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Bush: ‘We will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won’

WASHINGTON (BP)–Not content to allow the nation to lose sight of its calling, President Bush reiterated America’s immovable commitment to winning the war on terror prompted by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Bush, speaking from the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington Oct. 6, delivered a speech originally planned to mark the fourth anniversary of the attacks but postponed because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Bush recalled the late president’s commitment to the advance of democracy in his leadership against threats from Latin America, Europe and Asia, and then he turned to the current international climate.

“In this new century, freedom is once again assaulted by enemies determined to roll back generations of democratic progress,” Bush said. “Once again, we’re responding to a global campaign of fear with a global campaign of freedom. And once again, we will see freedom’s victory.”

Bush mentioned the evil men who rejoiced in the death of every American killed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on the day that altered the nation’s course.

“We remember the calling that came to us on that day and continues to this hour: We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire or rest until the war on terror is won,” he said.

After years of studying the terrorists’ methods, it is clear the militant network prefers to capitalize on American retreats in order to gain control of a country and establish a base for their operations, Bush said.

“They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. Now they’ve set their sights on Iraq,” he said. “… The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity, and we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.”

For those who claim that America’s presence in Iraq only serves to strengthen the fury of extremists, the president reminded that the United States had no troops in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001, “and al Qaeda attacked us anyway.”

“The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse,” he said. “… No act of ours invited the rage of killers, and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder. On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory.”

Though the terrorists claim that Americans are cowardly, Bush said the American military embodies courage, as demonstrated in the past three years.

“It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people. It is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of a rising democracy. And it is courage in the cause of freedom that once again will destroy the enemies of freedom,” he said.

Bush compared this century’s struggle against the murderous ideology of Islamic radicals to the ideology of communism of decades past and said it too will be defeated with persistence and the unity of nations.

“We didn’t ask for this global struggle, but we’re answering history’s call with confidence and a comprehensive strategy. Defeating a broad and adaptive network requires patience, constant pressure and strong partners in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and beyond,” the president 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.”

Since America was put on alert in 2001, the United States and its partners in the war on terror have disrupted at least 10 serious al Qaeda terrorist plots, including three plots to attack inside American borders, Bush said in his speech.

“Our commitment is clear: We will not relent until the organized terror networks are exposed and broken and their leaders held to account for their acts of murder,” he said.

As polls indicate Americans have lost faith in the military’s ability to achieve the objectives in Iraq, Bush again underscored the importance of staying the course even when the price is steep.

“Wars are not won without sacrifice, and this war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve,” he said. “The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we’ve ever faced. They’re unconstrained by any notion of our common humanity or by the rules of warfare. No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight.”

The president pointed to the notable progress Iraqis have already made in establishing a democracy since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, progress that includes holding free national elections and writing a constitution to be voted on Oct. 15.

“Progress isn’t easy, but it is steady,” Bush said. “And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people…. It is true that the seeds of freedom have only recently been planted in Iraq, but democracy, when it grows, is not a fragile flower. It is a healthy, sturdy tree.”

Bush acknowledged the easier road is to retreat and ignore the enemy in hopes that conflict can be avoided, but Americans are not afforded that luxury at this time, he said.

“There’s always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder,” he said. “This would be a pleasant world, but it’s not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday’s brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence. In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory.”

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  • Erin Curry