By Eric Mader
A Disassociated Press Report, Lee's Summit, MO, September 7, 2004
Departing from the usual script of his recent campaign speeches, U.S. President George W. Bush today declared the United States a legitimate target in the war on terror. The president made his remarks before an audience of supporters in Lee's Summit, Missouri.
"It has been demonstrated to my satisfaction that this nation harbors terrorists," Bush said, referring to the United States. "We meet with groups who have direct links to Al Qaeda, and we provide safe haven to known terrorist leaders. This cannot go on."
Bush said the abrupt policy turn came after American intelligence officials verified the truth of recent remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. had recently held talks with Chechen separatist leaders and had even granted asylum to Ilias Akhmadov, so-called "foreign minister" of the Chechen separatist movement.
"We provide safe haven to the evil ones, to the same ones who killed those innocent children in Beslan," Bush said. "And who's to say that we will not some day provide them with weapons of mass destruction?"
"I may have been wrong about Iraq," he continued, "but this time I can assure you: the United States certainly does have weapons of mass destruction. We have more WMD than we could ever hope to use. Who's to say we might not some day sell them to Chechen terrorists?"
Bush declared his intention to push for UN sanctions against the U.S. "until we shall have accounted for all known WMD and given up all WMD programs." If the UN should refuse such sanctions, he promised to assemble a "coalition of the willing" who would be sure to "stand up to this new global menace."
"After four years of me in the White House, it should be easy to build a coalition of the willing to stand against the United States," Bush said, to raucous applause from the crowd of supporters.
The president also said he intended to cut by half the number of troops currently stationed in Iraq so as to bring them back to the U.S.
"They will be here to establish order and bring about a return to democracy after four years of my rogue regime," he said.
Referring to Bush Administration plans to push for development of "usable" low-yield nuclear weapons, the president said: "This is against all the norms and treaties of modern civilized nations. Americans cannot sit by and let this happen. The United States government meets with and harbors terrorists, the United States trained and funded bin Laden, and now the United States is harboring these Chechens. A whole new generation of nuclear weapons in the hands of such a regime is a grave threat to world peace."
The president referred to the fact that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden received U.S. support and training under the Reagan Administration.
"You're either with us or against us," Bush said toward the end of his speech. "Since we are against us, I intend in the speediest possible manner to refocus the war on terror on this new threat. And I promise you this: I'm gonna smoke us out, I'm gonna bring us to justice."
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