[House Document 109-80]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


109th Congress, 2d Session - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 109-80
                       STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE







  February 1, 2006.--Message and accompanying papers referred to the 
 Committee on the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to 
                               be printed
To the Congress of the United States:
    Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, 
Members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, 
distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
    Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman 
who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a 
noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad 
reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, 
and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.
    Each time I am invited to this rostrum, I am humbled by the 
privilege, and mindful of the history we have seen together. We 
have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national 
mourning and national achievement. We have served America 
through one of the most consequential periods of our history 
and it has been my honor to serve with you.
    In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected 
branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even 
tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our 
differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. To confront 
the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of goodwill 
and respect for one another--and I will do my part. Tonight the 
state of our Union is strong--and together we will make it 
    In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that 
determine both the future and the character of our country. We 
will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of 
freedom--or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier 
life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the 
world economy--or shut ourselves off from trade and 
opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of 
isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting--yet 
it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our 
people . . . the only way to secure the peace . . . the only 
way to control our destiny is by our leadership--so the United 
States of America will continue to lead.
    Abroad, our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term 
goal--we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss 
that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future 
security of America depends on it. On September 11, 2001, we 
found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive 
state seven thousand miles away could bring murder and 
destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, 
feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass 
destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect 
the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the 
fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world 
makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedom's 
    Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is 
the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two 
dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122. And we 
are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government--with 
women lining up to vote in Afghanistan . . . and millions of 
Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink . . . and men and 
women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals 
and the necessity of freedom. At the start of 2006, more than 
half the people of our world live in democratic nations. we do 
not forget the other half--in places like Syria, Burma, 
Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran--because the demands of 
justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as 
    No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage 
and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction 
and opposition is radical Islam--the perversion by a few of a 
noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. 
Terroristslike bin Laden are serious about mass murder--and all of us 
must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a 
heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, 
and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder. Their aim is to seize 
power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against 
America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us 
directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they 
murder children at a school in Beslan . . . or blow up commuters in 
London . . . or behead a bound captive . . . the terrorists hope these 
horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. 
But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to 
keep it.
    In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning 
our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were 
to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us 
alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own 
shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in 
retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will--by leaving 
an assaulted world to fend for itself--we would signal to all 
that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own 
courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The 
United States will not retreat from the world, and we will 
never surrender to evil.
    America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are 
the Nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death 
camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil 
empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver 
the oppressed, and move this world toward peace.
    We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have 
killed or captured many of their leaders--and for the others, 
their day will come.
    We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan--where a fine 
president and national assembly are fighting terror while 
building the institutions of a new democracy.
    And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for 
victory. First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive 
government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the 
insurgency marginalized. Second, we are continuing 
reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to 
fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can 
experience the benefits of freedom. Third, we are striking 
terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are 
increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. Iraqis are showing 
their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in 
the cause of freedom.
    Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal. 
But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a 
new democracy. In less than 3 years, that nation has gone from 
dictatorship, to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, 
to national elections. At the same time, our coalition has been 
relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out 
insurgent strongholds, and turning over territory to Iraqi 
security forces. I am confident in our plan for victory . . . I 
am confident in the will of the Iraqi people . . . I am 
confident in the skill and spirit of our military. Fellow 
citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.
    The road of victory is the road that will take our troops 
home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces 
increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further 
decrease our troop levels--but those decisions will be made by 
our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, DC.
    Our coalition has learned from experience in Iraq. We have 
adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to 
reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefited 
fromresponsible criticism and counsel offered by Members of Congress of 
both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach. out and 
seek your good advice.
    Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism 
that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to 
acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not 
wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.
    With so much in the balance, those of us in public office 
have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our 
forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and 
prison . . . put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a 
strategic country . . . and show that a pledge from America 
means little. Members of Congress: however we feel about the 
decisions and debates of the past, our Nation has only one 
option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand 
behind the American military in its vital mission.
    Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices--and 
showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear. They know what 
it is like to fight house to house in a maze of streets . . . 
to wear heavy gear in the desert heat . . . to see a comrade 
killed by a roadside bomb. And those who know the costs also 
know the stakes. Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last 
month fighting the enemy in Fallujah. He left behind a letter 
to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to 
every American. Here is what Dan wrote: ``I know what honor is. 
It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced 
death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to . . 
. Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us 
who have the honor of protecting that which is worth 
    Staff Sergeant Dan Clay's wife, Lisa, and his mom and dad, 
Sara Jo and Bud, are with us this evening. Our Nation is 
grateful to the fallen, who live in the memory of our country. 
We are grateful to all who volunteer to wear our Nation's 
uniform--and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget 
the sacrifices of America's military families.
    Our offensive against terror involves more than military 
action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to 
defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the 
hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. 
So the United States of America supports democratic reform 
across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital--but they 
are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the 
rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable 
institutions that last longer than a single vote. The great 
people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential 
election--and now their government should open paths of 
peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. 
The palestinian people have voted in elections--now the leaders 
of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and 
work for lasting peace. Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps 
of reform--now it can offer its people a better future by 
pressing forward with those efforts. Democracies in the Middle 
East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the 
traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of 
every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right 
and hope of all humanity.
    The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a 
small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its 
people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the 
Palestinian territories and in Lebanon--and that must come to 
an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its 
nuclear ambitions--and the nations of the world must not permit 
the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will 
continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And 
tonight, letme speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America 
respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to 
choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our Nation hopes 
one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
    To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the 
offensive by encouraging economic progress, fighting disease, 
and spreading hope in hopeless lands. Isolationism would not 
only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from 
helping our friends in desperate need. We show compassion 
abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and 
worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, 
or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into 
slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions 
overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of 
terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, and the drug 
    In recent years, you and I have taken unprecedented action 
to fight AIDS and malaria, expand the education of girls, and 
reward developing nations that are moving forward with economic 
and political reform. For people everywhere, the United States 
is a partner for a better life. Short-changing these efforts 
would increase the suffering and chaos of our world, undercut 
our long-term security, and dull the conscience of our country. 
I urge Members of Congress to serve the interests of America by 
showing the compassion of America.
    Our country must also remain on the offensive against 
terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or 
capability to attack us. Fortunately, this Nation has superb 
professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, 
and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their 
lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and 
our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use 
to fight drug trafficking and organized crime--so I ask you to 
reauthorize the Patriot Act.
    It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our 
Government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now 
know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed 
telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not 
know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent 
another attack--based on authority given to me by the 
Constitution and by statute--I have authorized a terrorist 
surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international 
communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates 
to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same 
constitutional authority I have--and Federal courts have 
approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of 
Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance 
program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains 
essential to the security of America. If there are people 
inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to 
know about it--because we will not sit back and wait to be hit 
    In all these areas--from the disruption of terror networks, 
to victory in Iraq, to the spread of freedom and hope in 
troubled regions--we need the support of friends and allies. To 
draw that support, we must always be clear in our principles 
and willing to act. The only alternative to American leadership 
is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world. Yet we also 
choose to lead because it is a privilege to serve the values 
that gave us birth. American leaders--from Roosevelt to Truman 
to Kennedy to Reagan--rejected isolation and retreat, because 
they knew that America is always more secure when freedom is on 
the march. Our own generation is in a long war against a 
determined enemy--a war that will be fought by Presidents of 
both parties,who will need steady bipartisan support from the 
Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. Together, let us protect our 
country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world 
toward freedom.
    Here at home, America also has a great opportunity: We will 
build the prosperity of our country by strengthening our 
economic leadership in the world.
