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9/14/04 - THE PRICE OF FREEDOM  - 2004-09-13

Despite continued fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, progress is being made in the global war against terror. Four years ago, Afghanistan was a home base of al-Qaida. Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups. Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising. Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks.

President George W. Bush says, “Ultimately we will prevail because liberty changes countries, liberty changes the habits of people, [and] liberty promotes peace”:

“Because we acted, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror. Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders. Saudi Arabia is making arrests. Libya is dismantling its weapons programs. The army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida’s key members and associates have been detained or killed.”

Mr. Bush said that because U.S.-led coalitions acted in Afghanistan and Iraq, more than fifty-million people are now free:

“It wasn’t long ago, in Afghanistan, where many young girls didn’t get to go to school because the leaders there were so backward. And their moms could be hauled out in the public square and whipped or killed because they didn’t toe this barbaric line of reasoning. And today, ten-million people have registered to vote in the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan.... In Iraq, there’s a strong prime minister. There’s a national council. National elections are scheduled in January.”

The U.S. is committed to helping the new leaders train their armies, says Mr. Bush, “so that citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan can defend themselves against the few who are trying to stop the march of liberty for the many.”