Still Prevailing After All These Years

When our handsomely paid, and ruggedly handsome, White House resident-in-chief interrupted his vacation at the ranch in Crawford the other day to announce that the United States would be generous as heck in responding to the tsunami’s aftermath, he ended by saying, “We will prevail over this destruction.” More than just another run-of-the-mill knot-headed Bushism, the president has used one of his trademark phrases to signal that he’s identified the tsunamis and the plate tectonics that spawned them as evildoers. Now that he’s busted Saddam Hussein and built a model democracy in Iraq and shown Osama bin Laden who’s boss — well, one out of three ain’t bad — he’s gonna treat nature like the terrorist it truly is.

Just for old time’s sake, here’s a small sampling of the president’s earlier “we will prevail” declarations:

“Great tragedy has come to us, and we are meeting it with the best that is in our country, with courage and concern for others. Because this is America. This is who we are. This is what our enemies hate and have attacked. And this is why we will prevail.” — Weekly radio address, September 15, 2001. (Checking the White House site, this looks like the first time Bush uttered the phrase. Ari Fleischer, Bush’s press secretary, had used it the day after the September 11 attacks in a briefing: “As the President also said in his remarks, this battle will take time and resolve; and, make no mistake, we will prevail.”

“If war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military — and we will prevail.” — State of the Union, January 28, 2003

“Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory. My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.” — Announcing Iraq war had begun, March 19, 2003

From the beginning, we have known the effort would be long and difficult, and that our resolve would be tested. We know that sacrifice is unavoidable. We have seen victories in the decisive defeat of two terror regimes, and in the relentless pursuit of a global terror network. Yet the war on terror goes on. We will not be distracted, and we will prevail.” — Discussing progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, July 1, 2003.

“All nations of the world face a challenge and a choice. In continued acts of murder and destruction, terrorists are testing our will, hoping we will weaken and withdraw. Yet across the world, they are finding that our will cannot be shaken. Whatever the hardships, we will persevere. We will continue this war on terror until all the killers are brought to justice.And we will prevail.” — Weekly radio address, Aug. 23, 2003

We’re going to prevailbecause, well, one we got a good strategy to deal with these killers. Two, I believe, by far the vast majority of Iraqis do understand the stakes, and do want their children to grow up in a peaceful environment, and do want their children going to a school, and do want to be able to live a free life that is prosperous. That’s what I believe. And I — recently, I was told by — for example, Bremer was telling me about a survey done by an American firm in Baghdad, for example; and it said that by far the vast majority of people understand that if America were to leave and the terrorists were to prevail in their desire to drive us out, the country would fall into chaos. And no one wants that.” — White House remarks, November 13, 2003.

“We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost in casualties, defeat a brutal dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins. (Applause.) We will prevail. We will win because our cause is just. We will win because we will stay on the offensive. And we will win because you’re part of the finest military ever assembled. (Applause.) And we will prevail because the Iraqis want their freedom. (Applause.)” — Thanksgiving speech to troops in Baghdad, November 27, 2003.

“And we are working to advance liberty in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring a future of hope, and the peace we all want. And we will prevail.Nomination acceptance speech, September 2, 2004

“I also want to say to the American people that we’re at war with these terrorists and I am confident that we will prevail.” Responding to bin Laden statement, October 29, 2004

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