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9/9/03 - UPDATE ON WAR ON TERRORISM - 2003-09-10

Two years ago, following the deadly attacks by al-Qaida on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the United States began a global war on terrorism. As President George W. Bush said, the U.S.-led coalition first acted in Afghanistan by destroying the al-Qaida training camps and removing the extremist Muslim Taleban regime that harbored them:

“In a series of raids and actions around the world, nearly two-thirds of al-Qaida’s known leaders have been captured or killed, and we continue on al-Qaida’s trail. We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new measures to protect our homeland, and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United States.”

The second front in the global war on terrorism is Iraq, where the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed and used weapons of mass destruction and sponsored terrorism. The work in Iraq continues, said President Bush:

“We are helping the long-suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East. Together we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass graves into a nation of laws and free institutions.”

The Middle East, said Mr. Bush, will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes more lives in America and in other nations:

“The triumph of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and beyond would be a grave setback for international terrorism. The terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and the resentments of oppressed peoples. When tyrants fall, and resentment gives way to hope, men and women in every culture reject the ideologies of terror, and turn to the pursuits of peace.”

The terrorists understand this. They are trying through acts of violence to get the U.S. and its coalition partners to leave Iraq before a democratic government can be established. But as President Bush said, “We will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our nation more secure.”