The Honorable Joseph Biden's Speech Before the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, July 29, 2004

29 Jul, 2004, 01:00 ET from Democratic National Convention Committee

    BOSTON, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is the Honorable Joseph
 Biden's speech before the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, July 29,
 2004:
 
     Nearly 100 years ago, the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats told us
 the world has "changed utterly ...  A terrible beauty has been born." Tonight,
 our country stands at the hinge of history. America's destiny is at stake. But
 we can shape that destiny, if we seize the opportunities before us.
     The overwhelming obligation of our next President is clear. Make America
 stronger. Make America safer. And win the death-struggle between freedom and
 radical fundamentalism. That struggle breached our shores on September 11th,
 2001, and delivered this generation of Americans to this moment of awesome
 responsibility.
     After 9/11, I believed -- and still do -- that if we exercised the full
 measure of our power -- including our ideas and our ideals -- we could unite
 this nation and other nations in common cause. 9/11 was a moment of profound
 pain, but also enormous opportunity. Americans stood in blood lines for hours
 -- even though no more blood was needed. The French ran a headline that said:
 "We Are All Americans Now."
     Imagine how Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy would have seized that
 moment. Imagine if this president had spoken to the nation and the world and
 summoned that sense of solidarity. Imagine if he had said: "It's time for all
 who are able to do something for America.  I'm calling for a new program of
 national service and an energy policy that will liberate us from the
 suffocating grip of Middle East oil. And I call on our allies to join us in a
 compact for freedom, because we are always stronger -- safer -- better -- more
 secure together than we are alone."
     Just imagine.
     I do not question the motives of this administration. But I profoundly
 disagree with their judgments. History will judge them harshly not for the
 mistakes made -- we all make mistakes -- but for the opportunities squandered.
 Today, we are rightly confident in the example of our power. But we have
 forgotten the power of our example.
     And for all of America's great might, we are more alone in the world than
 ever before. As a result, we are less secure than we could or should be. Our
 allies and friends, the international organizations we have built over the
 past half-century do not hold America down. They help us share the burdens of
 leadership.
     We were told we would pay no price for going it alone. That was wrong.
 Because we waged the war in Iraq virtually alone, we are responsible for the
 aftermath virtually alone. The price is clear. Nearly 90 percent of the troops
 and the casualties are American. And because intelligence was hyped to justify
 going to war, America's credibility and security have suffered a terrible
 blow.
     Forty years ago, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent
 former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to seek support. Acheson
 explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then, he offered to
 show classified intelligence information as proof. De Gaulle said, "That's not
 necessary. I know President Kennedy. I know he would never mislead me on a
 question of war and peace." Would a single foreign leader react the same way
 today?
     My friends, it doesn't have to be this way. America and the world deserve
 a president whose judgment they can trust. Americans are bigger and better
 than the past four years have led the world to believe. Americans know our
 military is the strongest on earth, but we are not arrogant.
     Americans are proud, not petty. Instead of dividing the world, we must
 unite it. Instead of bullying, we must build. Instead of walking alone, we
 must lead. It's only leadership if others follow.
     But let no enemy mistake our basic decency for lack of resolve. Americans
 will fight with every fiber of our being to protect our country and our
 people. When John Kerry is commander-in-chief, he will not hesitate to unleash
 the unparalleled power of our military, on any nation or group that does us
 harm -- without asking anyone's permission.
     This is man tested in combat, who will never send our sons and daughters
 into harm's way before exhausting every other option -- and giving them every
 tool they need. When John Kerry is president, military preemption will remain
 -- as it has always been -- an option, when we face a genuine, imminent
 threat.
     But John Kerry will build a true prevention strategy -- to defuse dangers
 long before the only choice is war. When John Kerry is president, our friends
 and allies will have no excuse to sit on the sidelines. And above all, when
 John Kerry is president, he will level with the American people. For he will
 inherit a nation and a world that will require him to ask much of us and our
 allies.
     I have no doubt this generation of Americans -- like every generation that
 has come before it -- will rise to the moment, for it longs to do great
 things. John Kerry is a student of history. He understands why we prevailed
 when our nation faced grave peril in the past. He understands that the
 terrorists may be beyond the reach of reason. We must defeat them. But
 hundreds of millions of hearts and minds are open to our ideas and our ideals.
 We must reach them.
     Just as Joshua's trumpets brought down the walls of Jericho -- just as
 American values brought down the Berlin Wall -- so will radical fundamentalism
 fall to the terrible, swift power of our ideas as well as our swords.
     It is time to recapture the totality of America's strength. It is time to
 restore our nation to the respect it once had. It is time to reclaim America's
 soul. It is time to elect John Kerry the next president of the United States.
 
