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 Home > News & Policies > August 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 20, 2008

Fact Sheet: Protecting America From Terrorism

     Fact sheet President Bush Attends Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention, Discusses Global War on Terror
     Fact sheet In Focus: National Security

Addressing The Veterans Of Foreign Wars, President Bush Highlights Policies To Fight The War On Terror, Defend America, Expand Freedom, And Care For Our Military And Veterans

Today, President Bush spoke at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Orlando, Florida.  He thanked them for working closely and effectively with his Administration on behalf of America's veterans, and shared our Nation's many accomplishments so far in waging the War on Terror.  The United States became a Nation at war on September 11, 2001.  In this war, we are using all assets of national power to keep the pressure on the enemy and the American people safe from harm.  The War on Terror will be won on the offense – and that is where America's fight against terrorism must remain.

We Are Taking The Fight To The Enemy In This War

In Afghanistan, we removed a dangerous regime that harbored the terrorists who plotted the attacks of 9/11.  Because we acted, the Afghan people have been liberated, and a nation that was once a training ground for terrorists has become an ally in the war on terror.  We built a strong coalition of nations, including every member of the NATO Alliance, to help the Afghan people defend their young democracy.  We will ensure Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists seeking to launch attacks on America or our allies. 

In Iraq, an international coalition removed a brutal dictator who murdered his own people, paid the families of suicide bombers, invaded his neighbors, and repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions.  In 2006, the situation in Iraq was deteriorating, so the President ordered a surge of forces into Iraq.  Since the surge began violence in Iraq has dropped, civilian deaths and sectarian killings are down, and political and economic progress is taking place.  Iraq is a rising democracy, and an ally in the cause of peace.  Our troops have begun to come home under our policy of return on success.

We Have Modernized The Military To Reflect The Needs Of The Global War On Terror

To ensure we have the capabilities to prevail in Iraq, Afghanistan, and wherever the terrorists make their stand, we have transformed the U.S. military.  We have doubled funding for Special Operations Command, increased the number of unmanned aerial vehicles, and started moving American forces from Cold War garrisons in Europe and Asia so they can deploy rapidly to anywhere in the world.  We are increasing the size of our ground forces, and making our troops more lethal and more agile so they can remain on the offense.  Over the past seven years, America and our allies have captured or killed hundreds of al Qaida leaders and operatives in more than 24 countries.  We will continue to fight the terrorists overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.

We Are Defending The Homeland

Nearly seven years have passed without another attack on American soil.  That is not for lack of trying on the part of the terrorists.  Our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have worked with our allies to stop major al Qaida attacks – including a plot to blow up transatlantic flights from London and a plan to strike the tallest skyscraper in Los Angeles. 

Since 9/11, we have given America's defenders the tools they will need to defend us in this new era. This Administration has used all of these tools to stop new attacks and dismantle terrorist networks.  Because the War on Terror will go on, these tools will make it possible for future Administrations to protect the American people for years to come.  The Administration has:

  • formed a new Department of Homeland Security.
  • overhauled our Nation's intelligence community and created a Director of National Intelligence.
  • shifted the FBI's focus from investigating terrorist attacks to preventing them.
  • created a new National Counterterrorism Center. 
  • created Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
  • enacted the Patriot Act and tore down the "wall" that once prevented law enforcement and intelligence officers from sharing vital information. 
  • worked with Congress to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, which allows our intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications. 

We Are Countering The Terrorists' Hateful Ideology With A More Hopeful Vision Of Freedom

America and our allies support emerging democracies in the Middle East.  Over the past seven years, we have seen citizens in Afghanistan and Iraq establish representative governments after decades of tyranny.  We are standing with brave democratic reformers and dissidents from Damascus to Tehran.  We have seen people in Lebanon take to the streets and demand independence, and citizens of former Soviet republics stand up for their right to free and fair elections. 

Today, the President also expressed the urgent need for the world to stand for freedom in Georgia.  Since the Rose Revolution of 2003, the people of Georgia have held free elections and established democratic institutions.  Georgia has also sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to help others realize the blessings of liberty.  Yesterday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with members of the NATO Alliance, who agreed that Russia must honor its commitment to withdraw troops from Georgia and to return to the status quo before hostilities began on August 6.  The alliance is also considering seriously the implications of Russia's actions for the NATO-Russia relationship, and agreed to help Georgia by sending NATO teams to assess the country's needs, and by forming a new NATO-Georgia Commission. 

We Have Provided Unprecedented Support For Those Who Defend Our Freedoms

President Bush recognizes that America owes veterans a debt that can never be repaid.  The Administration has worked closely and effectively with the VFW on behalf of America's veterans.  His budget includes nearly $94 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs – nearly double its funding at the time he took office.  The President and his Administration have also:

  • committed more than $5.5 billion to modernize and expand VA facilities.
  • expanded grants to help homeless veterans.
  • signed concurrent receipt legislation so combat-injured and severely disabled veterans receive both their military retired pay and their VA disability compensation.
  • invested hundreds of millions of dollars to develop new treatments for conditions like traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • implemented recommendations from the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors, led by Senator Bob Dole and Secretary Donna Shalala, to help veterans build lives of hope, promise, and dignity.
  • expanded education benefits for service members and veterans with legislation that also makes it easier for service members to transfer those benefits to their spouses or children, as the President called for in his 2008 State of the Union Address.

To view video from the event, click here.

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