Thursday, February 15, 2007

War on Terror - Bush asks for support

War on Terror is not over - "Our strategy is not to be on
the defence, but to be on the offence"

A resolution to end the stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear policy neared completion on Tuesday [BBC]. There were periodic interjections throughout the day on Sky News as developments took place. During the 6 Party Talks, Japan announced they would not supply the DPRK with oil. Sky’s Tim Marshall put this into context by describing the ‘racism’ that still exists between Japan and the Korean peninsula which was at one time occupied by Japan. Japan has a particular issue with North Korea in that many Japanese citizens have been kidnapped over the years from nearby islands.

As a possible resolve to North Korea’s nuclear issue was placed on the table there was a mixed response from many notable figures. Condoleezza Rice said it offered a new way forward [BBC], but ex-UN Ambassador John Bolton rejected the proposal saying, “It sends the wrong message to would be nuclear proliferators” [BBC]. The media were somewhat positive in the main [BBC] but there are still issues to resolve [BBC].

Outside of the 6 party talks over the DPRK’s nuclear policy, George W. Bush reiterated his determination the stop Iran developing nuclear weapons. In a speech made on Valentine’s Day, there was no sign of love lost on a country he once used to describe as an Axis of Evil [CNN].

In his 30 minute address he re-emphasised his commitment to see the job done in Iraq. "If we fail there, the enemy will follow us here,” he said [BBC / Whitehouse-Bush Speech 14/02/2007 /].

Also in the news Wednesday was the clearing of British soldiers who it had been alleged were culpable for the deaths of Iraqi prisoners [BBC]. It has also emerged that a number of EU states were in collusion with the US in turning a blind eye to rendition flights [BBC].

Today, in another address, George W Bush repeated his determination to complete the mission in Iraq. Naming other coalition countries helping in fighting the War on Terror, he said, “We are not in the fight against extremists and terrorists alone.” But it was important not to lose focus, “The enemy is active and it is up to us to keep up the pressure.”

“This war against the terrorists takes place on many fronts…and the frontline is Iraq.” With regards his plan to send troop reinforcements to the capital he added, “Baghdad is the top security priority…I chose this course of action because it offers the best chance for success.” He said it was important for “people to understand the consequence of failure…extremists would be emboldened. If we fail in Iraq, the enemy would follow us home.”

And he asked once again for support, not only for his planned initiative but also for the troops in the field. “Our troops are risking their lives as they carry out this operation, and they need our patience and they need our support,” he said. As regards Afghanistan he said, “it wasn’t all that long ago that we saw how terrorists operate… and we saw in Afghanistan how terrorists in a safe haven were able to plot a deadly attack that killed 3000 of our citizens…we have learned that terrorists must not be allowed to make a safe haven to operate anywhere.” He claimed that five years after the US launched Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan was now free with a democratically elected government led by president Karzai. “Our work is bringing freedom,” he said, but added that the work was not yet finished. He acknowledged violence had increased on many fronts. “In 2006 this enemy struck back with vengeance … they struck back in Iraq, they struck back in the Lebanon…across Afghanistan roadside bombs doubled,” he said. But his resolve remained strong. “How do you react? Do we forget the lessons of September 11th, the answer is not. Our strategy is not to be on the defence, but to be on the offence” [CNN].

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