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Public Papers - 1990 - August

Radio Address to United States Armed Forces Stationed in the Persian Gulf Region

1990-08-29

Of the many duties and responsibilities I've worked to fulfill as President, there can be no greater honor than to offer a few words to the brave men and women serving in our Armed Forces -- especially now, to those who stand ready to repel aggression in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region, because you represent America's best, and the world's best hope for peace.

Last week I reminded the American people that this nation stands where she has always stood: against aggression. And today, with a tradition of two centuries behind you, you stand on the front line against aggression and international lawlessness. We've never sought conflict, nor do we hope to chart a course for other nations. But at the hands of injustice, in the face of aggression, ours is a once-reluctant fist now clenched resolutely.

To preserve the peace, America will always stand for what's right. To preserve her commitments, America will always stand by her friends. Together with allies, old and new, we've seen a nearly unanimous condemnation of Iraq's injustices in the Persian Gulf region, and we've been a part of a remarkable international commitment to peace and the rule of law.

And from the beginning we've been guided by four straightforward principles. One, we seek the unconditional and complete withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Two, that nation's legitimate government must be restored. Three, we are committed to the security and stability of the Persian Gulf. And four, we are determined to protect the lives of American citizens abroad. Those are the principles that drive us. But it's your presence, your skills, your talents, your judgment that bring America's principles to life and give them strength and meaning.

You're now in the middle of one of the toughest military missions in modern memory, enduring the long, hot days of the Gulf region's cruelest month. As one young soldier in the 82d Airborne Division put it: ``You never get climatized; you just learn to tolerate it.'' Well, as tough as it is, know this: Thanks to you, nobody's feeling the heat more than the government in Baghdad.

And while all of you should know that what you're doing is just, a few of you have already gotten a glimpse of the gratitude of the Kuwaiti people. Like one lieutenant colonel in the AWACS control center in Saudi Arabia who was approached by a Kuwaiti refugee in the lobby. The man spoke almost no English, but he handed the colonel a note for their commanding officer, a note that included the letter ``I'' and a heart and ``U.S.A.''

So, to the sailors who have kissed their wives or husbands goodbye for now, to the soldiers and marines protecting peace in the desert heat, to the flyers in the air, to the reservists committed and ready, to the men behind the guns: Stand strong. Our troops around the world are providing the kind of strength and security that makes this mission possible. And with the support of friends and family and the admiration of this great nation, you're proving you'll do what it takes at any hour, anywhere, to contain aggression and keep freedom's light alive.

We have an important advantage in the Persian Gulf, because in the air, at sea, and on land, soldiers of peace will always be more than a match for a tyrant bent on aggression. With your strength, we have the will; together with our allies, we will find the way to peace.

May God bless you and bring you home safely and soon.

Note: The President spoke at 8:47 a.m. from the Oval Office at the White House.

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