Pelosi Receives 2003 Alan Cranston Peace Award from Global Security Institute

April 12, 2003


San Francisco -- This evening, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi received the 2003 Alan Cranston Peace Award from the Global Security Institute. Below is a transcript of her remarks:

"I wish to express my appreciation to the Members of the Board, the supporters and friends of the Global Security Institute.

"The Institute is a tremendous resource for disarmament and peace throughout the world. Thank you for your leadership for global solutions to global problems.

"To Members of the Board of GSI, thank you for the honor you have bestowed upon me. As a personal friend of Alan Cranston, it is a personal and official privilege to receive the 2003 Alan Cranston Peace Award.

"It is an honor to receive this award named for a leader worthy of so many titles. Public servant. Senator. Statesman. Patriot.

"When Alan Cranston became Senator Cranston, Lyndon Johnson told him, 'There are two kinds of senators: show horses and workhorses. You are a workhorse.'

"I beg to differ – he was both.

"Alan Cranston never stopped working for a safer world. In the political arena, as in the athletic arena, he was focused, tenacious, quick, tireless, a champion.

"Alan Cranston’ work on human rights was second to none.

"It is appropriate to celebrate the life and legacy of Alan Cranston in this grand hotel in this great city. Fifty-eight years ago this month, the eyes of the world – a world weary of war, hoping for peace – were on this city and this grand hotel.

"The delegates who came here to draft the United Nations Charter, as President Truman said, were 'architects of a better world.' They had learned the hard lessons of experience. It is not enough to defeat one’s adversaries in war. The survival of all people in all nations demands that we live in genuine peace.

"That same year, a young Californian, fresh from the Army, wrote a book to convince the U.S. Senate to ratify the Charter and not to repeat the mistakes of the past when it rejected the League of Nations and turned away from the world.

"And to this day, Alan Cranston’s book, The Killing of the Peace, serves as a powerful reminder that America is strongest and safest when we stand with the world.

"Tonight, the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with our forces in Iraq and with the people of Iraq.

"Like many of my constituents, like many Americans, I did not believe that going to war at this time was the best way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. That is why I voted against the resolution that brought us into this war.

"But one of the enduring lessons of Alan Cranston’s life was one America must never forget – one can oppose a war and still support our men and women in uniform, veterans, and their families who bear the pain of war.

"We pray for the families – including those from the Bay Area – who have lost a loved one.

"We pray for the safe return of the missing, our prisoners of war, and all of our forces into the loving arms of their families.

"And we in Congress resolve to let their service renew our mission – to build a future, a world worthy of their sacrifice.

"That future – a world of freedom, human rights, and peace – rests on principles that must continue to guide our nation in its affairs with the world.

"One principle is that America is strongest when we work with allies and friends to confront common threats.

"There is no question about America’s strength. Our economy is the engine of the world. Our ideas and freedom are the envy of the world. And our military is the best led, best equipped, best trained force in the history of the world.

"It is the paradox of American power – never before have we had so much power, yet never has our security and prosperity been so reliant on other nations.

"The threat of terrorism, the spread of AIDS and other infectious diseases, environmental degradation, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction speak to the interdependence of nations.

"Some of our most significant foreign relations achievements over the last 30 years were our agreements with the former Soviet Union to reduce the size of our nuclear arsenals – the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the START treaties.

"Yet by shredding the ABM Treaty and flirting with the unthinkable – 'usable' battlefield nuclear weapons – the Bush Administration turns the clock back on three decades of arms control.

"The United States must not create new nuclear weapons and ignite new arms races. As the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons, we have a moral obligation to be a leader in ridding this scourge from the face of the Earth forever.

"The United States does not need a multi-billion-dollar national missile defense against the possibility of a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile.

"What we need is a strong nonproliferation policy with other nations to combat the most serious threat to our national security and to the safety of the world – weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists who would smuggle them into our cities.

"In order to succeed, we must be consistent. We must stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction at its source, as well as dealing with its end users.

"A second principle is that America must use its power to promote long-term peace and security.

"If ever there was a moment when American ideals and values inspired the world and laid the foundation for future peace and security, it was at the end of World War II when the Marshall Plan turned dictatorships into democracies and foes into friends.

"Whether the war in Iraq ultimately brings that country freedom and security, whether the Arab world is further inflamed, depends on what happens as the fighting ends.

"The Administration does not like to use the term nation building, but that is exactly what we, working with the international community, must do.

"Rebuilding Iraq into a safer and better place will not be easy. It will be a long and difficult road. The United States should not do it alone. And if we want to ensure the long-term legitimacy and success of our efforts, we cannot do it alone.

"In recent decades, the international community, through the United Nations, has succeeded in bringing peace and stability to war-torn nations from Central America to Africa to Southeast Asia.

"Harry Truman called the United Nations a 'great instrument of peace,' but one that had to be 'made to work.' We must make this great instrument of peace work for the people of Iraq and the Middle East.

"The United Nations must have a strong role in providing humanitarian assistance in Iraq. I am pleased that the President said the United Nations will have a vital role. We must ensure that role is significant.

"A third principle is that America must engage with those who aspire to democratic values.

"Throughout our history, our international standing has rested in large measure on our democratic values. When we adhere to our principles, we earn the respect and cooperation of the world. When we stray from our ideals, we invite suspicion and hostility.

"As we define our role in the world today, and as we help rebuild Iraq, we must uphold freedom, democracy, and human rights – to which all people are entitled. We must never accept the false choice between American interests and American ideals. We can – and we must – promote both.

"The power of our ideas, the power of our economy, and the power of our military speak to our strength. But the power of our example speaks most eloquently to our greatness.

"As we protect and defend the American people, we must also protect and defend the Constitution and our civil liberties which we cherish. We must treat honest debate for what it is – an expression of patriotism, not a violation of it.

"The day before he signed the U.N. Charter at the Herbst Theater, President Truman addressed a crowd of a half-million people in the streets of San Francisco. And in that crowd was a young veteran named John F. Kennedy.

"Everyone knows the enduring challenge President Kennedy made to our country during his inaugural address: 'And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.'

"Less-well known – but equally important -- is the line that followed: 'My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of mankind.'

"Senator Cranston met that challenge every day.

"It is a tremendous honor for me to receive this award named for Senator Cranston, a great champion of peace and human rights.

"In this time of war, we are all praying for God to bless our troops and for God to bless America. God certainly blessed America with the life of Alan Cranston. He was a true patriot.

"He loved our Country and its people. He fought for all Americans to participate in our great democracy.

"He was a champion for our civil liberties, and he was a hero in protecting our magnificent environment from sea to shining sea.

"Thank you to everyone here for carrying on the legacy and life work of Alan Cranston."

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