Cedar Rapids, Iowa Friday, June 13, 2003
In the summer of 1942, the scars of Pearl Harbor were still fresh. The day of infamy was a recent memory and Americans stood ready to win the war. Planes and tanks had to be built at a record pace, strategies conceived, battles planned, and young Americans dispatched to frontlines across the Earth. And Franklin Roosevelt knew that to meet the threat we faced from fascism, we had to do something else as well: marshal America's most brilliant minds and innovative technology. The initiative he created was called the Manhattan Project because its first offices were at 90 Church Street in New York City.
On September 11th, 2001 - one block away from that site - the World Trade Center was brought down in another sudden, sneak attack, the most brutal and deadly attack America has ever known. The federal office building at 90 Church Street was damaged but still stands.
To this generation, September 11th was our December, 7th - and it calls for a response equally profound - not just in armed force, although that is essential - but in the imagination, the daring and the sense of exploration that define America at its best.
Terrorism is the new Fascism, the new Communism, the new totalitarianism - a grave and global threat to our values and our way of life. We can defeat it; we must defeat it; and we will defeat it; but we need more than hard words and powerful weaponry. In a different direction, in a different way, we need to reach as high as Roosevelt reached - with a new national initiative on the scale of the Manhattan Project to harness our thinking and our technology - this time, not to create a new kind of bomb, but to develop new forms of energy that will at long last make America more energy independent.
So I have come here today to set out a strategy for greater energy independence - so that within a decade, this nation will no longer have to rely on Mideast oil. And in achieving that new form of freedom for America, we can at the same time clean the environment and create new jobs for half a million Americans.
With sixty-five percent of the world's oil reserves in Middle East, our over-reliance on oil presents a real threat to national security. We can unleash the spirit of American ingenuity to meet this challenge. My strategy calls for new investments in research, new incentives for companies and consumers, new partnership across the old dividing lines, and higher standards of energy efficiency for both business and government to meet. We can create Americans jobs and confront the dangers to our environment at the same time as we make this nation safer, stronger, and more secure.
The challenge will not be easy but neither was the Manhattan Project. It will require real resources and strong leadership and an unwavering will to make tough choices and take on entrenched interests. But America has shown again and again that when we come together to address the challenges of the day, we will succeed. The message that I bring with me is one that I will carry to every part of our country in this campaign - and it will be central to my Presidency: If we care about the national security of America, we can settle for nothing less than energy security for America. The cause is urgent, and the time is now.
We need boldness to match the challenges before us. Toughness to meet the threats we face. But with George Bush in the White House, all we've had is politics as usual. And after September 11th, that is just not acceptable.
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