WASHINGTON, Oct 6: US President George W. Bush said on Thursday that he was working with President Pervez Musharraf to defeat terrorism in Pakistan. In an unusually hard-hitting speech at Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy, Mr Bush charged Muslim militants with using Iraq as a base to impose their ideology on other countries in the Islamic world.
In Afghanistan, he said, the US forces were fighting beside their Afghan partners against remnants of the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies.
“For this reason, we’re working with President Musharraf to oppose and isolate the militants in Pakistan. And for this reason, we’re fighting the regime remnants and terrorists in Iraq.”
Vowing to prevent terrorists and “outlaw regimes” from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, Mr Bush counted Pakistan among the nations that were helping the US curb the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
“The United States, working with Great Britain, Pakistan, and other nations, has exposed and disrupted a major black-market operation in nuclear technology led by A.Q. Khan,” he said.
Describing Muslim militants as a threat as dangerous as communism was in the 20th century, Mr Bush said: “The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia,” Mr Bush said.
“The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in the war against humanity. And we must recognise Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.”
The US president claimed there were “elements in the Arab media” who were helping these terrorists by “inciting hatred and anti-Semitism.”
His speech is viewed in Washington as part of a strategy to shore up declining public support for a war which many Americans now see as unnecessary. Analysts say that the Oct 15 constitutional referendum in Iraq will also be a crucial test for Mr Bush’s Iraq policies. An Iraqi endorsement of the constitution will be viewed in the US also as an endorsement of Mr Bush’s policies.
“We are facing a radical ideology with immeasurable objectives to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world,” Mr Bush said.
He said the terrorists were aided by corrupt charities that direct money to terrorist activities and nations, such as Syria and Iran, calling them “allies of convenience” that back terrorists.
“Our commitment is clear – we will not relent until the organised international terror networks are exposed and broken and their leaders held to account for their acts of murder,” Mr Bush said.
Responding to the suggestion that he should withdraw US troops from Iraq, Mr Bush said: “There’s always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder.”
But he vowed not to retreat from Iraq or from the broader war on terrorism. “We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory.”
Dear visitor, the comments section is undergoing an overhaul and will return soon.