'America Counting on You to Stop' Terrorists, Bush Tells Terror Fighters
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 11, 2005 The nation's greatest mission is to prevent terrorists from launching more deadly attacks like those of Sept. 11, 2001, and the July 7 bombings in London, President Bush said at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., today.
"As we saw in London last week, the terrorists need to be right only once. Free nations need to be right 100 percent of the time," President Bush told an audience at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Va., today.
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"Whether you're fighting terrorists in Afghanistan or Iraq, or rooting out terrorists here at home, America is counting on you to stop them," Bush told representatives of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Marine Corps, and other government officials.
To assist these groups in winning the global war on terror, Bush said, the government has more than tripled funding for homeland security since 2001. More than $14 billion of that funding has gone toward training and equipping first responders.
The president praised the intelligence community, which he credited with thwarting a number of grave threats to the American people. But he cautioned that the enemy is constantly changing, studying U.S. defenses, and adapting its strategies. That requires a constant strengthening of U.S. capabilities, he said.
"One of the new steps we're taking is the creation of the National Security Service within the FBI to more completely integrate the bureau's work with the intelligence community," Bush said. "The purpose of this change is to strengthen the FBI so that it not only investigates terrorist crimes after they happen, but the FBI can be more capable to stop the terrorist acts before they happen."
Another tool, "one of the most important" for federal agents in their efforts to protect America, is the Patriot Act. What the president described as 16 critical provisions of the act are due to expire at the end of this year. He called upon Congress to reauthorize these provisions.
"The terrorist threats against us will not expire at the end of this year, and neither should the protections of the Patriot Act," he said. "We know that there's no such thing as perfect security and that in a free and open society, it is impossible to protect against every threat.
"As we saw in London last week, the terrorists need to be right only once. Free nations need to be right 100 percent of the time."
While the al Qaeda network has been damaged across the world, Iraq has become the central front in the war on terror, Bush said. And though the terrorists continue to fight in Iraq for the survival of their "hateful ideology," U.S. and coalition forces are working to make Iraq a successful democracy, he said.
Bush acknowledged the stakes are high but, he added, no one knows that better than the troops on the ground. He quoted one American battalion commander in Iraq who wrote in an e-mail: "I know that most of you are probably asking if our presence here and loss of human life are worth it. We're here for a purpose, and if not now, when will we stand up to the terrorists that are sick enough to do these things in God's name?"
"We are standing up," Bush said. "And the sacrifice is worth it. By helping ... the Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror, we are advancing the cause of freedom and the cause of peace."
He said the U.S. plan for Iraq can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, the United States will stand down.
Iraqi forces are standing up in greater numbers, Bush said, telling of an Iraqi traffic officer who watched colleagues die when a car coming toward them exploded. Though many of his friends did not survive, the officer vowed to remain a policeman and serve his country, Bush said.
This is matched by political progress, as well. Iraq's new leaders are reaching out to Sunni Arabs who didn't participate in January's elections. Also, the president said, 15 Sunni Arab delegates have recently joined the committee drafting the new Iraqi constitution.
"As Iraqis take these steps toward political and military reform, they are building a free nation that will be a beacon, a beacon of liberty in the Middle East," Bush said. "The success of democracy in Iraq is sending forth the news from Damascus (Syria) to Tehran (Iran) that freedom can be the future of every nation."
He vowed not to let the terrorists win but at the same time acknowledging that the fight wouldn't be easy.
"There will be tough fighting ahead. There will be difficult moments along the path to victory," Bush said. "The only way that terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve. This isn't going to happen on my watch. America and its allies will continue to act decisively, and the cause of freedom will prevail."