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Bush Cites Progress, Way Ahead in War on Terror

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2002 – It's not enough for America to win the war on terrorism, the country must help secure the peace, President Bush said April 17.

Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., Bush invoked the example of the college's most famous alumnus, General of the Army George C. Marshall, as the exemplar of American aims. Marshall served as Army chief of staff during World War II, secretary of state from 1947 to 1949 and secretary of defense from September 1950 to September 1951.

"General Marshall became the architect of America's victory," Bush said. "He fought tenaciously against our enemies and then worked just as hard to secure the peace."

Bush said the United States has been called to defend freedom against ruthless enemies. He said the war against terrorism will be long, and it will not be enough just to make the world safer. "We must also work to make the world better," he said.

Bush reiterated that the war against terror is different and has been fought on many fronts. He said the United States has made progress on all these fronts. "In every case, we will defeat the threats against our country and the civilized," he said. "Our progress is measured day by day, terrorist by terrorist."

He said the United States recently apprehended Abu Zubaydah -- a top-ranking al Qaeda operative. "He's not plotting and he's not planning anymore," Bush said. "He's under lock and key, and we're going to give him some company."

He said the United States has used intelligence gained in Afghanistan to thwart other terror attacks. The United States will continue to work with coalition partners to financially squeeze the terror networks and will work with other nations' law enforcement officials to capture terrorists.

Bush said it is important that the world understand that U.S. operations against the Taliban were not meant to conquer a nation, but to liberate it.

"The battles in Afghanistan are not over," he said. "American and allied troops are taking risks today in what we call Operation Mountain Lion -- hunting down al Qaeda and the Taliban, keeping them on the run."

A naval flotilla is blocking routes of escape from the region, he said.

"As the spring thaw comes, we expect cells of trained killers to try to regroup, to murder, create mayhem, try to undermine Afghanistan's efforts to build a lasting peace," he said.

He said the United States will not repeat mistakes other countries have made in Afghanistan in the past. Previous operations in Afghanistan met initial success followed "by long years of floundering and ultimate failure."

Bush said the United States will stay in the area until the mission is completed. But, he said, he knows peace in the region is only possible "when we give the Afghan people the means to achieve their own aspirations."

The United States will help the country achieve a stable government, train a national army, develop a universal education system, and grow food instead of opium. The United States is involved in many humanitarian efforts, from clearing mines to building roads to providing food and medical assistance.

Bush also traced the road ahead in the war on terrorism. "We must prevent al Qaeda from moving its operations to other countries," he said. "We must deny terrorists the funds they need to operate. We must deny them safe havens to plan new horrors and indoctrinate new recruits."

Bush said the United States is working with Yemen to prevent terrorist from regrouping there. U.S. service members are training Philippine soldiers to combat terrorism in that country. In the Republic of Georgia, the United States is providing temporary help to wipe out a terrorist cell near the Russian border.

"Wherever global terror threatens the civilized world, we and our friends and our allies will respond, and will respond decisively," Bush said.

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Related Sites:
Remarks by the President to the George C. Marshall ROTC Award Seminar on National Security, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., April 17, 2002


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