November 17, 1990
THE PRESIDENT: Indeed, it is an honor for me to be here on the first anniversary of your Velvet Revolution. And I'm doubly honored to be the first American President ever to visit Czechoslovakia. And President Havel, I thank you for inviting me to visit your country. Barbara and I are delighted to be here, and I'm flattered that you invited me to join you in this weekly radio talk. I spent a marvelous and moving day here in Prague. I met the new leaders of Czechoslovakia, both Federal and Republic. And I spoke before your Federal Assembly, that hall that has now sprung to life in building your new democracy. And on Wenceslas Square, I joined you in celebrating the first anniversary of your Velvet Revolution. And it's really been among the most thrilling days of my life. The ties between our two countries are unique, going way back to the creation of the Czechoslovak state. And Americans feel a special attachment to your Czech and Slovak federation. Our peoples were cut off from each other for most of the Communist period, and we've now begun making up for what we missed through those two generations. And I regret that I was unable to visit Slovakia during this brief visit, so let me extend a special word or greeting to the people of Slovakia and say how delighted I am that the United States will soon reopen its consulate there in Bratislava. And let me say to all the citizens of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic: We rejoice with you in your liberty, and we pledge that we will not fail you in this decisive moment of your history. President Havel, once again, sir, my thanks to you for allowing me to join you on the airwaves of free Czechoslovakia. God bless you all. Note: The address was recorded at 6:40 p.m. on November 17 at Hradcany Castle in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and was broadcast as a part of President Havel's weekly radio program at 2 p.m. on November 18. Following the recording session, President Bush attended a reception at the castle hosted by President Havel. Later, President Bush went to the U.S. Ambassador's residence, where he stayed overnight.
January 5, 1991.
Presidential Radio Address George Herbert Walker Bush
THE PRESIDENT: As the new year begins, new challenges unfold -- challenges to America and the future of our world. Simply put: 1990 saw Iraq invade and occupy Kuwait. Nineteen ninety-one will see Iraq withdraw, preferably by choice; by force, if need be. It is my most sincere hope 1991 is a year of peace. I've seen the hideous face of war and counted the costs of conflict in friends lost. I remember this all too well, and have no greater concern than the well-being of our men and women stationed in the Persian Gulf. True, their morale is sky-high. True, if they are called upon to fight the aggressors, they will do their job courageously, professionally and, in the end, decisively. There will be no more Vietnams. But we should go the extra mile before asking our service men and women to stand in harm's way. We should, and we have. The United Nations, with the full support of the United States, has already tried to peacefully pressure Iraq out of Kuwait, implementing economic sanctions and securing the condemnation of the world in the form of no less than 12 resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. This week, we've taken one more step. I have offered to have Secretary of State James Baker meet with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq `Aziz in Switzerland. Yesterday, we received word that Iraq has accepted our offer to meet in Geneva. This will not be secret diplomacy at work. Secretary Baker will restate, in person, a message for Saddam Hussein: Withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally and immediately, or face the terrible consequences. Eleven days from today, Saddam Hussein will either have met the United Nations deadline for a full and unconditional withdrawal, or he will have once again defied the civilized world. This is a deadline for Saddam Hussein to comply with the United Nations resolution, not a deadline for our own Armed Forces. Still, time is running out. It's running out because each day that passes brings real costs. Saddam already poses a strategic threat to the capital cities of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, and Syria, as well as our own men and women in the Gulf region. In fact, Saddam has used chemical weapons of mass destruction against innocent villagers, his own people. Each day that passes brings Saddam Hussein further on the path to developing biological and nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. If Saddam corners the world energy market, he can then finance further aggression, terror, and blackmail. Each day that passes increases Saddam's worldwide threat to democracy. The struggling newborn democracies of Eastern Europe and Latin America already face a staggering challenge in making the transition to a free market. But the added weight of higher oil prices is a crushing burden they cannot afford. And our own economy is suffering, suffering the effects of higher oil prices and lower growth stemming from Saddam's aggression. Each day that passes, Saddam's forces also fortify and dig in deeper into Kuwait. We risk paying a higher price in the most precious currency of all, human life, if we give Saddam more time to prepare for war. And each day that passes is another day of fear, suffering, and terror for the people of Kuwait, many who risked their lives to shelter and hide Americans from Iraqi soldiers. As the Amir of Kuwait said to our Vice President just last week, those who advocate waiting longer for sanctions to work do not have to live under such brutal occupation. As I have discussed with Members of Congress just 2 days ago and in our many other consultations, economic sanctions are taking a toll, but they are still not forcing Saddam out of Kuwait. Nor do we know when or even if they will be successful. As a result, America and her partners in this unprecedented coalition are sharing the burden of this important mission, and we are ready to use force to defend a new order emerging among the nations of the world -- a world of sovereign nations living in peace.
