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1/2/04 - PROGRESS AGAINST TERRORISM - 2004-01-02

Time Magazine has named the men and women of the U.S. armed forces as the 2003 Person of the Year. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the selection is “a well-deserved recognition of their remarkable achievements”:

“At this time last year, a vicious dictator ruled Iraq. He was a man who took pleasure in having dozens of people thrown off the tops of several-story buildings to their death, whose security apparatus tortured innocent men, women and children, and who murdered literally hundreds of thousands of people over his time in office and piled their bodies in mass graves.”

Saddam Hussein has been removed from power. The man who terrorized a nation was found cowering in a hole in the ground. Instead of living in lavish palaces, Saddam Hussein now spends his time in a prison cell, waiting to answer for his alleged crimes. With the dictator’s removal, said Mr. Rumsfeld, “the Iraqi people face a future not of fear, but of freedom”:

“And that is what the armed forces have accomplished in the last twelve months alone. Since September 11th of 2001, they have accomplished even more. They’ve rescued two nations [Afghanistan and Iraq], liberated some fifty-million people, helped to capture or kill nearly two-thirds of the known senior al-Qaida operatives, broken up terrorist cells, and prevented terrorist attacks on several continents.”

But, said Mr. Rumsfeld, the war on terrorism is not over:

“It will continue for some period into the future. But the cooperation between some ninety nations, the cooperation between all elements of national power, public and private...all of these things need to be done.”

Today it is harder for terrorists to raise money. It is harder for terrorists to move across borders. It is harder for them to communicate or assemble. “And all of that,” said Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, “advantages those of us who do not believe that killing innocent men, women, and children is a good thing.”