Nation's Enemies Still Exist; Best Defense Is to Find Them
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2002 Even though nearly a year has passed since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, people must not forget that the nation's enemies still exist, President Bush said Sept. 5 in Louisville, Ky.
Speaking at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, the president first focused on the economy and then turned to the war on terrorism. He said people must remember that the terrorists are "cold-blooded killers" who are "willing to take innocent life in the name of a hijacked religion."
"The best way to protect our homeland is to hunt the killers down one by one and bring them to justice," Bush said. "The best way to secure America and to protect our freedom is to find the killers."
Federal, state and local officials are doing everything they can to keep the nation secure, he said. Officials at all levels are getting better information and acting on it quickly. "There's a lot of good folks working hard to protect us," he continued. "Any time we're getting a hint the enemy might be thinking about doing something to us, we're moving on it."
America is now the "battlefield" in a new and different era, Bush said. Today's enemies have no tanks, airplanes or ships, as did those of previous wars. "These are commanders who hide in dark caves and then send youngsters to their suicidal death." Global terrorists are allusive, determined and sophisticated, he said. "They kind of slither into cities and hope not to get caught."
People wonder why somebody would hate America. "It's because we love freedom, that's why," the president said. "We love the idea that free people can worship almighty God any way they so choose in America. We value the freedom for people to speak their mind in this country. We value a free press. ... The more we value freedom, the more they hate us."
Citing steps he's taken to combat the terrorist threat, Bush said he's asked Congress to create the Department of Homeland Security to combine the efforts of more than 100 agencies scattered throughout the Washington, D.C., area. "I want to be able to align authority and responsibility. I want to be able to say clearly to the American people we're doing a better job of protecting our borders," he said.
The nation needs to do a better job of coordinating first responders' strategy, of responding to potential weapons of mass destruction attacks, and of analyzing intelligence and addressing America's vulnerabilities, he said. "I need the flexibility necessary to be able to move people to the right place at the right time in order to protect America," he said.
The United States is committed to what will be a long fight against terrorism, Bush said. U.S. forces went into Afghanistan to liberate the people and will remain to help democracy flourish in the region and to rid the country of any remaining al Qaeda.
The president said he's requested the largest defense- spending bill since Ronald Reagan was president for two reasons. "One, any time we put our troops into harm's way, they deserve the best pay, the best equipment and the best training.
"And secondly, I did so because I want to send a message to friend and foe alike that we're in this for the long haul. When it comes to the freedoms we love," Bush said, "when it comes to something we hold dear, this country is determined and patient and plenty resolved to achieve victory."
Safeguarding the nation also includes dealing with the threat posed by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. "I take the threat very seriously," he stressed. "I take the fact that he develops weapons of mass destruction very seriously."
The Iraqi leader has invaded two countries, Bush reminded the audience. "I know for a fact that he's poisoned his own people. He doesn't believe in the worth of each individual. He doesn't believe in public dissent."
The president said he's opened a dialogue about the Iraqi threat with the American people and with Congress. He's scheduled to speak at the United Nations next week, and he's meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair this weekend. Over the next week, he plans to talk with leaders of Canada, Russia, France and China.
"I will remind them that history has called us into action, that we love freedom, that we'll be deliberate, patient and strong in the values that we adhere to, but we can't let the world's worst leaders blackmail, threaten, (or) hold freedom-loving nations hostage with the world's worst weapons."