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Bush: America Facing Choice in War Against Terrorism

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2003 – President Bush today thanked the United Nations Security Council for passing a resolution supporting efforts to rebuild Iraq, and said the United States is facing a choice in the war on terror.

"A democratic Iraq will stand as an example to all the Middle East," Bush said during a speech in San Bernardino, Calif. "We believe, and the Iraqi people will show, that liberty is the hope and the right of every land."

After ousting terrorist regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, it would be easy for Americans to become complacent, he said, but, the president cautioned, "The danger has not passed."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, terrorists have struck in Casablanca, Morocco; Mombassa, Kenya; Jerusalem; Amman, Jordan; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Baghdad, Iraq; New Delhi, India; and Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Americans must choose to continue the fight against terrorism, Bush said. "Our security will not be gained by timid measures," he said. "Our security requires constant vigilance and decisive action.

"I believe America has only one option," the president continued. "We will fight the war on terror until it is won."

America must also live up to its commitment to rebuilding Iraqi society, Bush said, noting that the United States worked to rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II.

"We helped those nations to become strong and decent and democratic societies that no longer waged war against America, that became our friends. That's our mission in Iraq today," he said. "We're rebuilding schools; we're repairing hospitals, restoring water and electricity so the Iraqi people can live a normal life."

The war on terrorism will continue beyond Iraq, Bush said, but adding that America will persevere because of "the character of our military." He spoke of Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Robsky, who was killed while disarming a bomb in Baghdad Sept. 10.

"Staff Sgt. Joe Robsky's devotion to his nation will not be forgotten," Bush said.

The commander in chief offered words of solace to the families of those service members who have died fighting the war on terrorism. "We mourn every loss. We honor every name," he said. "We grieve with every family, and we'll always be grateful that liberty has found such brave defenders."

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