President Says America Is Making Progress in War on Terror
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2004 "Over the last 29 months, many terrorists have learned the meaning of justice," President Bush said today in his weekly radio address on progress being made in the war on terror.
"The terrorists are on the run, with good reason to fear what the night might bring," he said, pointing out that nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed.
The president spoke proudly about his visit Feb. 17 with soldiers and family members at Fort Polk, La., where some 10,000 troops have trained and deployed in the war on terrorism.
He also turned his comments to Saddam Hussein, who he said for 12 years defied the international community and was a threat to that community. "He refused to disarm, or account for his illegal weapons and programs," Bush noted.
"My administration looked at the intelligence information and we saw a threat," the president said. "Members of Congress looked at the intelligence, and they saw a threat. The United Nations Security Council looked at the intelligence, and it saw a threat. All of us knew Saddam Hussein's history.
"He waged aggressive wars against neighboring countries and inspired to dominate the Middle East. He cultivated ties to terrorists. He built weapons of mass destruction. He hid those weapons. And he used chemical weapons against thousands of Iraqis and Iranians."
The president also noted that the coalition continues to face deadly attacks from remnants of Saddam's supporters, joined by foreign terrorists.
He talked about the evidence in the 17-page letter written by fugitive Jordanian terrorist Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi seeking help from top al Qaeda leaders. The letter, Bush said, describes a terrorist strategy "to tear Iraq apart with ethnic violence, to undermine Iraqi security forces, to demoralize our coalition and to prevent the rise of a sovereign, democratic government."
"This terrorist outlines his efforts to recruit and train suicide bombers, and boasts of 25 attacks on innocent Iraqis and coalition personnel," Bush pointed out. "And he urges al Qaeda members to join him in waging war on our coalition and on the people of Iraq."
However, the president noted that "we have seen this enemy before" and "we know how to deal with them." He said that "fighting alongside the people of Afghanistan, we are defeating the terrorists in that country. And fighting alongside the people of Iraq, we will defeat the terrorists there as well. Iraq, like Afghanistan, will be free."
The president said that the establishment of a free Iraq will be a watershed event in the history of the Middle East by "helping to advance the spread of liberty throughout that vital region."
"And as freedom takes hold in the greater Middle East, the people of the region will find new hope, and America will be more secure."
The president concluded his radio address saying that, "two and a half years ago, on a clear September morning, the enemies of America brought a new kind of war to our shores. Three days later, I stood in the rubble of the Twin Towers. My resolve today is the same as it was then: I will not relent until the terrorist threat to America is removed."