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By Lisa Ferdinando
Washington
17 December 2008

President Bush speaking at US Army War College, 17 Dec 2008
President Bush speaking at US Army War College, 17 Dec 2008
President Bush says the United States is safer now than before the attacks of September 11, 2001, but that the battle against terrorism will continue long after leaves office. Mr. Bush made the comments to military personnel at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

In what was likely his final major national security address, Mr. Bush paid tribute to America's fighting men and women and took stock of momentous events that happened during his time in office.

He acknowledged the country and his presidency changed dramatically on September 11th, when hijacked planes struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and another crashed in Pennsylvania.

"By nightfall, the sun had set on a very different world. With rumors of more attacks swirling, Americans went to bed wondering what the future would bring," he said.

Mr. Bush said the country rose to the challenge posed by terrorists.

The president outlined steps taken to enhance security since the attacks. He noted greater intelligence sharing, increased border security, and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. He said U.S. forces are also now more easily deployed to trouble-spots.

Mr. Bush acknowledged some decisions made in the war against terror have provoked debate, but said no one can argue with the end result. 

"This is for certain, since 9/11, there has not been another terrorist attack on American soil," he said.

One of Mr. Bush's most controversial decisions was the 2003 invasion of Iraq. However the president said U.S. efforts there have struck an important blow against global terrorism.

"Thanks to the success of the [U.S. troop] surge, courage of our troops, and the determination of the Iraqi people, we have delivered a devastating blow to al-Qaida in the land Osama bin Laden once called the central battleground in the war on terror," he said.

Despite progress, the president said the fight against terror is far from over and will test his successors

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