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Bush: 'Enemy is Relentless, But So Are We' - 2002-03-19

President Bush said the latest U.S.-led offensive in Afghanistan was a success, but much more fighting lies ahead. Mr. Bush said the enemy is relentless, but so is the United States.

Mr. Bush said the war in Afghanistan is far from over. "I think we have got a lot more fighting to do in Afghanistan," he said. "First of all, we were successful in Operation Anaconda. I want to thank our troops, our brave troops, for fighting in incredibly tough terrain."

Mr. Bush was asked about the war on terrorism during a visit to a small manufacturing plant in the state of Missouri. He offered the troops both thanks and praise, saying they were fighting in difficult circumstances against an enemy that refused to surrender.

The president said at the height of the fight, al-Qaeda fighters were trying to reinforce their positions. He said they wanted to move more men into the battle zone because they wanted to continue to hurt Americans. "These are killers," he said. "They hate America, they hate America's freedom, they hate what America stands for. And they are relentless. But so are we."

Later, during a speech to a group of small business owners and employees, President Bush again appealed to Congress to approve his proposed defense budget. Mr. Bush said it is a significant increase in military spending, and he expects the legislature to pass it. He said, "Now is not the time to play politics with the military budget. They need to get it to my desk early.

The Defense budget is usually the last spending bill to reach the president's desk for his signature. Mr. Bush said this year, it should be the first. He said history has placed a great responsibility before America, and the United States will not walk away from a chance to defend freedom.