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Bush: Successful Programs Prevented Further Attacks

Nearly five years after America "awoke to a
nightmare attack" on Sept. 11, 2001, the nation is thankful that
terrorists haven't succeeded in launching another attack on U.S. soil, but
recognizes that it's not for the terrorists' lack of trying, President
Bush said at the White House today.

"Nineteen men, armed with box cutters, took control of airplanes and
turned them into missiles," Bush said of the Sept. 11 attacks. "They used
them to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people. We watched the Twin Towers
collapse before our eyes -- and it became instantly clear that we'd
entered a new world and a dangerous new war."


After seeing the destruction in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania,
Americans wondered if a second wave of attacks was still to come, he
said.

Five years later, Bush said, the enemy's failure to launch that second
wave hasn't been for lack of desire or determination. "As the recently
foiled plot in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and
they're still trying to strike America, and they're still trying to kill our
people," he said.

One reason the terrorists haven't succeeded in launching another Sept.
11 is "the hard work of thousands of dedicated men and women in our
government, who have toiled day and night, along with our allies, to stop
the enemy from carrying out their plans," the president said. "And we
are grateful for these hardworking citizens of ours."

The Sept. 11 attacks posed new challenges to the United States and its
government, he said.

"With the Twin Towers and the Pentagon still smoldering, our country on
edge, and a stream of intelligence coming in about potential new
attacks, my administration faced immediate challenges: We had to respond to
the attack on our country. We had to wage an unprecedented war against
an enemy unlike any we had fought before. We had to find the terrorists
hiding in America and across the world, before they were able to strike
our country again," he said. "So in the early days and weeks after
9/11, I directed our government's senior national security officials to do
everything in their power, within our laws, to prevent another attack."


Bush cited the success of new government policies in helping protect
the nation.

"Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because
our government has changed its policies -- and given our military,
intelligence, and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight
this enemy and protect our people and preserve our freedoms," he said.


In countering the threat posed by terrorists -- enemies who "represent
no nation ... defend no territory and ... wear no uniform" as they
quietly conspire before striking without warning, the best source of
information about that has proven to be the terrorists themselves, Bush said.

"Captured terrorists have unique knowledge about how terrorist networks
operate. They have knowledge of where their operatives are deployed and
knowledge about what plots are under way," he said.


Bush said the intelligence captured terrorists provide can't be found
anywhere else and has become so critical to U.S. security that the
United States must ensure they have the means at their disposal to get
information from these detainees.

"To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and,
when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on
the battlefields around the world," he said.

U.S. military forces have worked with allies and launched operations
across the globe, including Afghanistan and Iraq, to remove terrorist
safe havens, and to capture or kill terror leaders and operatives, Bush
said.

The captured terrorists are enemy combatants who've waged war on the
United States, the president said. And, the United States has the right
under the laws of war, he said, "to detain these enemies and stop them
from rejoining the battle."


The detainees are dangerous men, Bush said, with unique knowledge about
terrorist networks and their plans of potential new attacks.

"The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our
ability to learn what these terrorists know," Bush pointed out.


However, the United States draws the line against abusing detainees,
the president stated.

"I want to be absolutely clear with our people and the world. The
United States does not torture," Bush said. "It's against our laws, and it's
against our values.

"I have not authorized it, and I will not authorize it," he said.

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