American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Air Force One" (1998)

 

President Marshall Delivers Surprise Anti-Terrorism Speech

 

  President Petrov of Russia [translated from Russian]: (Ladies and gentlemen: Three weeks ago, Russian and American special forces apprehended the self-proclaimed leader of Kazakhstan, General Alexander Radek.) The forces of Radek were directed at the suppression of democracy. His nuclear arsenal could have brought the world into a new Cold War. But thanks to the support of one of the world's greatest leaders, Radek is now in prison. Today we are honoring this brave man. Ladies and gentlemen, my friend, the President of the United States of America.

[President James Marshall takes his place at the podium.]

President Marshall [translated from Russian]: "The dead remember our indifference. The dead remember our silence." [in English] I came here tonight to be congratulated. But today when I visited the Red Cross camps, overwhelmed by the flood of refugees fleeing from the horror of Kazakhstan, I realized I don't deserve to be congratulated. None of us do. Let's speak the truth. And the truth is, we acted too late. Only when our own national security was threatened did we act.

Radek's regime murdered over 200,000 men, women and children and we watched it on TV. We let it happen. People were being slaughtered for over a year and we issued economical sanctions and hid behind a rhetoric of diplomacy. How dare we? The dead remember. Real peace is not just the absence of conflict, it's the presence of justice.

And tonight, I come to you with a pledge to change America's policy. Never again will I allow our political self-interests to deter us from doing what we know to be morally right. Atrocity and terror are not political weapons and to those who would use them: Your day is over.

We will never negotiate.

We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid.

It's your turn to be afraid.

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.