Gung-ho George Bush yesterday issued a warning to tyrants around the world: "We're coming after you."
The re-elected president ignored the disaster in Iraq to use his inaugural address to proclaim that America was on the march for freedom.
He called on the "force of human freedom" to "break the reign of hatred" and "expose the pretensions of tyrants".
In a bizarre throwback to Karl Marx he urged the oppressed to throw off their chains, saying: "When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you.
"There is no justice without freedom and there can be no human rights without liberty."
He attacked "the rulers of outlaw regimes" and said: "We will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary."
Watched by wife Laura, 23-year-old twins Jenna and Barbara and his father, 41st president George Bush, his 2,000 word speech was littered with soundbites and religious references.
Bush said: "We are led by events and common sense to one conclusion - the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.
"The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
He went on: "For as long as whole regions of the world simmer with resentment and tyranny, prone to ideologies that feed and excuse murder ... violence will gather and raise a mortal threat."
The only force that could prevail was "the force of human freedom".
He warned: "It is the policy of the US to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
He did not mention Iraq by name - where 1,360 personnel have been killed and 10,500 injured, helping to earn him the lowest approval rating in 50 years for any president starting a second term.
In a possible attempt to soften the combative message, Bush said the US did not want to impose its "own style of government on the unwilling".
Spreading freedom was not primarily the task of arms. "Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way." He added: "We have lit a a fire in the minds of men. It burns those who fight its progress and one day this fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of the world ... We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."
More than 100,000 people gathered in freezing weather and the tightest security for an inauguration to hear Vice-President Dick Cheney and then Bush take their oaths of office.
Streets were fenced off, anti-aircraft missiles deployed, combat jets patrolled overhead, snipers scanned the vast crowd from rooftops and hundreds of police stood along the route of the parade.
There were hi-tech chemical, nuclear and biological weapons sensors, bomb sniffing dogs and boat patrols on the Potomac River.
In a TV interview earlier Cheney said Iran was "right at the top of the list" of potential world trouble spots - and he feared Israel "might well decide to act first ... without being asked" to eliminate any nuclear threat from Tehran. The US would continue to try diplomacy - "we don't want a war in the Middle East if we can avoid it".
But the next step would be to ask the UN Security Council for sanctions "to force them to live up to commitments and obligations".
Linda Cotton, a retired teacher from Las Vegas, said: "It seems to me they are laying the ground for Iran and North Korea. I don't trust them."
Protesters carried flag draped coffins to the White House and chanted anti-war slogans.
And there were protests across the world. In London Stop the War Coalition organised a candlelight protest outside the US embassy.
The £68million cost of the jamboree provoked outrage across the US.
Most of the £22million for partying and parades came from Republican Party faithful. Big firms which benefited from Bush's policies splashed out up to £600,000.
Donors were rewarded with meetings with political VIPs, tickets to the ceremony and inaugural balls.
What He Said and How Many Times
Freedom . . . . . .27
Liberty . . . . . . .15
Tyranny . . . . . . .5
Justice . . . . .. . .5
God . . . . . . .. . .3
Threat . . . . . . . ..2
Security . . . . . . .1
War . . . . . . .. . .0
Iraq . . . . . . . . . .0
Iran . . . . . . . . . .0
Terror . . . . . . . . .0
© 2005 Mirror.co.uk