Bush Says U.S. Still a Target
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2007 Though memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks may fade with time, President Bush today said that the U.S. remains a top target.
During a speech at the Heritage Foundation here, Bush vowed that during his remaining 14 months as president his administration will remember lessons learned from the attacks, which claimed almost 3,000 victims.
“I fully understand that after six years, the sense of imminent danger has passed for some,” he said. “I just want to assure you that I'll never forget the lessons of September the 11th, and nor will the people with whom I work.”
Bush said critics often accuse him of using the mantle of global terrorism as “political rhetoric,” or a tool to scaremonger Americans and get the electorate into voting booths. The president rebutted such claims, adding that “politicians who deny that we are at war are either being disingenuous or naive.”
Describing the existing threat, Bush said extremists seek to spread a totalitarian-type caliphate engendering a “dark vision” that sees American values, like liberty and equal rights, as anathema.
“These folks think it’s ok to subjugate women and indoctrinate children and murder those who oppose their harsh rule,” he said. “They have stated clearly they want to impose this ideology on millions.”
Bush said al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last year warned Americans that “operations are under preparation.” Seven months after the release of this statement, British authorities foiled an alleged al Qaeda plot to explode commercial airplanes departing Heathrow International Airport in London en route to the United States.
“The intelligence community believes that this plot was just two or three weeks away from execution,” Bush said. “If it had been carried out it could have rivaled 9/11 in death and destruction.”
To illustrate the risk of ignoring machinations made public by an enemy, Bush cited two 20th century examples. Before Vladimir Ilyich Lenin launched a bloody communist revolution in Russia or Adolf Hitler exterminated millions as he sought to build an Aryan super state in Germany, each described his plans publicly.
“Bin Laden and his allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them,” Bush said. “And the question is: Will we listen?”
Since the beginning of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. and its allies have captured or killed hundreds of terrorists, disrupted finance networks and thwarted potential attacks, Bush said.
“In this war on terror, we will not rest or retreat or withdrawal from the fight until this threat to civilization has been removed,” he said.