Monday, September 11, 2006




In a prime time televised speech last night, President Bush turned up the rhetoric to 11 and cut loose with a plethora of War On Terror cliches, bold claims, frank admissions of mistakes made, but little knew information on how exactly the War On Terror will be won, and at what point the world will know the War On Terror is over.


The important information, if you hadn't already heard, is that the War On Terror is going to take a long, long, long, long time.

Maybe generations.

At least, the War On Terror will go on until the defense budgets run dry. And with the latest US Defence budget clocking in at almost half a trillion dollars - that's a mind-bending $US500 billion - that end to the War On Terror may come sooner than most people think.

Oh, by the way, Bush also admitted in his speech that, ""I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks..."

That should come as a shocking disclosure for hundreds of thousands of young Americans who went to fight in Iraq believing that Saddam himself ordered the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.

It will be a shock because they were told the "Saddam Did 9/11" lie by the vice-president, led to believe the myth was true in a roundabout way by Bush himself, and had it rammed into their heads by drill instructors and military propaganda before and during their time in Iraq.

Bush also took a moment in his speech to tell Osama Bin Laden he wasn't off the hook, yet. Even if the CIA had shut down the unit dedicated to tracking Bin Laden down, which they did late last year.
"Osama bin Laden and other terrorists are still in hiding. Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you, and we will bring you to justice."
From the Sydney Morning Herald :

Five years after the worst terror attack in US history, President George W. Bush said the war against terrorism is "the calling of our generation'' and urged Americans to put aside differences and fight to victory.

"America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over,'' Bush said. "The war is not over - and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.''

Bush, in a televised evening address from his Oval Office in the White House, staunchly defended the war in Iraq, even though he acknowledged that deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3000 people.

He said Saddam's regime, while lacking weapons of mass destruction, was a clear threat that posed "a risk the world could not afford to take.''

At least 2,600 US servicemen and women have died in Iraq.

"Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone,'' President Bush said. "They will not leave us alone. They will follow us.''

The address came at the end of a day in which Bush honoured the memory of the attacks that rocked his presidency and thrust the United States into a costly and unfinished war against terror.

It was a day of mourning, remembrance and resolve.

Before his address, Bush visited New York, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Defence Department's Pentagon headquarters to place wreaths and console relatives of the victims.

"Five years ago, this date - September 11 - was seared into America's memory,'' he said. "Nineteen men attacked us with a barbarity unequaled in our history.''

Bush said that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attack, and other terrorists still are in hiding.

"Our message to them is clear: No matter how long it takes, America will find you and we will bring you to justice.''

Bush said the war on terror was nothing less than "a struggle for civilisation'' and must be fought to the end.

He said defeat would surrender the Middle East to radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.

"We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations,'' the president said.

Two months before the November elections, he attempted to spell out in graphic terms the stakes he sees in the unpopular war in Iraq and the broader fight against terror.

He said Islamic radicals are trying to build an empire "where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilised nations''.

"The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict,'' the president said. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century and the calling of our generation.''

Five years ago, the attacks transformed Bush's presidency and awakened the world to bin Laden and his band of al-Qaeda terrorists.

While the public has soured on the war in Iraq, which Bush calls the central front in his campaign against terror, the president still gets high marks for his handling of September 11, 2001.

Terrorism has been a potent political issue for Republicans, and they hope to capitalise on it in November's elections to determine the future of Congress.

GOP lawmakers are anxious about holding control of both chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Congress has approved $432 billion for Iraq and the anti-terror campaign.

"The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad,'' the president said.

From the Washington Post :

President Bush mixed solemn remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks yesterday with a renewed call to complete the mission in Iraq, paying tribute to the fallen even while warning Americans that failure in the Middle East would leave the United States more vulnerable than ever to Islamic extremists.

"Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq," Bush said last night in a prime-time address from the Oval Office, "the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us. The safety of America depends on the outcome of the battle in the streets of Baghdad."

That ominous language capped an emotional day that took Bush to each of the three locations where terrorists crashed hijacked planes five years ago and killed nearly 3,000 people. It also marked the culmination of a new White House campaign to tie what polls show is a unpopular war in Iraq to a broader campaign against Islamic radicals who, as Bush put it last night, are "determined to bring death and suffering into our homes."

