War Continues As Terrorists 'Still Plot Against Us,' Bush Declares
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2004 Although significant victories have been achieved against global terrorists and their enablers in Afghanistan and Iraq, the war isn't over, the commander in chief noted today.
President Bush told New Mexico Military Institute cadets and emergency first responders in Roswell, N.M., that he remains committed to defend the American homeland from attack. Terrorists, he pointed out, "still plot against us."
But America will prevail, the president asserted, noting the best path to victory "is to go on the offensive, stay on the offensive, and bring the terrorists to justice."
Bush said the United States took the offensive against global terrorists shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Today, he noted, two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed.
While Osama bin Laden and his shrinking roster of followers remain at large, Bush said, they can't hide forever. "One-by-one, we'll bring them to justice," he asserted. "There's no hole deep enough to hide from America." Deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Bush recalled, "was found in a hole, hiding" Dec. 13 in Iraq by U.S. troops.
The president acknowledged he'd "made a tough decision" with congressional support to commit U.S. troops to remove Saddam from power and free the Iraqi people. However, it was the right thing to do, the president maintained, noting the former dictator had used torture and employed weapons of mass destruction against his own people, killing thousands of men, women and children.
"Saddam Hussein, the once all-powerful tyrant who used his brutal dictatorship to intimidate and destroy lives, will no longer be able to do so," Bush declared. Today, Hussein "sits in a prison cell," the president said, "and the Iraqi people are free."
Bush noted that 45 of the 55 most-wanted former regime leaders have been killed or captured. "The other 10 have got to be nervous," he added. U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, he said, continue to chase down diehard Baath Party supporters and foreign terrorists.
"The world is safer, America is more secure, and the world is more free because we got rid of Saddam Hussein," the president told the New Mexico audience.