February 2, 1991.
Presidential Radio Address George Herbert Walker Bush
THE PRESIDENT: At this moment, America, the finest, most loving nation on Earth, is at war, at war against the oldest enemy of the human spirit: evil that threatens world peace. At this moment, men and women of courage and endurance stand on the harsh desert and sail the seas of the Gulf. By their presence they're bearing witness to the fact that the triumph of the moral order is the vision that compels us. At this moment, those of us here at home are thinking of them and of the future of our world. I recall Abraham Lincoln and his anguish during the Civil War. He turned to prayer, saying: ``I've been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go. So many of us, compelled by a deep need for God's wisdom in all we do, turn to prayer. We pray for God's protection in all we undertake, for God's love to fill all hearts, and for God's peace to be the moral North Star that guides us. So, I have proclaimed Sunday, February 3d, National Day of Prayer. In this moment of crisis, may Americans of every creed turn to our greatest power and unite together in prayer. Let us pray for the safety of the troops, these men and women who have put their lives and dreams on hold because they understand the threat our world faces. Let us pray for those who make the supreme sacrifice. In our terrible grief, we pray that they leave the fields of battle for finer fields where there is no danger, only tranquillity; where there is no fear, only peace; and where there is no evil, only the love of the greatest Father of all. Let us pray for those who are held prisoner, that God will protect these, his special children, and will enlighten the minds and soften the hearts of their captors. Let us pray for the families of those who serve. Let us reach out to them with caring, to make them part of a greater family filled with love and support. Let us pray for the innocents caught up in this war, all of them, wherever they may be. And let us remember deep in our hearts the value of all human life, everywhere in the world. Let us pray for our nation. We ask God to bless us, to help us, and to guide us through whatever dark nights may still lay ahead. And above all, let us pray for peace, peace, which passeth all understanding.
On this National Day of Prayer and always, may God bless the United States of America.
March 2, 1991.
Presidential Radio Address George Herbert Walker Bush
THE PRESIDENT: Never have I been more proud of our troops, or more proud to be your Commander in Chief. For today, amid prayers of thanks and hope, the Kuwaiti flag once again flies high above Kuwait City. And it's there because you and your coalition allies put it there. Kuwait is liberated. And soon hometowns across America will be welcoming back home the finest combat force ever assembled, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force; the brave men and women of the United States of America. Saddam Hussein's dreams of dominating the Middle East by the terror of a nuclear arsenal and an army of a million men threatened the future of our children and the entire world. And the world was faced with a simple choice: If international law and sanctions could not remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, then we had to free Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. And that's exactly what you did. Throughout 7 long and arduous months, the troops of 28 nations stood with you, shoulder to shoulder in an unprecedented partnership for peace. Today we thank you, for the victory in Kuwait was born in your courage and resolve. The stunning success of our troops was the result of superb training, superb planning, superb execution, and incredible acts of bravery. The Iraqi Army was defeated. Forty-two divisions were put out of action. They lost 3,000 tanks, almost 2,000 armored vehicles, more than 2,000 artillery pieces. And over half a million Iraqi soldiers were captured, defeated, or disarmed. You were as good as advertised; you were, indeed, Good to go. This is a war we did not seek and did not want. But Saddam Hussein turned a deaf ear to the voices of peace and reason. And when he began burning Kuwait to the ground and intensifying the murder of its people, the coalition faced a moral imperative to put a stop to the atrocities in Kuwait once and for all. Boldly, bravely, you did just that. And when the rubber met the road, you did it in just 6 weeks and 100 decisive hours. The evil Saddam has done can never be forgotten. But his power to attack his neighbors and threaten the peace of the region is today grievously reduced. He has been stripped of his capacity to project offensive military power. His regime is totally discredited, and as a threat to peace, the day of this dictator is over. And the bottom line is this: Kuwait's night of terror has ended. Thomas Jefferson said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We must remain vigilant to make absolutely sure the Iraqi dictator is never, ever allowed to stoke the ashes of defeat into the burning embers of aggression. The sacrifice you've already made demands nothing less. The sacrifice of those who gave their lives will never be forgotten. Saddam made many mistakes. But one of the biggest was to underestimate the determination of the American people and the daring of our troops. We saw in the desert what Americans have learned through 215 years of history about the difference between democracy and dictatorship. Soldiers who fight for freedom are more committed than soldiers who fight because they are enslaved. Americans today are confident of our country, confident of our future, and most of all, confident about you. We promised you'd be given the means to fight. We promised not to look over your shoulder. We promised this would not be another Vietnam. And we kept that promise. The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula. Today, the promise of spring is almost upon us, the promise of regrowth and renewal: renewed life in Kuwait, renewed prospects for real peace throughout the Middle East, and a renewed sense of pride and confidence here at home. And we are committed to seeing every American soldier and every allied POW home soon, home to the thanks and the respect and the love of a grateful nation and a very grateful President. Yes, there remain vital and difficult tests ahead, both here and abroad, but nothing the American people can't handle. America has always accepted the challenge, paid the price, and passed the test. On this day, our spirits are high as our flag, and our future is as bright as Liberty's torch. Tomorrow we dedicate ourselves anew, as Americans always have and as Americans always will. The first test of the new world order has been passed. The hard work of freedom awaits. Thank you. Congratulations. And God bless the United States of America. Note: The President recorded this address at 9:15 a.m., March 1, in his private study at the White House. In his address, he referred to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. The address was broadcast at noon, March 2, over the Armed Forces Radio Network.
