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World Safer Because of U.S. Actions, Bush Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2003 – The world is safer today because Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are gone, President Bush said during a White House press conference today.

He said the will of the United States cannot be shaken by "suiciders who are willing to drive up to a Red Cross center a center of international food and aid and comfort and just kill."

The president said this is the same terrorist mentality that was behind the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorists expected the United States to "crater in the face of hardship," Bush said.

The president urged Congress to act quickly to pass the $87 billion supplemental budget request that includes $20 billion for aid to Afghanistan and Iraq. He also expressed satisfaction on the unanimous passage of U.N. Security Council resolution 1511 that endorses a multinational U.N. force for Iraq under U.S. command and encourages the nations of the world to assist in reconstruction in Iraq.

"We're now working with many nations to make sure that Afghanistan and Iraq are never again the source of terror and danger for the rest of the world," Bush said.

Bush said he is pleased with the financial commitments other countries have made to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet he said that more than two decades of oppression and brutality in Iraq and Afghanistan make reconstruction difficult. "Freedom still has its enemies in both those countries," he said, and terrorists are taking a look at the progress the coalition is making and targeting examples of that success and freedom.

"Their desperate attacks on innocent civilians will not intimidate us or the brave Iraqis and Afghans who are joining in their own defense and are moving toward self- government," Bush said. "Coalition forces aided by Afghan and Iraqi police and military are striking the enemy with force and precision."

Bush said the attacks in Iraq are the work of Baathists and foreign terrorists. He said the Baathists are striking because they hope to restore Saddam to power and regain their privileged position in Iraq. "The foreign terrorists are trying to create conditions of fear and retreat, because they fear a free and peaceful state in the midst of a part of the world where terror has found recruits. That freedom is exactly what terrorists fear the most," Bush said.

Bush said it would be a shame if countries saw the attacks in Iraq as a reason not to support the coalition effort. Terrorists are hoping for precisely that reaction, he said.

"And that's why it's important for this nation and our other coalition partners to stand our ground, to improve our intelligence, to move quickly when we find good intelligence to bring people to justice," he said. "The terrorists rely on the death of innocent people to create the conditions of fear that therefore will cause people to lose their will.

"That's their strategy," he continued. "And this country will stay the course. We'll do our job. And it's in our interest that we do our job for the free world."

Bush said a free Iraq is essential to creating the conditions for peace in the region. He said the United States will stick with what he considers a smart strategy.

"Iraq's a dangerous place, and I can't put it any more bluntly than that," the president said. "I know it's a dangerous place. And I also know our strategy to rout them out, which is to encourage better intelligence and get more Iraqis involved and have our strike teams ready to move, is the right strategy."

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