Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 9 News List

Bush's freedom speech declares war on tyranny

The US president emphatically stated that liberty takes priority over peace, no matter where in the world the enemy lies

By William Safire  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , WASHINGTON

That was also a reference to Iraq, where the greatest danger to post-election democracy is less from Zarqawi's terrorist murderers than from the legion of Baathists who want to reimpose Saddam's brand of tyranny.

A metaphorical nitpick: He said our liberation of millions lit "a fire in the minds of men and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world." I would have replaced "this untamed fire," which could be dangerous, with "the light from this fire," which would have illuminated the "darkest corner." (Once a speechwriter.)

Evidence that Bush's "freedom speech" was tightly edited for time was in his concluding evocation of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell.

Cut out of a near-final draft was the line on the side of the bell from Leviticus that rings out Bush's theme: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof."

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