Every president submits to Congress a document comprehensively explaining the administration's foreign policy. For the Bush administration, this routine paper is the government's first explanation of its reaction to a vastly changed world. The preamble to Bush's "National Security Strategy of the United States" reads:
Today, the United States enjoys a position of unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence. … Enemies in the past needed great armies and great industrial capabilities to endanger America. Now, shadowy networks of individuals can bring great chaos and suffering to our shores for less than it costs to purchase a single tank.
The 35-page document has received attention from the media, ethicists, and world leaders because it provides the president's moral, historical, and intellectual rationale for using preemptive military action to deter terrorism.
"We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best," the document reads. "History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action."
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, calls the security strategy paper a "historic moment."
"This is going to be looked back upon as the definitive shift from a post-Cold War drift to a significant and important strategy for peace and freedom in the 21st century," he told Christianity Today. "I think the President's strategy is a necessary response to the radically altered strategic situation where you have rogue states using terrorists as cat's paws to go out and do terrible damage to innocent civilian populations."