    Our economy is healthy, and vigorous, and growing faster 
than other major industrialized nations. In the last two-and-a-
half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs--more than 
Japan and the European Union combined. Even in the face of 
higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people 
have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the 
    The American economy is pre-eminent--but we cannot afford 
to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new 
competitors like China and India. This creates uncertainty, 
which makes it easier to feed people's fears. And so we are 
seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to 
escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high 
standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say 
that the Government needs to take a larger role in directing 
the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and 
increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow 
bad for the economy--even though this economy could not 
function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, 
and they lead in the same direction--toward a stagnant and 
second-rate economy.
    Tonight I will set out a better path--an agenda for a 
Nation that competes with confidence--an agenda that will raise 
standards of living and generate new jobs. Americans should not 
fear our economic future, because we intend to shape it.
    Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy 
growing. And our economy grows when Americans have more of 
their own money to spend, save, and invest. In the last 5 
years, the tax relief you passed has left $880 billion in the 
hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and 
families--and they have used it to help produce more than 4 
years of uninterrupted economic growth. Yet the tax relief is 
set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American 
families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect 
and will not welcome.
    Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we 
need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act 
responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.
    Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards 
of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we have reduced 
the growth of non-security discretionary spending--and last 
year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my 
budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 
programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential 
priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American 
taxpayer another $14 billion next year--and stay on track to 
cut the deficit in half by 2009. I am pleased that Members of 
Congress are working on earmark reform--because the Federal 
budget has too many special interest projects. And we can 
tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.
    We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory 
spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 
million Baby Boomers turn 60, including two of my Dad's 
favorite people--me, and President Bill Clinton. This milestone 
is more than a personal crisis--it is a national challenge. The 
retirement of the Baby Boom generation will put unprecedented 
strains on the Federal Government. By 2030,spending for Social 
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the 
entire Federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with 
impossible choices--staggering tax increases, immense deficits, or deep 
cuts in every category of spending.
    Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save 
Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a 
problem that is not going away--and with every year we fail to 
act, the situation gets worse. So tonight, I ask you to join me 
in creating a commission to examine the full impact of Baby 
Boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 
This commission should include Members of Congress of both 
parties, and offer bipartisan answers. We need to put aside 
partisan politics, work together, and get this problem solved.
    Keeping America competitive requires us to open more 
markets for all that Americans make and grow. One out of every 
five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we 
want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a 
level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the 
American worker.
    Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system 
that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the 
interests of our economy. Our Nation needs orderly and secure 
borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration 
enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, 
humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty . . . allows 
temporary jobs for people who seek them legally . . . and 
reduces smuggling and crime at the border.
    Keeping America competitive requires affordable health 
care. Our Government has a responsibility to help provide 
health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting 
that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the 
rising cost of care . . . strengthen the doctor-patient 
relationship . . . and help people afford the insurance 
coverage they need. We will make wider use of electronic 
records and other health information technology to help control 
costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen 
Health Savings Accounts--by making sure individuals and small 
business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages 
that people working for big businesses now get. We will do more 
to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs 
without having to worry about losing their health insurance. 
And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of 
practice--leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties 
without a single OB-GYN--I ask the Congress to pass medical 
liability reform this year.
    Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. 
Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, 
which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
    The best way to break this addiction is through technology. 
Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop 
cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources--and 
we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I 
announce the Advanced Energy Initiative--a 22-percent increase 
in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push 
for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power 
our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission 
coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; 
and clean, safe nuclear energy.
    We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will 
increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and 
electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. 
We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods 
of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, 
stalks, or even leaves. Our goal is to make this new kindof 
ethanol practical and competitive within 6 years. Breakthroughs on this 
and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to 
replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 
2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country 
can dramatically improve our environment . . . move beyond a petroleum-
based economy . . . and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a 
thing of the past.
    And to keep America competitive, one commitment is 
necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in 
human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the 
world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious 
people--and we are going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce 
the American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage 
innovation throughout our economy, and to give our Nation's 
children a firm grounding in math and science.
    First: I propose to double the Federal commitment to the 
most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences 
over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of 
America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas 
such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy 
    Second: I propose to make permanent the research and 
development tax credit, to encourage bolder private-sector 
investment in technology. With more research in both the public 
and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life--and 
ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and 
innovation for decades to come.
