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American Forces Press Service

Bush: Global Terrorists 'Are Meeting the Fate They Chose for Themselves'

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2003 - The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on America inaugurated the first conflict of the new century, President George Bush told U.S. sailors and Marines at a southern California military base today.

"Now you have been called . to serve in the first war of the 21st century," Bush declared during his visit to the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, Calif.

The 9-11 assaults - which killed thousands of innocent American citizens - awakened the country "to new dangers," Bush pointed out.

On that day "threats that had gathered far across the world appeared suddenly in our own cities," the president observed.

"The world changed on that day," he maintained.

The 9-11 terror attacks demonstrated the damage America's enemies could inflict on the nation, Bush emphasized, "and the evil they intend."

Yet, since the attacks, America's enemies "have seen the will and the might" of the U.S. military, the commander-in-chief pointed out.

Consequently, global terrorists "are meeting the fate they chose for themselves," the president declared, noting the United States is "waging a broad and an unrelenting campaign against the global terror network."

"And," Bush asserted, "we are winning."

Al Qaeda terrorists can't hide, whether they are residing in the "caves and mountains of central Asia, to the islands of the Philippines, to the cities in Pakistan," Bush observed.

"We are finding them," the president declared amid enthusiastic clapping and cheers, "and we are bringing them to justice."

In fact, Bush noted, nearly two-thirds of known al Qaeda leaders and key operatives have been captured or killed.

The president pointed out, however, that al Qaeda members still at large "continue to plot" against America and its allies.

Yet, Bush put global terrorists on notice, declaring, "wherever they are, we will hunt them down, one by one, until they are no longer a threat to the people who live in the United States of America."

The president praised the skill and bravery of U.S. service members who had helped remove al Qaeda and their Taliban enablers from Afghanistan and ended Saddam Hussein's despotic regime in Iraq.

"You can be proud," Bush told the Marines and sailors, many of whom had served in Afghanistan and Iraq, of helping to liberate the Afghan and Iraqi people from freedom-hating, despotic governments.

"Thugs," Bush declared, had turned Afghanistan into a training camp for al Qaeda terrorists.

U.S. service members serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere around the globe are enforcing U.S. doctrine, Bush explained, which declares that those who harbor terrorists are just as guilty as the terrorists themselves.

Afghanistan today "is a friend of the United States," Bush pointed out, and is no longer "a haven" for America's enemies.

And ongoing security and reconstruction efforts in Iraq, he pointed out, are also part of the war on terrorism.

Saddam Hussein's now-defunct regime had "persecuted Iraqis, supported terrorists and was armed to threaten the peace of the world," Bush pointed out.

The world, he said, is now seeing "just how badly the Iraqi people suffered" under the former dictator's brutal rule.

Iraqis "are seeing a new day," Bush declared, "thanks to the brave men and women who came to liberate them" from "secret police, arbitrary arrests or loved ones lost forever in mass graves."

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