By Gerry J. Gilmore
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2006 – After a week of activities commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States, President Bush said yesterday he's looking forward to meeting with world leaders this week to strengthen international cooperation in fighting terrorism. Bush, speaking in his weekly radio address to the nation, also urged Congress to pass legislation he said will strengthen the nation's ability to fight terrorism.
The president is slated to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week and said he looks forward "to talking to the world leaders gathered there about our obligation to defend civilization, and how we must work together to support the forces of freedom and moderation throughout the Middle East."
But he emphasized that in addition to galvanizing international cooperation, it's also critical to ensure roadblocks at home don't stand in the way of fighting terror. "As we work with the international community to defeat the terrorists and extremists, we must also provide our military and intelligence professionals the tools they need to keep our country safe," he said.
The president wants Congress to approve legislation that would set rules for the detention of captured terrorists, authorize military-style trials for detainees and continue domestic terrorist-surveillance programs.
One bill under consideration "would allow us to use military commissions to try suspected terrorists for war crimes," Bush said. This legislation is required, he said, because the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress must authorize military commissions.
The bill would also establish clear rules and guidelines for U.S. personnel who detain and question captured terrorists.
The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay currently holds "the men our intelligence agencies believe helped orchestrate the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans" on Sept. 11, Bush said. The legislation is needed so they can be tried for their crimes, he said.
Bush called passage of this and other legislation before Congress "essential to winning the war on terror" and protecting the United States and its people.