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Bush On Threats Facing The U.S.

In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush said that America is "a nation at war," facing threats from Sunni terrorist groups like al-Qaida:

"They preach with threats, instruct with bullets and bombs, and promise paradise for the murder of the innocent. . . .They want to overthrow moderate government and establish safe havens from which to plan and carry out new attacks on our country."

But Sunni terrorists "are just one camp in the Islamist radical movement," said Mr. Bush:

"It has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who are just as hostile to America, and are also determined to dominate the Middle East. Many are known to take direction from the regime in Iran, which is funding and arming terrorists like Hezbollah – a group second only to al-Qaida in the American lives it has taken."

Shia and Sunni extremists, said Mr. Bush, "are different faces of the same totalitarian threat":

"They want to kill Americans, kill democracy in the Middle East, and gain the weapons to kill on an even more horrific scale."

In the last two years, said Mr. Bush, citizens in Lebanon and Iraq demonstrated their desire for liberty by flocking to the polls to vote despite threats of violence. Radical Islamic terrorists, President Bush said, responded with more attacks:

"In Lebanon assassins took the life of Pierre Gemayel, a prominent participant in the Cedar Revolution. Hezbollah terrorists, with support from Syria and Iran, sowed conflict in the region and are seeking to undermine Lebanon's legitimately elected government."

Iraq, said Mr. Bush, Sunni extremists provoked retaliation from Iraqi Shia by bombing the Golden Mosque of Samarra:

"Radical Shia elements, some of whom receive support from Iran, formed death squads. The result was a tragic escalation of sectarian rage and reprisal that continues to this day."

The United States is now planning to send more U.S. troops to Iraq. The Iraqi government says it will increase its military presence in Baghdad and confront extremists of any faction or party. These new plans, said President Bush, have the power "to shape the outcome of this battle."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.