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Attacks Reveal the Nature of Terrorism, Bush says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2003 – The terrorist attacks in Baghdad and Jerusalem will serve as an added spur in the war on terror, President Bush said during his radio address Saturday.

In both cases, the terrorists struck innocents in an effort to impose Taliban- like regimes on the world.

On Aug. 19, a truck bomb exploded outside the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. The blast killed at least 20 people. "The U.N. personnel and Iraqi citizens killed in the bombings were engaged in a purely humanitarian mission," Bush said. "Men and women in the building were working on reconstruction, medical care for Iraqis and the distribution of food."

The U.N. representative for Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello was among the dead. U.S. officials said the bombing was likely the work of former members of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Also on Aug. 19, a suicide terrorist in Jerusalem murdered 20 innocent people riding a bus, including five Americans. "The killer had concealed under his clothing a bomb filled with metal fragments, designed to kill and injure the greatest number of people possible," Bush said. "Among the 110 people hurt were 40 children." The Israeli police said the bomber was from Hamas.

Bush said the two bombings reveal, once again, the nature of the terrorists, and why they must be defeated. "In their malicious view of the world, no one is innocent," he noted. "Relief workers and infants alike are targeted for murder. Terrorism may use religion as a disguise, but terrorism violates every religion and every standard of decency and morality."

The president said the terrorists have declared war on every free nation. "Their goals are clear: They want more governments to resemble the oppressive Taliban that once ruled Afghanistan," he said. "Terrorists commit atrocities because they want the civilized world to flinch and retreat so they can impose their totalitarian vision."

Bush said the United States will not flinch in this war on terror, and there will not be a retreat. "From Afghanistan to Iraq, to the Philippines and elsewhere, we are waging a campaign against the terrorists and their allies, wherever they gather, wherever they plan, and wherever they act," he said.

"This campaign requires sacrifice, determination and resolve, and we will see it through," he continued. "Iraq is an essential front in this war. Now we're fighting terrorists and remnants of that regime who have everything to lose from the advance of freedom in the heart of the Middle East."

The president said that most of Iraq is making steady progress toward reconstruction and a stable, self-governing society. "This progress makes the remaining terrorists even more desperate and willing to lash out against symbols of order and hope, like coalition forces and U.N. personnel," he said. "The world will not be intimidated. A violent few will not determine the future of Iraq, and there will be no return to the days of Saddam Hussein's torture chambers and mass graves."

Bush said Iraqis are working with coalition forces to stop these assassins. Coalition forces acting on tips from ordinary Iraqis are increasing raids, seizing weapons and capturing enemy leaders. "The United States, the United Nations and the civilized world will continue to stand with the people of Iraq as they reclaim their nation and their future," he said.

The president said that all nations face a challenge and a choice. He said "terrorists are testing our will, hoping we will weaken and withdraw. Yet across the world, they are finding that our will cannot be shaken. Whatever the hardships, we will persevere. We will continue this war on terror until all the killers are brought to justice. And we will prevail."

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