 

SOURCE Democratic National Convention Committee
    BOSTON, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is the Honorable Joseph
 Biden's speech before the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, July 29,
 2004:
 
     Nearly 100 years ago, the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats told us
 the world has "changed utterly ...  A terrible beauty has been born." Tonight,
 our country stands at the hinge of history. America's destiny is at stake. But
 we can shape that destiny, if we seize the opportunities before us.
     The overwhelming obligation of our next President is clear. Make America
 stronger. Make America safer. And win the death-struggle between freedom and
 radical fundamentalism. That struggle breached our shores on September 11th,
 2001, and delivered this generation of Americans to this moment of awesome
 responsibility.
     After 9/11, I believed -- and still do -- that if we exercised the full
 measure of our power -- including our ideas and our ideals -- we could unite
 this nation and other nations in common cause. 9/11 was a moment of profound
 pain, but also enormous opportunity. Americans stood in blood lines for hours
 -- even though no more blood was needed. The French ran a headline that said:
 "We Are All Americans Now."
     Imagine how Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy would have seized that
 moment. Imagine if this president had spoken to the nation and the world and
 summoned that sense of solidarity. Imagine if he had said: "It's time for all
 who are able to do something for America.  I'm calling for a new program of
 national service and an energy policy that will liberate us from the
 suffocating grip of Middle East oil. And I call on our allies to join us in a
 compact for freedom, because we are always stronger -- safer -- better -- more
 secure together than we are alone."
     Just imagine.
     I do not question the motives of this administration. But I profoundly
 disagree with their judgments. History will judge them harshly not for the
 mistakes made -- we all make mistakes -- but for the opportunities squandered.
 Today, we are rightly confident in the example of our power. But we have
 forgotten the power of our example.
     And for all of America's great might, we are more alone in the world than
 ever before. As a result, we are less secure than we could or should be. Our
 allies and friends, the international organizations we have built over the
 past half-century do not hold America down. They help us share the burdens of
 leadership.
     We were told we would pay no price for going it alone. That was wrong.
 Because we waged the war in Iraq virtually alone, we are responsible for the
 aftermath virtually alone. The price is clear. Nearly 90 percent of the troops
 and the casualties are American. And because intelligence was hyped to justify
 going to war, America's credibility and security have suffered a terrible
 blow.
     Forty years ago, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy sent
 former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to seek support. Acheson
 explained the situation to French President de Gaulle. Then, he offered to
 show classified intelligence information as proof. De Gaulle said, "That's not
 necessary. I know President Kennedy. I know he would never mislead me on a
 question of war and peace." Would a single foreign leader react the same way
 today?
     My friends, it doesn't have to be this way. America and the world deserve
 a president whose judgment they can trust. Americans are bigger and better
 than the past four years have led the world to believe. Americans know our
 military is the strongest on earth, but we are not arrogant.
     Americans are proud, not petty. Instead of dividing the world, we must
 unite it. Instead of bullying, we must build. Instead of walking alone, we
 must lead. It's only leadership if others follow.
     But let no enemy mistake our basic decency for lack of resolve. Americans
 will fight with every fiber of our being to protect our country and our
 people. When John Kerry is commander-in-chief, he will not hesitate to unleash
 the unparalleled power of our military, on any nation or group that does us
 harm -- without asking anyone's permission.
     This is man tested in combat, who will never send our sons and daughters
 into harm's way before exhausting every other option -- and giving them every
 tool they need. When John Kerry is president, military preemption will remain
 -- as it has always been -- an option, when we face a genuine, imminent
 threat.
     But John Kerry will build a true prevention strategy -- to defuse dangers
 long before the only choice is war. When John Kerry is president, our friends
 and allies will have no excuse to sit on the sidelines. And above all, when
 John Kerry is president, he will level with the American people. For he will
 inherit a nation and a world that will require him to ask much of us and our
 allies.
     I have no doubt this generation of Americans -- like every generation that
 has come before it -- will rise to the moment, for it longs to do great
 things. John Kerry is a student of history. He understands why we prevailed
 when our nation faced grave peril in the past. He understands that the
 terrorists may be beyond the reach of reason. We must defeat them. But
 hundreds of millions of hearts and minds are open to our ideas and our ideals.
 We must reach them.
     Just as Joshua's trumpets brought down the walls of Jericho -- just as
 American values brought down the Berlin Wall -- so will radical fundamentalism
 fall to the terrible, swift power of our ideas as well as our swords.
     It is time to recapture the totality of America's strength. It is time to
 restore our nation to the respect it once had. It is time to reclaim America's
 soul. It is time to elect John Kerry the next president of the United States.
 
 SOURCE  Democratic National Convention Committee