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Bush Pledges Pay Raise, More Money for Defense

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2002 – The United States "will not cut corners" when it comes to national defense, President Bush told about 1,500 members of the Reserve Officers Association here today.

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President Bush greets members of the Reserve Officers Association at their mid-winter conference in Washington. In his Jan. 23, 2002, address, he told the 1,500 conferees of his intention to boost next year's defense budget request by $48 billion. Photo by Linda D. Kozaryn. (Click photo for screen-resolution image.)
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"The tools of modern warfare are effective. They are expensive and in order to win this war against terror, they are essential," he said. "Whatever it takes, whatever it costs, this patient, this resolved nation will win the first war of the 21st century."

The president said the military takes top priority in the 2003 budget he'll present to Congress next week. It includes more than $48 billion in new defense spending, and another pay raise for the military.

"This will be the largest increase in defense spending in 20 years," Bush said. It will be used to invest in more precision weapons, in missile defenses, in unmanned vehicles, in high-tech equipment for soldiers on the ground

The nation asks much of its men and women in uniform and in return, they deserve every resource, every weapon needed to achieve a full and final victory, the president said.

"Today, the Guard and Reserve are fighting a two-front war, one in Central Asia and one here at home," Bush told the military crowd. "The Air Force alone has flown 3,000 sorties over Afghanistan, and more than 800 sorties to protect American cities."

Afghanistan's Taliban "is now out of business," he said. "We've smoked members of Al Qaeda out of their caves. We've destroyed their bunkers and the global network of terrorists has seen the first glimpse of their fate."

The United States has also shipped food and medicine to the people of Afghanistan. U.S. officials have helped them organize a new government representing all the people. These gains are a tribute to America's military, the president said.

"There was no doubt in my mind that when I unleashed our great military, that our men and women would perform bravely. They have not let us down," he said.

The military has been relentless in its pursuit of the terrorists, he said. "No matter how long it takes, no matter where we have to look, our United States military will patiently and surely hunt down the murderers and killers and terrorists and bring them one by one to justice."

The war began in Afghanistan, but it is not going to end there, he said. The United States still faces "a shadowy enemy" and "danger and sacrifices lie ahead," he noted.

"We will not tire until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, has been stopped and has been defeated," he said. "The terrorists, the evil ones who targeted America, are learning something. They picked the wrong enemy."

The Reserve Officers Association presented its Minuteman of the Year 2002 award to the president. The award recognizes those who personify the ideals of the Minuteman, courage, love of country and selfless service. Bush was cited for providing steadfast leadership during a time of crisis and rallying the nation to defend freedom and democracy wherever they are threatened.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imagePresident Bush addresses members of the Reserve Officers Association at their mid-winter conference in Washington. In his Jan. 23, 2002, address, he told the 1,500 conferees of his intention to boost next year's defense budget request by $48 billion. Photo by Linda D. Kozaryn.  
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