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5/12/03 - WAR ON TERROR CONTINUES - 2003-05-12

The overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime is a major victory in the global war on terror. Earlier, in Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition helped the Afghans destroy the oppressive Taleban regime, and killed or captured many al-Qaida terrorists. As President George W. Bush said, “Our coalition will finish what we have begun”:

“From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down al-Qaida killers. Nineteen months ago, I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States.... Nearly one half of al-Qaida’s senior operatives have been captured or killed.”

Terrorists attacked the United States on September 11th, 2001. “With those attacks,” said President Bush, “the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States”:

“And war is what they got. Our war against terror is proceeding according to principles that I have made clear to all: Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country, and a target of American justice. Any person, organization, or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.”

But, said President Bush, “anyone in the world, including the Arab world, who works and sacrifices for freedom has a loyal friend in the United States of America”:

“We are committed to freedom in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in a peaceful Palestine. The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world. Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope. When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life.”

The use of force has been, and remains, a last resort. The war on terror is not over. But the tide is turning. As President Bush said, “Free nations will press on to victory.”