Fighting Terror Must Be International Effort, Bush Says

 By Gerry J. Gilmore
 American Forces Press Service

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2006  - After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, some people doubted that the world's nations would unite to prosecute a forward-leaning global war against terrorism, but, in fact, that's just what has occurred, President Bush said here today.

"Some said that an aggressive strategy of bringing the war to the terrorists would cost us international support; it would drive nations from our coalition," Bush told an audience during a speech at the National Guard Association of the United States.

"The opposite's happened. Today, more governments are cooperating in the fight against terror than ever before," Bush said. "And in one of the most significant developments of this war, many nations that once turned a blind eye to terror are now helping lead the fight against it."

Bush pointed to ongoing anti-terror efforts in Pakistan led by President Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan once supported the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bush said.

"Today, Pakistan forces are risking their lives in the hunt for al Qaeda," Bush said, noting that Musharraf has survived several attempts on his life since joining the United States and 90-some other coalition-aligned countries in the war against terrorism.

The Saudi Arabian government also has stepped up to combat terrorists, Bush said. Terrorists once operated within Saudi Arabia with relative ease, he said, but that has stopped since the country's capital city of Riyadh was targeted by several deadly terror bombings in May 2003.

"The Saudi government has recognized that it is a prime target of the terrorists," Bush said, "and in the past two-and-a-half years, Saudi forces have killed or captured nearly all the terrorists on their most-wanted list."

The Saudis also have "reduced the flow of money to terror groups and arrested hundreds of radical fighters bound for Iraq," Bush said.

Governments worldwide are stepping up to fight terrorism, Bush said, because they realize their citizens' lives are at stake. Quoting Musharraf, Bush said: "'Terrorism threatens to destabilize all modern societies. It cannot be condoned for any reason or cause.'"

Musharraf is correct, Bush said.

"In the war against terror, there is no separate peace and no nation can stand on the sidelines," he said. "By standing together, the United States and our partners are striking real blows against the enemy."

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States and its coalition partners have captured or killed al Qaeda managers and operatives in more than two dozen countries, Bush said.

"That includes many of al Qaeda's operational commanders," Bush said, including "the senior leaders responsible for day-to-day planning of terrorist activities across the globe."

Mohammed Atef, the military chief of al-Qaeda, was killed in Afghanistan by coalition forces in November 2001, Bush said, adding that Atef's replacement, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was captured in Pakistan in March 2003. And Mohammed's replacement, a terrorist named al-Liby, Bush said, was captured in South Asia in May 2005.

"The terrorists are living under constant pressure, and this adds to our security," Bush said. And when overseas terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places are always looking over their shoulders, Bush said, they cannot effectively plan new attacks against America and its allies.

"By striking the terrorists where they live, we are protecting the American homeland," Bush said.