|Franks: Let's Fight Terrorists 'Over There'|
Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks (search), who led the U.S. Central Command during Operation Iraqi Freedom (search), took the stage to a standing ovation as people held up signs saying "We Salute Our Troops" and pictures of U.S. soldiers in action shots were splashed on huge screens behind him.
"I'm Tommy Franks and I approved that message. This convention rocks," Franks said. "I'm not a Republican. I'm not a Democrat. But I believe in democracy. I believe in America … but, here I stand tonight, endorsing George W. Bush to be the next president of the United States."
America is at an "important crease in history," Franks said, adding that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks" brought a new enemy to our shores — an enemy unlike any we've ever faced before."
And although the nation is safer today, the country has more to achieve, he said.
"We have hardened our defenses and taken the fight to the terrorists, but we still have work to do, especially if we want to fight terrorists abroad before they get to America’s shores," he said.
"Citizens and friends, I've been with this president in tough, uncertain times. George W. Bush is 'the real thing,'" Franks said. "I have looked into his eyes and I have seen his character. I have seen courage and consistency ... Terrorism against our country started long before 9/11. Terrorists have been killing Americans for more than two decades. I am proud that this President has chosen to make a stand."
Franks said successes have been made in Afghanistan and Iraq, and those countries are being put on the path toward democracy and are no longer safe havens for terrorists who may want to attack the United States.
"In Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism and tyranny are being replaced by freedom, hope, and opportunity," Franks said. "I am proud that America has given 50 million people a chance."
Franks also took aim at Democrats and others who say the United States invaded Iraq with little international support.
"President Bush has built the largest coalition in the history of the world — nations united together against terrorism," he said, thanking the coalition partners. "Some have ridiculed the contributions made by our allies, but I can tell you that every contribution from every nation is important."
Bush also personally asked every military commander if he had everything he needed before going to war, Franks added, hailing his commitment to taking care of the nation’s veterans.
"Citizens and friends, I began tonight by reminding you that America must make a choice," Frank said in ending his remarks. "I choose George W. Bush because he is a leader we can depend on to make the tough decisions -- and the right decisions."