Bush Dismisses al Qaeda Leader's Message of Violence
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2005 President Bush today dismissed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's threats of more violence targeted toward the United States and Great Britain during a news conference at the president's Crawford, Texas, ranch.
Facing reporters alongside Columbian President Alvaro Uribe, who is visiting the United States, Bush said al-Qaeda's goal "is to drive us out of the broader Middle East."
During a videotaped broadcast on the Arab television network al-Jazzeera today, Zawahiri - second only to Osama bin Laden in the al Qaeda hierarchy -- allegedly said U.S. troops in Iraq would experience more deadly attacks.
Bush pointed out that Zawahiri is part of bin Laden's terrorist gang that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
"They're terrorists and killers," Bush said of al Qaeda and other violent extremists. Such groups "will kill innocent people," he pointed out, to "impose their dark vision on the world."
Bush asserted the terrorists would be defeated and brought to justice, also vowing the United States "will stay the course" in Iraq.
"Our troops will come home as soon as possible," Bush said, after Iraqi forces are prepared to fight the insurgency on their own.
"As Iraq stands up, our coalition will stand down," the president explained, noting that Iraqis want to live in a free society.
Zawahiri's message was released after the deaths in Iraq of 21 U.S. Marines over three days this week. Bush offered his condolences to friends and family members of the deceased servicemembers. "We mourn the loss of every fallen troop," the president said. The fallen Marines' sacrifice and that of other servicemembers killed in the war was "made in a noble cause," Bush declared. "We're defeating the terrorists in a place like Iraq so we don't have to face them here at home," he said.
The United States and its allies also are "spreading democracy and freedom to parts of the world that are desperate for democracy and freedom," Bush said.