President Bush says the fight against terrorism abroad is making Americans safer at home.
President Bush says terrorists are trying to chase U.S. troops out of Iraq and the broader Middle East in hopes of spreading what he calls a murderous ideology of radical Islam. "Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. They are fanatical and extreme, but they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed," he said.
The president again compared terrorists to tyrants of the past including Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin - evil men who he says consumed whole nations in war and genocide.
He compared the fight against terrorism to the struggle against Communism, saying al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a wealthy elitist who tells poor Muslims that becoming suicide bombers is the road to paradise without ever offering to go along for the ride.
The president dismissed suggestions that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq has helped trigger the terrorist insurgency there, saying there were no American troops in Iraq when New York and Washington were attacked on September 11, 2001. "No act of ours invited the rage of killers, and no consequence, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans of murder."
The president says terrorists are sheltered by what he calls allies of convenience in Syria and Iran. Extremists want to end U.S. influence in the region because he says the United States stands in the way of their ambitions by standing for democracy and peace. "Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response. We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory," he said.
The U.S. death toll in Iraq this past week climbed above 2,000. President Bush says there will be no timeline for the withdrawal of those troops because that would embolden the enemy and show American weakness.