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Bush Cites Achievements in Afghanistan, Pakistan as House Considers Interrogation Bill


President Bush has told an audience in Washington that the fight against terrorism is the call of this generation, as he continues to fight for legislation supporting his efforts.

In a speech to a group of civilian reserve officers in Washington Friday, Mr. Bush focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan - two days after meeting with both countries' presidents at the White House.

He said Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf understand what Mr. Bush called the "ideological struggle of the 21st century." He also noted that both men have been the target of assassination attempts by extremists.

This speech is the latest in a series covering the war on terror. And it comes as the House of Representatives is considering a bill the president supports that establishes rules for the questioning and prosecution of terror suspects.

The speeches have been tied to the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, and to November's midterm elections. Democrats accuse the president of focusing on the anti-terror campaign to deflect attention from the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.

The Republican controlled House could approve the bill Mr. Bush is advocating as early as Friday. It was passed by the Senate Thursday. The president is expected to sign it into law.

The bill reflects a compromise reached between the White House and several top Senate Republicans to ensure that interrogation techniques will comply with the Geneva Conventions on treatment of detainees. It also establishes military commissions to try suspects. And it denies terror suspects access to courts to challenge their imprisonment.

Human rights groups have criticized the bill for failing to grant prisoners this basic right.

President Bush says the measure sends "a strong signal to the terrorists" that the United States will use every means possible to pursue its enemies.

Leaders of the president's Republican Party praised the bill, while many opposition Democrats say it allows unfair trials and abusive interrogations.

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