March 24, 2008
THE PRESIDENT: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for your hospitality. I just had a very interesting dialogue on how to strengthen the State Department's capacity to bring freedom and peace around the world, and how to make sure the State Department works collaboratively with the Defense Department, as we deal with some of the more difficult areas, and really take advantage of some of the great opportunities that we're faced with.
And so I really want to thank you, Madam Secretary, and I thank the folks who work in this building. Our citizens have really no idea how competent, courageous and successful the people here who work at the State Department are -- I do. After my -- now my eighth year as President, I've gotten to know the people in the State Department well, and I'm impressed, and so should our citizens.
Obviously we want to expand the reach of the State Department by increasing the size and its efficiencies, and to make sure that there's interoperability. And along these lines, of course, I'm fully aware that folks who have worked in the State Department lost their lives and -- in Iraq, along with our military folks. And on this day of reflection, I offer our deepest sympathies to their families. I hope their families know that the citizens pray for their comfort and strength, whether they were the first one who lost their life in Iraq or recently lost their lives in Iraq -- that every life is precious in our sight.
And I guess my one thought I wanted to leave with those who still hurt is that one day people will look back at this moment in history and say, thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come; that I have vowed in the past, and I will vow so long as I'm President, to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain, that, in fact, there is a outcome that will merit the sacrifice that civilian and military alike have made; that our strategy going forward will be aimed at making sure that we achieve victory and, therefore, America becomes more secure and these young democracies survive, and peace more likely as we head into the 21st century.
So, Madam Secretary, I'm honored to be here, and I thank you very much for your hard work and your dedication.
Thank you all.
END 3:06 P.M. EDT