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Bush: American Leadership Changing World for the Better

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2004 – The world is changing for the better because of American leadership, President Bush told a crowd this morning in Waukesha, Wis. He delivered a similar message at an afternoon event.

Bush cited terror-war successes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iraq as proof that American ideals of liberty and hope are prevailing throughout the world and making this country safer for its citizens.

Afghanistan had been the home base of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network. "Now the terror camps are closed, democracy is rising, and the American people are safer," Bush said during the earlier event.

He said Pakistan was "a safe transit point for terrorists on missions of murder." Now, Bush said, the Pakistani government is working with the United States to find terrorists in remote regions of Pakistan.

The Saudi Arabian government is doing more to track down terrorists operating in that country, and Libya has given up its nuclear-processing equipment, the president said.

And before America took action, "the dictator in Iraq was a threat he was a threat to us; he was a threat to the free world; he was a threat to the people in the (Middle East) neighborhood; and he was a threat to his own people," Bush said of Saddam Hussein. "That dictator is no longer a threat, and the American people are safer."

In Iraq and Afghanistan, those countries' citizens are taking more responsibility for their own security and need to know they can count on America for support, Bush said.

"They want to live in freedom," he said, of Iraqi and Afghan citizens. "Their moms and dads want their children to be able to grow up in a peaceful and free society.

"They can count on us," he added. "That's what they need to hear."

Bush said the United States was right to take military action in Iraq even though stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction haven't been discovered there.

"We removed a declared enemy of America who had the capability of producing weapons of mass destruction," he said. "(Saddam) had that capability, and he could have passed that capability to terrorists bent on acquiring them.

"After Sept. 11, that was a risk we could not afford to take," he added.

The president said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, taught Americans a lesson they must never forget. "It's a lesson I'll never forget," he said. "America must confront threats before they fully materialize -- before it's too late."

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