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Bush: U.S. Will Spend Whatever is Necessary to Win War Against Terrorism

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By Deb Riechmann
The Associated Press

President Bush said Sunday night he will ask Congress for $87 billion to fight terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, appealing for troops and money from other countries, even those who opposed the U.S.-led war.

Bush, in a speech from the Cabinet Room, said the United States would not intimidated into retreat by violence.

"The terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans we will run from a challenge," Bush said. "In this they are mistaken."

Bush spoke just four days before the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Seeking support for his policy, he said, "The surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans.

"We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today, so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities."

Bush addressed the nation from the Cabinet Room in his first major speech on Iraq since May 1 when he stood on the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and declared an end to major combat operations. Since then, more Americans have died in Iraq than were killed during the war. The overall death count is 287 -- 149 since May 1.

The violence -- including four major bombing attacks in a month -- have raised alarms about Bush's handling of Iraq. Republicans and Democrats alike have urged Bush to change course and seek more troops and money from other countries.

Questions also have been fueled by the administration's failure to find any of Saddam Hussein's alleged illegal weapons or Saddam himself.

Bush said Iraq and the Middle East are critical to winning the global war on terror. Bush's plan for Mideast plan appeared to be unraveling after Saturday's resignation of Mahmoud Abbas, the U.S.-backed Palestinian prime minister.

Bush described Iraq as the central front in the war against terror and said that "enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there, and there they must be defeated.

"This will take time and require sacrifice," he said. "Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure."

Bush said the current number of U.S. troops in Iraq -- 130,000 -- is sufficient but that more foreign troops are needed. He said two multinational divisions, led by Britain and Poland, are serving alongside the United States, and that American commanders have requested a third multinational division.

Some countries have asked for an explicit U.N. peacekeeping authorization, and Bush said Secretary of State Colin Powell would seek a Security Council resolution to authorize deployment of new forces.

Referring to France, Germany and Russia, Bush said that "not all of our friends agreed with our decision (to) ... remove Saddam Hussein from power. Yet we cannot let past differences interfere with present duties."

2003 The Washington Post Company





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