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Bush: Iraq Victory Crucial To Defeating Global Terrorism

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2006 – Achieving victory over terrorists in Iraq is crucial to the U.S. campaign to defeat global terrorism and that conflict isn’t making America less secure, President Bush told the nation here yesterday.

Selected findings of a classified National Intelligence Estimate that were leaked to the press in recent days have created an unnecessary furor in Washington, Bush said during his national radio address from the White House.

“Some in Washington have selectively quoted from this document to make the case that by fighting the terrorists in Iraq, we are making our people less secure here at home,” Bush said. “This argument buys into the enemy’s propaganda that the terrorists attack us because we are provoking them [in Iraq].”

After the document was leaked, Bush said he declassified some of its key findings so that the American people can read the document themselves and come to their own conclusions.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair also dismisses critics who say the Iraq War is making more terrorists, said Bush, who then quoted Blair’s recent words: “‘This terrorism isn’t our fault. We didn’t cause it. It’s not the consequence of foreign policy.’”

The U.S. military presence in Iraq isn’t increasing the terrorists’ hatred for America, Bush pointed out. “We do not create terrorism by fighting terrorism,” he said.

Terrorist enmity against America predates the Iraq war and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush said.

“Iraq is not the reason the terrorists are at war with us,” the president said. “Our troops were not in Iraq when terrorists first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, or when terrorists blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, or when they bombed the USS Cole, or when they killed nearly 3,000 people” on 9/11, he said.

The United States and its allies are in Iraq to prevent the terrorists from establishing a safe haven there like the one they once enjoyed in Afghanistan, Bush said.

Bush acknowledged the NIE report “confirms that we are up against a determined and capable enemy.” The report says the Islamic extremist movement is fueled by several factors, Bush said, such as government corruption and fear of Western domination, the holy war in Iraq, the slow pace of reform in Muslim nations, and pervasive anti-Americanism.

“The terrorists are at war against us because they hate everything America stands for,” Bush said, “and, because they know we stand in the way of their ambitions to take over the Middle East.”

It’s therefore paramount to keep the terrorists on the run, so they can’t plot future attacks against America at their leisure, the president said.

“So, we will remain on the offense until the terrorists are defeated and this fight is won,” Bush said, noting a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq before victory is achieved “would embolden the terrorists.”

The NIE estimate said a terrorist victory in Iraq would inspire more terrorists to continue their fight against America in other places in the world, Bush said. First, however, the terrorists want to seize the oil-rich Middle East as their own territory, he explained, and to use it as a platform from which to launch more attacks on America and its allies.

“America must not allow this to happen,” Bush declared, noting the United States is firmly allied with the new, democratic Iraq.

“We will stand with the nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for their freedom,” Bush said, “and we will help them fight and defeat the terrorists there, so we do not have to face them here at home.”

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