Bush: Weak terror response led to 9/11
Sep 22, 2005, 19:00 GMT
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WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- President Bush said withdrawing from Iraq would be a mistake that would embolden terrorists just as U.S. responses to other attacks led to 9/11 hijackings.
Speaking Thursday at the Pentagon after an update on the war on terror, Bush said a pullback would be seen as weakness and make the United States less safe.
'The terrorists saw our response to the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings in the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole,' Bush said. 'The terrorists concluded that we lacked the courage and character to defend ourselves and so they attacked us.'
It was the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, carried out by al-Qaida operatives, that led Bush to launch the war on terror with an attack on Afghanistan, where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had been given sanctuary. Bush links the fighting in Iraq with the war on terror.
The president said the plan is to follow a strategy of making political gains in the affected counties, while training local personnel to assume security operations.