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Friday, November 11, 2005

Bush Urges Us to Defeat Murderous Ideology of Radicals

Fitting speech on Veterans' Day.


Bush: We Must Defeat 'Murderous Ideology' of Radicals
Friday, November 11, 2005
By Liza Porteus

President Bush on Friday reiterated the need to defeat extremists seeking to destroy America and other modern governments, saying the "murderous ideology of Islamic radicals" is the great threat of the 21st century.
"No act of ours invited the rage of killers and no concession, bribe or appeasement will change or limit their plans for murder," Bush said of terror networks like the Al Qaeda group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Usama bin Laden. "They target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence ... there is only one effective response: We will never back down, we will never give in, we will accept nothing less than complete victory."
During the noon speech in Pennsylvania, Bush also said today's fight in the War on Terror is one against groups led by "evil men" who he liked to brutal men like Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.
"Today our nation pays tribute to our veterans — 25 million vets who have used the uniform of the United States of America," Bush said in commemorating Veteran's Day.
"At this hour, a new generation of Americans are defending our flag and our freedom in the first war of this century. This war came to our shores on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. ...We know that they want to strike again and our nation has made a clear choice. We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire or rest until the War on Terror is won."
The president will directly — and rather forcefully — defend the administration's stance that Saddam Hussein was believed to have weapons of mass destruction in the lead-up to the war.
Although many weapons caches have been found and many believe Saddam had enough time to move any chemical or biological weapons he may have had to Syria or elsewhere before his regime was toppled, no WMD stockpiles have yet been found.
Click in the video box to the right for a report by FOX News' Greg Kelly.
The administration points out that not only did the White House believe the intelligence showed that Iraq posed a threat, but so did other countries, intelligence analysts and lawmakers.
"Our statements about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein were based on the aggregation of intelligence from a number of sources, and represented the collective view of the intelligence community," National Security Adviser Steven Hadley said Thursday.
"Those judgments were shared by Republicans and Democrats alike."
It's not only the intelligence reports and briefings that many Democrats have questioned but also the public statements and speeches made by Bush, particularly in the fall of 2002.
"The [Wilkes-Barre, Pa.] speech represents an historic moment for President Bush to answer some important questions and restore some credibility to his administration," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. "Hopefully, he will seize this opportunity to level with the American people about Iraq and the War on Terror. It's not enough to trot out the same lines about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's connection to Sept. 11 or how we're fighting terrorists there so we don't have to face them here. We now know each of these claims to be false."
Administration officials point to the Silberman-Robb commission that concluded there was no political pressure to alter intelligence. That panel, formerly known as the Commission of the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, submitted its report to the president in March of this year.
"In no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments," the report states. "We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments."
The commission notes that the intelligence community's best assessment of Iraq weapons, outlined in the October 2002 document National Intelligence Estimate, said Iraq was in fact still pursuing its weapons of mass destruction programs. In the end, the assessments turned out to be wrong, and the commission found that intelligence experts didn't explain fully to the administration just how thin its evidence was, which led to "serious errors" in statements made by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and others in making the case for going to war in Iraq.
Democrats who claim Bush and others in the administration misled the public have been emboldened by the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff and national security adviser, who was accused of lying to federal officials investigating who in the administration may have leaked the name of a CIA operative to reporters. Administration critics say the leak was a retaliation move after the operative's husband, former Amb. Joseph Wilson, publicly refuted the administration's claims about Saddam's weapons.
But some observers note that many of these Democrats who are now criticizing the White House voted in support of using force to oust Saddam, and that they had the same intelligence that the president had.
"For Democrats to turn around and call them a liar is really contemptible," said FOX News political analyst Rich Lowry, who is also editor of The National Review.
Fred Barnes, co-host of FOX News' "The Beltway Boys," said it's surprising the White House has waited so long to push back against the Democrats' charges.
Bush's speech comes as polls show the president's approval ratings hitting a new low.
The latest FOX News poll found that 36 percent of Americans approve and 53 percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing as president. That's a slide from two weeks ago, when 41 percent said they approved and 51 percent disapproved, and from the beginning of his second term (Jan. 25-26), when 50 percent approved and 40 percent disapproved.
Until this week, Bush's approval rating had been at 40 percent or above — buoyed in large part by consistent, strong support among Republicans. However, in mid-October, approval among Republicans fell below 80 percent for the first time of his presidency and now sits at 72 percent.
"We've seen this downward trend in the president's numbers over a period of time and that's what's significant and that's what's alarming to the White House," said Washington Post reporter and FOX News contributor, Ceci Connelly.
The speech will take place at the Tobyhanna Army Depot, the largest, full-service electronics maintenance facility run by the Defense Department. It designs, manufactures, and repairs hundreds of electronic systems like satellite terminals, radio and radar systems, phones, night vision, and guidance and control systems for tactical missiles. It opened in 1953. The depot also works to keep "Firefinder" systems operational in Iraq. Firefinder systems automatically locate the firing position of hostile mortars, rockets and artillery.
The White House estimated that there will be about 2,500 people in attendance, including depot personnel, military families, veterans and community leaders.


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