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2/6/03 - STATE OF THE UNION AGAINST TERROR - 2003-02-07


The United States, said President George W. Bush in his State of the Union message, "is leading the world in confronting and defeating the man-made evil of international terrorism."

It has been almost seventeen months since al- Qaida terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon outside Washington, and one into a field in Pennsylvania. More than three-thousand people from more than ninety nations lost their lives in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Since that day, the U.S. and the world's civilized nations have declared war on al-Qaida and other terrorist networks. More than three-thousand terrorists and dozens of their top leaders have been captured or killed. The coalition has stopped conspiracies targeting the U.S. embassy in Yemen, a Saudi military base, and ships in the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Gibraltar.

The coalition routed the al-Qaida terrorist network in Afghanistan and helped overthrow its Taleban sponsors. Terrorist cells in Hamburg, Milan, Madrid, London, and Paris have been broken. More than one-hundred million dollars of terrorist assets have been frozen. The U.S. has trained military forces in the Philippines, Yemen, Georgia, and other nations, increasing their capabilities against terrorism and other security threats.

But more must be done. First and foremost, governments must stop terrorist efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. "Today," said Mr. Bush, "the gravest danger facing America and the world is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorists, who would use them without the least hesitation." That is why the U.S., working with the United Nations, has given Saddam Hussein one final opportunity to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. As President Bush said, "If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him."

As President Bush said, "In the ruins of two towers, at the western wall of the Pentagon, on a field in Pennsylvania, this nation made a pledge, and we renew that pledge. . . . Whatever the duration of this struggle, and whatever the difficulties, we will not permit the triumph of violence in the affairs of men -- free people will set the course of history."

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