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Bush Says America's Freedom Is 'Nonnegotiable'

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2002 – The United States must have "the best intelligence possible" in the war against the "shadowy enemy" of terrorism, President Bush said June 3 in Little Rock, Ark.

"We need to know what they're thinking and what they're planning on doing before they do something," he said.

Up until Sept. 11, Bush said, the FBI was running down white-collar criminals and worrying about spies. Now, law enforcement agencies' new strategy focuses on preventing further terrorist attacks. The FBI is doing a better job of communicating with the CIA and sharing information, he said.

"The whole mission of the federal government, working in conjunction with the state and local governments, is to protect the American people," the president said. When it comes to defending our freedom, he added, "We'll defend it with all our might. We love freedom, and it is nonnegotiable."

The United States has a great military and the American people are grateful for those who wear the nation's uniform, Bush said. Any time America's young are committed to battle, he added, "they deserve the best pay, the best equipment (and) the best training possible."

The nation has been at war for nine months, Bush noted, and in that time U.S. officials have learned that the terrorists are resourceful and devious. They hide in caves and they're willing to send youngsters to their death. They're patient and they're still determined.

They've still got an army out there, he noted, but it's not the kind of army the American people are used to. There are no traditional lines of defense. The enemy melds into society and takes advantage of our freedom, he said.

The terrorists hate America's religious freedom, open political discourse and free press, Bush said. "It bothers them that we are the beacon to freedom, so when people look around the world for what freedom means, they look to America."

Just as the United States has learned about the terrorists, they have learned that Americans are patient people who are in for the long haul. Much to the enemy's chagrin, he stressed, the American people "understand that we face a new threat, the likes of which we've never seen before, and that we will do what it takes to win the war."

"We're on an international manhunt," Bush said. "We're after them, one person at a time. Anybody who thinks they're going to hurt America is going to be hunted down."

He's also concerned that countries that hate America are developing weapons of mass destruction. He vowed to bring world pressure to bear and, if need be, act.

"This great country will lead the world to a more safe and secure and free society," he said. "This nation is plenty patient and plenty tough. And we're ready."

The president called on all Americans to fight evil by volunteering to help those in need. "Our society can be saved one heart and one soul, one conscience at a time," he said.

"The great strength of this country is not really our military," he said. "The great strength of the country is the people of America. The great strength of the country lies in the hearts and souls of our citizens, people who are willing to serve something greater than materialism and selfishness, people who are willing to serve something greater than yourself.

"We will show the world the true strength of America," he concluded. "We're going to keep the peace by being strong militarily and by doing our job. And we will win the war by being a compassionate, decent, honorable nation."

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