In the last 2 years, we have seen the desire for liberty in the broader Middle East — and we have been sobered by the enemy's fierce reaction. In 2005, the world watched as the citizens of Lebanon raised the banner of the Cedar Revolution ... drove out the Syrian occupiers ... and chose new leaders in free elections. In 2005, the people of Afghanistan defied the terrorists and elected a democratic legislature. And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections — choosing a transitional government ... adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world ... and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity we should never forget.In other words, these are not just random events that just happen by chance. There are forces that actively promote the possibility of American failure behind each of these setbacks in the Middle East. The reason these specific countries were targeted was because they were inches from freedom. Freedom and totalitarianism are natural enemies. So naturally, anyone in favor of a theocracy would stop at nothing to destroy freedom in its infancy.
A thinking enemy watched all of these scenes, adjusted their tactics, and in 2006 they struck back. In Lebanon, assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. And Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government. In Afghanistan, Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters tried to regain power by regrouping and engaging Afghan and NATO forces. In Iraq, Al Qaeda and other Sunni extremists blew up one of the most sacred places in Shia Islam — the Golden Mosque of Samarra. This atrocity, directed at a Muslim house of prayer, was designed to provoke retaliation from Iraqi Shia — and it succeeded. Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day.