Bush Outlines Strategy for Victory in Terror War
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
"We didn't ask for this global struggle, but we're answering history's call with confidence and a comprehensive strategy," the president said here during a keynote address to the National Endowment for Democracy.
This strategy, he said, involves:
- Preventing terrorist attacks before they occur. This involves improving homeland defense and intelligence efforts and working with other governments "to destroy the terrorist networks and incapacitate their leaders," the president said.
- Denying weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes and their terrorist allies. This involves stopping the production, trafficking and use of deadly weapons, which Bush said terrorists "would use without hesitation" if they had them.
- Preventing outlaw regimes from providing support and sanctuary to radical groups. Major focuses of this effort are Syria and Iran, which Bush said "have a long history of collaboration with terrorists" and "deserve no patience from the victims of terror."
- Denying militants control of any nation for use as a home base and launching pad for terror. This strategy demands success in Iraq and wherever else terrorists hope to gain a foothold, the president said.
- Stopping militants' recruiting efforts by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope throughout the Middle East. Bush called this the only long-term answer to the violence that has gripped the region throughout much of its history.
In outlining this strategy, Bush cited progress on all five fronts.
Acting with governments from many other countries, the United States is destroying terrorist networks and incapacitating their leaders, he said.
"Together, we've killed or captured nearly all those directly responsible for the September the 11th attacks," he said.
Those successes extend to a wide range of others, the president noted. They include some of Osama bin Laden's most senior deputies, al Qaeda managers and operatives in more than 24 countries, the masterminds behind the bombing of the USS Cole and attacks in Jakarta and Bali, and a senior planner for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terrorist network in Turkey, he noted.
In addition, the United States and its partners have disrupted at least 10 major al Qaeda plots since Sept. 11, 2001, including three targeting the United States, Bush said. They've also stopped at least five more al Qaeda efforts to case targets in the United States or infiltrate operatives into the country, he said.
In terms of weapons of mass destruction, Bush said the United States, working with Great Britain, Pakistan and other nations, exposed and disrupted a major black-market operation in nuclear technology.
The president hailed Libya's abandonment of its chemical and nuclear weapons programs and long-range ballistic missiles as another sign of progress on this front. In addition, he said, the Proliferation Security Initiative stopped more than a dozen shipments of suspected weapons technology in the last year alone.
Work continues to ensure that no country provides safe haven for terrorists, the president said. "The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they're equally guilty of murder," Bush said. "Any government that chooses to be an ally to terror has also chosen to be an enemy of civilization, and the civilized world must hold those regimes to account."
Bush said the coalition continues working to prevent terrorists from gaining a new foothold in the world, with particular focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. "Our goal is to defeat the terrorists and their allies at the heart of power, so we will defeat the enemy in Iraq," he said.
Creating conditions that promote democracy and hope for the future in the Middle East is a difficult and long-term project, Bush acknowledged. But, he added, there's no other viable alternative to create long-term stability in the region.
Otherwise, he said, "that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger for our generation and the next."
Bush vowed to continue working to advance freedom in the area, an effort he said will marginalize the extremists and eventually end the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world.
Defeating what's proven to be "a broad and adaptive" terrorist network won't happen overnight, the president acknowledged. It will require "patience, constant pressure and strong partners in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and beyond," he said.
But, as it has when faced with other threats throughout its history, the United States will keep its focus and stay the course in the war on terror, building on successes already made, he said.
"Working with these partners, we're disrupting militant conspiracies, destroying their ability to make war, and working to give millions in a troubled region of the world a hopeful alternative to resentment and violence," Bush said.
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