    Third: We need to encourage children to take more math and 
science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to 
compete with other nations. We have made a good start in the 
early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is 
raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. 
Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers, to lead 
advanced-placement courses in math and science . . . bring 
30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms . 
. . and give early help to students who struggle with math, so 
they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure 
that America's children succeed in life, they will ensure that 
America succeeds in the world.
    Preparing our Nation to compete in the world is a goal that 
all of us can share. I urge you to support the American 
Competitiveness Initiative . . . and together we will show the 
world what the American people can achieve.
    America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet 
our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who 
we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a 
compassionate, decent, hopeful society.
    In recent years, America has become a more hopeful Nation. 
Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since 
the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over 
the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 
2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in 
the last three decades, and the number of children born to 
teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.
    These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation--a 
revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is 
finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of 
fulfillment. Government has played a role. Wise policies such 
as welfare reform, drug education, and support for abstinence 
and adoption have made a difference in the character of our 
country. And everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican, 
has a right to be proud of this record.
    Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep 
concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of 
our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical 
conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts 
that try to redefine marriage. And they worry about children in 
our society who need direction and love . . . and about fellow 
citizens still displaced by natural disaster . . . and about 
suffering caused by treatable disease.
    As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to 
the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is 
doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. 
We have proven the pessimists wrong before--and we will do it 
    A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal 
justice under law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new 
members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I 
thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will 
continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges 
must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench. 
Today marks the official retirement of a very special American. 
For 24 years of faithful service to our Nation, the United 
States honors Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
    A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine 
that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the 
matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass 
legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical 
research--human cloning in all its forms . . . creating or 
implanting embryos for experiments . . . creating human-animal 
hybrids . . . and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. 
Human life is a gift from our Creator--and that gift should 
never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.
    A hopeful society expects elected officials to uphold the 
public trust. Honorable people in both parties are working on 
reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington--and 
I support your efforts. Each of us has made a pledge to be 
worthy of public responsibility--and that is a pledge we must 
never forget, never dismiss, and never betray.
    As we renew the promise of our institutions, let us also 
show the character of America in our compassion and care for 
one another.
    A hopeful society gives special attention to children who 
lack direction and love. Through the Helping America's Youth 
Initiative, we are encouraging caring adults to get involved in 
the life of a child--and this good work is led by our First 
Lady, Laura Bush. This year we will add resources to encourage 
young people to stay in school--so more of America's youth can 
raise their sights and achieve their dreams.
    A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in 
times of suffering and emergency--and stays at it until they 
are back on their feet. So far the Federal Government has 
committed $85 billion to the people of the Gulf Coast and New 
Orleans. We are removing debris, repairing highways, and 
building stronger levees. We are providing business loans and 
housing assistance. Yet as we meet these immediate needs, we 
must also address deeper challenges that existed before the 
storm arrived. In New Orleans and in other places, many of our 
fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our 
country. The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools 
that teach every child . . . and job skills that bring upward 
mobility . . . and more opportunities to own a home and start a 
business. As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for 
the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in 
hope, and rich in opportunity.
    A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/
AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More 
than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all 
AIDScases occur among African-Americans. I ask Congress to reform and 
reauthorize the Ryan White Act . . . and provide new funding to States, 
so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicine in America. We will also 
lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African-American 
churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to 
millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come closer to the day when there 
are no new infections in America.
    Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a 
period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological 
conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in 
science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And 
sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, 
toward an unknown shore.
    Yet the destination of history is determined by human 
action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of 
choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of 
disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have 
stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a 
victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted 
the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the 
oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own 
historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or 
finish well?
    Before history is written down in books, it is written in 
courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage 
and we will finish well. We will lead freedom's advance. We 
will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the 
defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move 
forward--optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, 
and confident of victories to come.
    Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

                                                    George W. Bush.
    The White House, January 31, 2006.