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Bush Wants Senate Approval of Military Spending Increase - 2002-07-20

President Bush wants Senate Democrats to boost military spending for the fight against terrorism before legislators leave for their August recess. Mr. Bush told U.S. troops Friday that he will never allow them to be judged by the new International Criminal Court.

With more than 60,000 troops deployed around the world in the fight against terror, Mr. Bush told soldiers at a military base in New York that politicians must never cut corners when it comes to national security.

He said it is time Democratic leaders in the Senate approve his request for the largest increase in military spending in twenty years a measure that has already passed the Republican-controlled House.

"The House of Representatives responded. The Senate is still delaying. The Senate must act so that we can plan the war," President Bush said. "The Senate must act and they must act this month on defense appropriations."

During his visit to Ft. Drum, the president thanked members of the 10th Mountain Division who were among the first units deployed after the terrorist attacks of September 11. In October, they were sent to protect U.S. operations in Kuwait and Uzbekistan before serving on the front lines in Afghanistan.

The president restated his opposition to the new International Criminal Court, saying U.S. troops will continue to cooperate with many nations to keep the peace but will never be subject to prosecutors and judges whose jurisdiction, he says, "we do not accept."

"Our nation expects and enforces the highest standards of honor and conduct in our military. That is how you were trained. That is what we expect. Every person who serves under the American flag will answer to his or her own superiors and to military law, not to the rulings of an unaccountable International Criminal Court," President Bush said.

Mr. Bush repeated his warning to those who might help terrorists acquire weapons of mass destruction, a charge he has previously leveled against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Without mentioning names Friday, the president said America will act against these threats before they are fully formed, using diplomacy where possible and force when necessary to eliminate the risk of chemical, biological, or nuclear attack.

"We are threatened by regimes that have sought these ultimate weapons and hide their weapons programs from the eyes of the world. The same regimes have shown their true nature by torturing and butchering their own people. These tyrants and terrorists have one thing in common whatever their plans and schemes, they will not be restrained by a hint of humanity or conscience."

The president says U.S. troops will prepare deliberately and act decisively. As Commander in Chief during what he calls "a decisive moment in the history of freedom", he told the men and women of the 10th Mountain Division to be proud, to be strong, and to be ready.