War on terror like WW2: Bush

In an address before 981 new Air Force graduates, President Bush described the Middle East as the centre of a global ideological clash similar to the great 20th century struggles between democracy and the twin totalitarian challenges of fascism and communism.

A parallel was also drawn between the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbour and the suicide hijackings of September 11, 2001.

“Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States… We will not forget that treachery and we will accept nothing less that victory over the enemy,” President Bush said.

According to President Bush, Iraq and the Middle East are the setting for a new battle between freedom and the aggressive ideologies held by Islamic militants such as Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network.

“If that region grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorist movement will lose its sponsors, lose its recruits and lose the festering grievances that keep terrorists in business,” he said.

The 47-minute speech was in keeping with previous commencement addresses outlining major US military and security objectives.

In a similar address at the Army War College in Pennsylvania a week ago, President Bush presented Washington’s strategy for Iraq and pledged to destroy Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Further speeches are planned this month as presidential campaigning intensifies, and the President attempts to shore up popular support for America’s role in Iraq.

President Bush is also working hard to build international backing for the impending transfer of power to an interim government in Iraq in less than a month’s time.

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