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President Hosts Defense Strategy Meeting

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2004 – The world has become a safer place, thanks to the United States and its coalition allies who are leading the world in the war on terror, President Bush told reporters today following his annual defense strategy meeting at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Following a far-reaching meeting with key defense advisers, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Bush cited successes in the war on terror: the Taliban seriously weakened, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein behind bars and Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qadhafi now operating as a U.S. ally, among them.

Following briefings by Rumsfeld; Myers; Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command; and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. general in Iraq, who participated via teleconference, Bush told reporters the fight against terrorism is far from over.

"There's more work to be done in fighting off these terrorists. I clearly see that," the president said. "I understand we've got to use all resources at our disposal to find and bring these people to justice."

Bush called intelligence "a vital part of winning this war against these terrorists" and said that to do so, "You've got to know who they are, what they're thinking, where they are."

The president told reporters he's "interested in how to get the best intelligence to my desk so I can be a good decision maker on behalf of the people of this country" and said he welcomes input on how to reform the U.S. intelligence effort.

"We're looking at all options aimed at making sure that I and future presidents have got the best information possible," he said.

Although the president did not share details, he said the defense strategy meeting included discussions about subjects ranging from progress in Iraq to defense transformation to the reconfiguration of U.S. forces around the world.

Bush praised Rumsfeld for doing "a great job" in proposing a strategy that will enable the United States to better protect itself and its allies in the 21st century. This proposal, the president pointed out, followed close, positive consultations with U.S. allies.

Also participating in the session were Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and other White House and Pentagon officials.

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Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Army Gen. John Abizaid, Commander, U.S. Central Command
Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Commander, Multinational Force Iraq

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