June 22, 1991.
Presidential Radio Address George Herbert Walker Bush
THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to talk with you about some things that are very important to me: families and homes, futures and hopes, the ways in which we Americans can tackle the domestic problems that confront us. In recent months, we've all felt a bracing surge of American optimism and determination. We look at our schools and say: Let's make them better. We look at our neighborhoods and say: Let's make them even safer. We see opportunities around us and say: Let's go for it. In many ways, we've regained a sense of ourselves and our values. For the past quarter-century, politicians in Washington have acted as if the Federal Government could solve every problem from chigger bites to earthquakes. No more. We all realize that government has real limits. You can't replace values with regulations. You can't replace parents with caseworkers. And you can't replace the dedication to service with mandates. Over the years, a number of well-meaning laws have thrown up barriers to individual action. Gradually, they have begun to transform government from the guardian of individual liberty into a weed that chokes off freedom and strangles initiative.
I'd like to ask your help in pruning this creeping weed so that we can take on problems that concern us all. Our administration's domestic agenda strives to build a more effective, compassionate government, to encourage service to others, and to give Americans the elbowroom that they need to do great deeds. Several months ago, I challenged the Congress to pass two bills in 100 days. One was a comprehensive crime package. It includes measures to help law enforcement officials defend the peace, to let citizens live without fear of neighborhood terror, to compensate victims, and to punish victimizers swiftly and firmly. The American people are tired of watching hoodlums walk, of seeing criminals mock our justice system with endless technicalities. They want to bring order to streets shaken by chaos and crime. Yet, for more than 2 years, Congress has failed to act on my proposals to fight crime and strengthen the rule of law. The second 100-days bill is a transportation package that would give States the freedom to build the highways and transit systems they want and not just those Washington dictates. It encourages innovation, such as private efforts, to improve our transportation system. It tries to put Federal dollars where they belong, on national needs, not pork-barrel projects. Some in Congress want to weaken the bill's focus, pretend that our transportation needs and challenges haven't changed. As a result, no bill has yet reached my desk. I chose the crime and transportation bills because of their obvious importance to the American public. But our administration's agenda includes much more. We have submitted a civil rights package aimed at attacking discrimination and building a new atmosphere of brotherhood and trust. We've proposed a revolution in education, a dramatic reform of public housing, and a banking package that would restore the health of our financial system. While there's been some movement, Congress still has not passed any of these bills. We have made progress, however. Our education strategy has caught fire in communities from coast to coast. And to help our families, we've just completed a major reorganization of the Department of Health and Human Services, giving unprecedented attention to children's needs. Think of this when someone claims that we don't spend enough money to have a vision. Dollars don't make visions; deeds do. When government spends your money, it shouldn't do so for appearances. It should spend your money on programs that work. This philosophy lies at the heart of our domestic agenda. We want to restore proportion to government by letting government do what it does best and freeing you to do what you do best. We want to restore faith in government by making real commitments, not impossible promises. But while we Americans demand more effective government, we also must demand more of ourselves. Entrepreneurs should be free to pursue their visions boldly, knowing that our future depends upon their success. Neighbors should seize the chance to help one another, to settle disputes over a cup of coffee rather than in a courtroom, to commit the little acts of kindness that turn rows of houses into neighborhoods. Let's stop seeking excuses and find opportunities to serve, to help one another, to become sources of wealth and Points of Light. John Kennedy was right when he said: ``Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. While government can't do everything, it ought to do its job. So today, I urge Congress to join us in doing the Nation's business. Unshackle our initiatives on crime, transportation, banking, economic growth, education, energy, housing, and civil rights. There is no shame in acting, and there's plenty of time between now and Congress' August recess to get the job done. We know we can do great things. Together, let's do them. Thank you, and may God bless you and our great nation. Note: The address was recorded at 12:03 p.m. on June 21 in the Cabinet Room at the White House. It was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 22.
