Bush: Democracy making headway in Middle East
US President Bush said Tuesday that democracy is beginning to spread across the Middle East and that authoritarian rule is "the last gasp of a discredited past." Bush reiterated his demand that that Syria pull its troops out of Lebanon and allow free elections in May. "All Syrian military forces and intelligence personnel must withdraw before the Lebanese elections for these elections to be free and fair."
"Freedom will prevail in Lebanon," Bush declared in a speech at the National Defense University, a center for professional military education. "The American people are on your side."
"The advance of hope in the Middle East requires new thinking in the region," the president said. "By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future. It is the last gasp of a discredited past."
Bush said the entire world has "an urgent interest in the progress and hope and freedom in the broader Middle East."
"Our duty is now clear," he said. "For the sake of our long-term security, all free nations must stand with the forces of democracy and justice that have begun to transform the Middle East."