Bush, Blair Reaffirm Commitment to Global War on Terror
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2004 The United States and Great Britain will continue to work together to bring stability and democracy to Iraq and fight the global war on terror, the leaders of both countries said at the White House today.
President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held a news conference after meeting to discuss the war on terror and other issues.
In citing progress in the war on terror, the leaders noted that Hamid Karzai became Afghanistan's first elected president last month.
"The Taliban and the terrorists did everything they could to intimidate the long-suffering people of that country," Bush said. "Yet men and women lined up at the polls, some of them waiting for hours, to have their first taste of democracy. The success of Afghanistan's election is a standing rebuke to cynicism and extremism, and a testimony to the power of liberty and hope. The people of the United States and Great Britain can be proud of the role we have played in aiding the rise of a free nation, and in so doing, making our countries more secure."
Blair said Karzai's election was "a magnificent tribute, not just to the courage of the Afghan people, but actually also to the power of democracy."
The prime minister reaffirmed Great Britain's commitment in Iraq. "We have to complete our mission in Iraq, make sure that Iraq is a stable and a democratic country," he said, "and I have no doubt at all that whatever the difficulties the terrorists and insurgents, supporters of Saddam Hussein may pose for us, that we will overcome those difficulties -- ourselves, the multinational force together with the Iraqi government -- and ensure that Iraq can be that democratic, stable state that the vast majority of Iraqis I know will want to see."
Bush warned that as Iraq's January election draws closer, insurgents will become more desperate. But he joined Blair in promising a free and stable Iraq. "The United States and Great Britain have shown our determination to help Iraqis achieve their liberty and to defend the security of the world," he said. "We will continue to stand with our friends, and we will finish the job."
The president conceded it hasn't been and won't be easy. "It's difficult, particularly in a society like Iraq because the terrorists understand the stakes of freedom and they're willing to kill people in brutal fashion to stop it," he said. "And I believe we have a duty and an obligation to work to make sure democracy takes hold. It's a duty to our own country. It's a duty to generations of Americans and the children of Great Britain to help secure the peace by promoting democratic societies."
Blair said that though the bonds are strong between the United States and Great Britain, that's not why the two countries are working together. "We're not fighting the war against terrorism because we are an ally of the United States; we are an ally of the United States because we believe in fighting this war against terrorism," he said.
"America's alliance with Great Britain has never been stronger," Bush said, "and we're working closely every day to spread that freedom that leads to peace."