Bush Defends His Policy of Pre-Emptive Strike; Says Waiting for Attacks Aids Enemies
Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
President Bush Tuesday said Pakistan has been told that U.S. troops will take whatever steps they deem necessary to defend themselves, as he defended his doctrine of pre-emptive strikes as part of the war on terror.
We have made it clear to Pakistan - and to all our partners - that we will do what is necessary to protect American troops and the American people, said Mr. Bush, wading into touchy relations between the United States and Pakistan.
The Middle Eastern nation has protested U.S. missile strikes against al Qaeda militants on Pakistani soil, with its Foreign Ministry arguing that the attacks violate Pakistan's sovereignty.
Mr. Bush spoke at the U.S. Military Academy, saying the search for al Qaeda's top leaders continues. The day will come when they receive the justice they deserve, he said.
Six years after he announced his pre-emptive strike doctrine at West Point, Mr. Bush returned to tell the cadets his policy is central to the terrorism-fighting strategy he leaves to the next administration.
If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long. So we made clear that hostile regimes sponsoring terror or pursuing weapons of mass destruction would be held to account, he said.
He said he also made the decision to discredit Islamic extremism as an ideology as a part of his strategy.
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Monday, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, writing about the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, said Western nations are partly responsible for the fanaticism. …