U.S. President Bush: 'We're at war'

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Thursday, August 4, 2005

"Make no mistake about it, we are at war. We're at war with an enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. We're at war against an enemy that, since that day, has continued to kill." 2005-08-03

Speaking in Texas, President Bush in a Wednesday address to the American Legislative Exchange Council in the city of Grapevine said, "The violence in recent days in Iraq is a grim reminder of the enemies we face."

"After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people that the United States of America will not wait to be attacked again." Bush said. "We will take the fight to the enemy, and we will defend our freedom."

There has been debate within the Administration as to how to refer to the ongoing conflict. In recent appearances, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has avoided using the word "war", preferring the phrase "global struggle against violent extremism." Bush's speech marks a return to the existing phrase "war on terror". In the speech he acknowledged that the struggle is against those who use terror to achieve their goals, implicitly recognising that the term "war on terror" may be misleading.

"Make no mistake about it, this is a war against people who profess an ideology, and they use terror as a means to achieve their objectives," he said.

Of the military strategy in Iraq, Bush said that coalition forces continue to hunt down terrorists, and the Iraqi security forces are being trained to take on more responsibility. "As Iraqis stand up, Americans and coalition forces will stand down," Bush said. "And we're making progress. More and more Iraqi units are more and more capable of defending themselves."

The return of American forces to U.S. soil will be event-driven decision, he said. A timetable for withdrawal is not practical because it would give the enemy a tactical event upon which to plan.

Politically, Iraq's National Assembly is working on a constitution that members pledged to have ready by August 15. The Iraqi people would then vote on the constitution October 15. If passed, the new Iraqi government under a constitution would be elected December 15.

The United States has lost twenty-one Marines in Iraq since August 1.