Bush says London attacks targeted civilized world
By Patricia Wilson
QUANTICO, Va. (Reuters) – President Bush on Monday called
bombings in London an attack against the civilized world and
vowed “we will not yield.”
“The terrorists know they can’t defeat us on the
battlefield. The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose
our nerve. This is not going to happen on my watch,” Bush said
to applause at an FBI facility south of Washington.
Bush, who was with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a
Group of Eight summit in Scotland when the attacks occurred in
London last Thursday, said it was unclear who was responsible
for the bombings but noted that “we have damaged the al Qaeda
network across the world.”
“The attack in London was an attack on the civilized world,
and the civilized world is united in its resolve: We will not
yield, we will defend our freedom,” Bush said.
Bush expressed U.S. solidarity with the British people.
“This week there’s great suffering in the city of London.
but Londoners are resilient. They have faced brutal enemies
before. The city that survived the Nazi blitz will not yield in
the face of thugs and assassins,” he said.
Bush receives strong job-approval ratings for his
leadership on the war on terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks, but is viewed with great skepticism about his
handling of the Iraq war, which he views as the central front
in the terrorism war.
He said that in the long run the only way to defeat Islamic
militants is to “advance the cause of freedom” in the Middle
East, comparing it to when Germany and Japan became allies in
the years after World War II.
“And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity
and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors. They’ll lose
their recruits. They will lose their hopes for turning that
region into a base of attacks against America and our allies,”
As for Iraq, Bush cited progress in training Iraqis to
defend themselves, which he said is a requirement for U.S.
troops to be able to come home.
Neither he nor White House spokesman Scott McClellan gave
credence to reports about a secret memo in which the United
States and Britain were said to be drawing up plans to withdraw
the majority of their troops by the middle of next year.
“Our plan can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand
up, we will stand down,” Bush said. (Additional reporting by
Steve Holland and Adam Entous)