September 28, 1991.
Presidential Radio Address George Herbert Walker Bush
THE PRESIDENT: Usually when I speak to the Nation, it's to announce a new program or discuss some pressing national policy. Well, today I won't be talking about programs or policy, but about a vision for a better future. Over the past 2 years, I've honored Americans who have shown the better angels of their nature by volunteering to help others. These individuals and groups realize that we build a better America not by protesting or demanding that others assume responsibility for our problems; we build better futures by taking on the problems we see in our own communities. These people answered their own inner call for action. They illustrate our land's genius and generosity, a land where ordinary people accomplish extraordinary things. I call them Points of Light because they shine through the dark times of want or despair. On Monday, the 575 daily Points of Light will come to Orlando, Florida. Barbara and I will take part in a national tribute in their honor. And when America looks at these heroes, it should see and cherish them first as individuals. They come from every State, range in age from 7 to 103, and cover the spectrum of faith, experience, and background. But we should also look upon them as a group that can shine the light toward a better future. The 575 Points of Light form an inspiring portrait of our Nation's potential. They address the problems our Nation fears most. And they do because they want to, or because they feel they must. Some offer friendship and advice to troubled teens, befriend the lonely, or simply hold drug-addicted babies. Others serve meals to AIDS patients, build housing for the homeless, reclaim crime-infested neighborhoods. Through the combined light generated by these acts of consequence we can dissolve the darkness, we can rekindle our own belief in ourselves. Imagine if all 575 Points of Light lived in one place. When you realize that people like these live in your neighborhood, some just waiting for a chance to serve others, then it's easy to picture such a place. If every community in this land committed itself to sacrifice and action in this work, then each could become a ``community of light. In a community of light, people would discover the fulfillment that comes with helping others. In a community of light, each school, business, place of worship, and group would lead its members toward the light of service as equal partners in solving social problems at their root. In a community of light, people would use their ingenuity, experience, and passion to find solutions that work for their neighborhoods, their communities. They would adapt other people's successful programs in efforts to meet their needs or, if necessary, they would craft their own. In a community of light, everyone will be sought after for their own gifts, for each person has something to share. Walt Whitman celebrated this when he wrote, ``I hear America singing; each singing what belongs to him or her and to no one else. It's odd, but in many communities around this country neighbors don't know one another. Huge apartment buildings teem with strangers. City blocks teem with strangers. Suburban neighborhoods lie silent because people won't come to a front door to say, ``Hi, welcome to the neighborhood. We start building communities of light by creating friendships and bonds where we live. When we treat neighbors as friends, listen to their problems and concerns, and talk about ways of making things better, then we establish the foundation for a community of light. No, voluntarism won't solve every problem. It won't fuel our economy. It won't establish and protect the rule of law. It won't supplant essential government services. But it will provide the equally essential heart and soul our communities deserve. So starting today, I call on every city, town, and neighborhood in our country to accept this great challenge to become a community of light. And then, together, we'll find a way to unite this country, not through our fears but through our good works. Note: The President recorded this address on September 27 at 3:45 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House for broadcast at 9 a.m. on September 28. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this address.