Sunday, October 31, 2004

Bush is best choice to fight terrorists

Your voice: Mark Steffen

Your answer to the question "Who can best lead our nation in the war on terror?" likely depends on whether or not you believe we're winning. The evidence, much of which we rarely hear about, indicates that we are.

The Taliban are defeated and the base of operation they provided al-Qaida gone. Saddam Hussein is in jail, and Libya has turned over its stores of weapons of mass destruction. The leader of Pakistan's nuclear program is no longer passing nuclear secrets to rogue nations. More than $136 million in terrorist funds have been seized and more than 315 individuals and organizations shut down. More than 3,000 al-Qaida operatives - including leaders such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Mohsen al-Fadhli, Abu Zubaydah and Mohammed Atef - have been killed or captured in 102 countries.

In our country we've arrested hundreds of suspects, including the leaders of a mosque in Albany, N.Y.. with ties to Ansar al-Islam. We uncovered a terrorist camp in Bly, Ore., and broke up the "Virginia Jihad Network."

President Bush has kept his pledge to take the war to the terrorists. Besides the Middle East, we have troops in Central Asia and East Africa, and intelligence operatives in Southeast Asia, Australia and South America. Our allies include France, Russia, Poland, Italy, Israel, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and dozens of other nations. We've worked with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Pakistan and India to destroy terrorist camps. We've foiled attempts to bomb our embassy in Malaysia, as well as our embassy and naval base in Singapore.

Strategic alliances with African nations Chad, Algeria and Mali, and even former terrorist sponsors such as Yemen, Syria, Sudan and Libya, have led to the death or capture of hundreds of al-Qaida operatives.

Has Bush done the job? U.S. military personnel and their families, in a survey released Oct. 15, expressed overwhelming support for the president. By nearly a 3 to 1 ratio, they prefer Bush as their commander-in-chief. Conversely, Yasser Arafat stated his preference last week that Bush not be re-elected, and Russian President Vladamir Putin voiced his opinion that terrorist bombers in Iraq hope to influence the election against the president.

The evidence indicates we are winning the war on terror, our soldiers support Bush, and our enemies prefer that we make a change. What's your vote?

Mark Steffen of Edgewood works in the pharmaceutical industry and serves on Edgewood City Council.

Want your voice here? Send your column or proposed topic, 400 words or fewer, along with a photo of yourself, to assistant editorial editor Ray Cooklis at E-mail: rcooklis@enquirer.com; (513) 768-8525.

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