In weaving the two issues together last night, Bush melded one of the most unifying events in recent national experience -- the common horror and sadness of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- with one of the most polarizing, the war in Iraq. "I am often asked why we are in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks," Bush said.

"The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat," the president said, tapping his desk for emphasis. "The world is safer because Saddam Hussein is no longer in power."

Bush's 16-minute address closed a day of mournful ceremonies for him and the nation. After a memorial service near Ground Zero in New York City, Bush flew to Shanksville, Pa., where he and first lady Laura Bush met family members of the victims and placed a wreath on the makeshift memorial near the spot where the hijacked United Flight 93 aircraft slammed into a field.

They traveled next to the Pentagon, where they placed a large, white floral wreath on the new stone facade on the section of building that was destroyed by the attack. The Bushes silently faced the wall while a military band played "America the Beautiful."

The president's painstakingly choreographed day was intended by the White House to recapture -- at least for a moment -- the sense of shared purpose that prevailed in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

But Bush faced a tall order. Although he urged Americans last night to "put aside our differences," Democrats have been attacking the administration over Iraq and Bush's national security record, hoping these issues will help them reclaim one or both chambers of Congress in November. Polls suggest the public does not accept Bush's contention that the war in Iraq is a "central front" in the campaign against terrorists.

Last night, Democrats said Bush politicized the Sept. 11 anniversary. "The president should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to commandeer the airwaves to give a speech that was designed not to unite the country and commemorate the fallen, but to seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had 'nothing' to do with 9/11," said Sen Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

Bush has sought to shift public opinion in the past two weeks with speeches aimed at explaining the nature and goals of radical Islamists and putting the war in Iraq in a broader -- and, he hopes, more popular -- context.

His speech last night featured many of the themes highlighted in those speeches: the idea that the United States is facing a network of extremists driven by a "perverted vision of Islam," the notion that the Middle East enjoyed a long period of false stability in the years leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, and the proposition that the government has made serious strides in protecting the United States from terrorist attack.

"Today we are safer," Bush told the nation, "but we are not yet safe."

Bush also paid tribute to the firefighters and others who lost their lives to the attacks. Even while the nation saw the "face of evil," he said, "we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion and responding with extraordinary acts of courage."

Bush continued: "We saw courage in office workers who were trapped on the high floors of burning skyscrapers -- and called home so that their last words to their families would be of comfort and love. We saw courage in passengers aboard Flight 93, who recited the 23rd Psalm -- and then charged the cockpit. And we saw courage in the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke -- and ran back in to answer cries for help."

Sitting at his desk in the Oval Office, Bush said the nation "is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War." He described the battle against radical Islamists "a struggle for civilization."

Before his speech, the president made no remarks at public appearances yesterday. He met privately with police and firefighters to reassure them that he remains committed to fighting terrorism, and with people who lost loved ones in the attacks.

After attending a memorial service and placing twin wreaths at the World Trade Center site Sunday evening, the president started yesterday having breakfast with first responders at a firehouse not far from Ground Zero. Afterward, he and his wife stood silently next to a battered firetruck door rescued from the wreckage of the World Trade Center site, as police officers and firefighters listened to Scripture and song to honor the dead.

The group paused at 8:46 a.m. and at 9:03 a.m. for moments of silence marking the times that two hijacked planes plowed into the twin towers.

In Shanksville, Bush heard from the Rev. Paul M. Britton, a Long Island minister whose sister, Marion Britton, was aboard United Flight 93. "There is no more sacred ground on this your Earth than this very place," Britton said. "We come here with heavy hearts, yet with joyful spirits. We come here to honor them, to respect them.''

America Mourns 9/11 - The Impact Of The War On Terror Now Felt Across The Planet

More Americans Now "Blame Bush" For 9/11 Attacks - An Astounding 4 Out Of 10 People Think The President Was Somehow Responsible

Bush Claims The War On Terror Outcomes Will Set The Course For The Rest Of The Century

The President Bush 9/11 5th Anniversary Address To The Nation Full Transcript