brave troops, including General Hester.
I also want to thank Congressman Miller. Congressman Miller flew down with me
today on Air Force One. He's a young Congressman, he just got up there. But
I can assure you one thing -- when it comes to supporting the men and women
in the military, you've got a strong supporter in Jeff Miller. (Applause.)
Not only am I pleased to be with so many from Eglin, I'm also pleased to be
from -- men and women and families from the headquarters of the Special -- the
Air Force Special Operations Command in Hurlburt. (Applause.) The quiet professionals.
(Applause.) You don't sound so quiet today, however. You perform with daring
and dedication. You've made an impression on the enemy. You've given the terrorists
around the world their first glimpse at their fate. (Applause.)
The 16th Special Operations Wing has a motto: Any time, anyplace. (Applause.)
You spend every day training, testing and preparing for any mission that may
come. It makes me feel good to be the Commander-in-Chief of people who train
hard for any mission that may come. You perform your missions with success and
with honor, and you've made America proud. (Applause.)
I understand that one young man has returned from the war zone in time for the
birth of twins. My congratulations to Staff Sergeant Christopher Avery and Erica.
(Applause.) Staff Sergeant, you can take it from the Commander-in-Chief and
a father of twins, you're going to be a busy man. (Laughter and applause.)
Our military has a new mission for the 21st century. It came suddenly, but you
were ready. The 919th Special Operations Wing -- (applause) -- is part of a
tremendous fighting force that assembled across the world in a matter of weeks.
You destroyed Afghan terrorist training camps and freed a country from brutal
oppression. Our military not only proved themselves on a battlefield, but our
military were liberators, freeing women and children, giving them the chance
to breathe the fresh air of freedom. For that, I'm so grateful and proud. (Applause.)
When America was attacked, our men and women in uniform felt it in a personal
way. A reporter asked an Air Force pilot if he had any direct connection to
the victims of September 11th. The pilot replied, "I think we all do; they
were Americans." That's how we all felt. When you strike one American,
you strike all Americans, and you can expect to hear from us. (Applause.)
The terrorists are beginning to realize they picked the wrong enemy. (Applause.)
As I like to put it, they must have been watching too much daytime TV. (Laughter.)
They thought we were soft. They thought we would roll over. My, oh, my, they
haven't got us figured out. But they're beginning to understand us. You see,
we're a patient and deliberate people. We're absolutely resolved to find terrorists
where they hide and to root them out one by one. (Applause.)
Some people may grow weary, but not me. And not you. History has called us into
action, and we will not stop until the threat of global terrorism has been destroyed.
This message has been made clear to the enemy. It has been made clear to the
world. It has been made clear to those who think they can harm America. And
that message is being delivered by the finest military ever assembled: the United
States military. (Applause.)
In a short period of time, we're making great progress. It hasn't been all that
long ago that I called the military into action. I know it seems a long time
for many of the family members. But when history looks back, we haven't been
at this for very long, but we're making huge progress. We've built a fabulous
coalition of many nations and every region of the world. They know that in this
conflict there is a choice to make: Either you're with us, or your with the
terrorists. Either you're with freedom and justice, or you're on the side of
tyranny and oppression. And the good news is, civilized people everywhere are
taking the side of freedom and justice. (Applause.)
Our first objective in the first theater against the war against terror has
been achieved -- the Taliban are out of business. (Applause.) They're gone and
the people of Afghanistan don't miss them one bit. A few months ago, some warned
that military action would cause an uprising in the streets. Well, when we defeated
that brutal regime, people did take to the streets -- but they came out to celebrate;
they came out to express their joy; they came out to cheer the fact that their
oppressors had left and freedom had returned. (Applause.)
And we're working on our next objective. And that's to run down al Qaeda and
the rest of the terrorists, and maybe give them a free trip to Guantanamo Bay.
(Applause.) This will take time. It's going to take a while. The American people
understand that and, for that, I'm grateful. And you need to know, I'm a patient
man. I don't have a set calendar. All I know is we've got them on the run. And
we're after people who, on the one hand, sent kids to suicide missions, and
on the other hand, try to bury deep inside some cave. But there's no cave deep
enough. There's no place they can hide long enough for the long arm of American
justice to find 'em and get 'em. (Applause.)
Afghanistan is only the first step, the beginning of a long campaign to rid
the world of terrorists. We're just starting. In the caves they ran from, we
found evidence of more plans to attack us. And while we're on alert at home
and doing everything we can to protect innocent life in America, the surest
way to defend America, the surest way to make sure our children grow up in a
peaceful and free society, is to be relentless in our pursuit of those who would
harm America, those who hate freedom, and bring them to justice. (Applause.)
We believe that they've trained thousands of killers, and they view the entire
world as a battlefield. And that's why we're not going to quit. And that's why
we're going to rally the nations of freedom. And that's why we're going to protect
the American people.
Another objective is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening
America or our friends and allies with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
We must be deliberate as a nation. But time isn't on our side. Terrorist states
and terrorist allies are an axis of evil, seeking weapons of mass destruction.
But I've put them on notice. The United States of America will not permit the
world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive
It is now up to them to change their behavior. It is now up to them to join
peaceful nations. But they're on notice. They're on notice. And this cause,
this historic moment, this great opportunity to fight for freedom and to promote
the peace for the long-term requires a strong military. And we must keep it
strong with new investments in equipment, and we must keep it strong by attracting
and retaining the best and the brightest in our country. (Applause.)
We're learning a lot about modern warfare in the first theater, Afghanistan.
We're learning about weapons and how to use them better. It's proved that in
this first phase that expensive precision weapons not only defeat the enemy,
but spare innocent lives. And the budget I submit makes it clear we need more
of them. (Applause.)
We need to be agile and quick to move. We need to be able to send our troops
onto battlefields in places that many of us never thought there would be a battlefield.
We need to be agile and mobile. And, therefore, we need to replace aging aircraft,
and get ready to be able to defend freedom with the best equipment possible.
Our men and women deserve the best weapons, the best equipment, and the best
training. And therefore, I've asked Congress for a one-year increase of more
than $48 billion for national defense, the largest increase in a generation.
We need one other thing. As I said, we need to recruit and retain the best.
This budget I submitted has another military pay raise for those who wear the
We're unified in Washington on winning this war. One way to express our unity
is for Congress to set the military budget, the defense of the United States,
as the number one priority and fully fund my request. (Applause.) The budget
I submit recognizes the vital role the military will play and recognizes we
have only one alternative, and that is victory. (Applause.)
One of the great honors I have is the opportunity to work with people in our
military, from the troops to the former pilot who serves as the Secretary of
Defense, Don Rumsfeld -- (applause) -- my administration's matinee idol for
the seniors. (Laughter.) I've also appointed an Air Force general as the Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs. And he brings to the job great discipline and duty and
service above self. I'm proud of General Myers. (Applause.)
The Air Force has a great ethic, a family ethic. You stick together, you take
care of your own, and you bring out the best in each other. (Applause.) And
you know the stakes of this cause. Our enemies want every person on Earth to
live in tyranny or live in fear. We seek a world that lives in peace and freedom.
And, you know what? There's no doubt in my mind we're going to prevail. (Applause.)
In the months and years to come, our nation will be asking much of the Air Force,
and every branch of our military. You have my confidence, because you've earned
it. You earn it every day in the difficulties you accept and the dangers you
face. You're each here to serve your country, and your country is grateful.
You're here because you believe in America, and America believes in you. God