Islamic Terrorists Still Threaten U.S. Homeland, Bush Says
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 21, 2007 Islamic terrorists still pose a threat to the U.S. homeland, but America’s efforts against them abroad have weakened their position, President Bush said during his weekly radio address today.
“The men who run al Qaeda are determined, capable, and ruthless,” the president said. “They would be in a far stronger position to attack our people if America’s military, law enforcement, intelligence services, and other elements of our government were not engaged in a worldwide effort to stop them.”
Bush said the National Intelligence Estimate on the Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland, released this week, highlights encouraging areas as well as areas of concern. “Most importantly, this document reminds us that America faces ‘a persistent and evolving’ threat from Islamic terrorist groups and cells -- especially al Qaeda,” he said.
The American people must not become complacent, Bush said. “The NIE report makes clear that the threat is not behind us,” he said. “It states that al Qaeda will continue to … ‘focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the U.S. population.’”
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States has taken many steps to keep the American people safe, he said. “We’ve gone on the offense, taking the fight to the terrorists around the world,” Bush said.
The United States and its partners overseas have disrupted plots and saved lives, he added. For instance, earlier this month Pakistani forces went after extremists who managed to establish a safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.
“Pakistani forces are in the fight, and many have given their lives,” he said. “The United States supports them in these efforts. And we will work with our partners to deny safe haven to the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan -- or anywhere else in the world.”
Bush said U.S. military personnel have made “tremendous sacrifices” in fighting terrorism, but stressed they would continue to adapt to changing conditions to meet threats head-on.
“Will not let up until our enemies are defeated and our people are secure,” he said.