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Bush lauds 'productive week'


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The war on terrorism is "advancing on all fronts," U.S. President George W. Bush said Saturday after what he called "a productive week ... both at home and abroad."

The president's weekly radio address was a report card on the administration's efforts to battle terrorism, an effort that he said got a tremendous boost by the agreement reached this week between the House and Senate on the creation of a homeland security department.

"The department will significantly improve our ability to protect our borders, our coasts, and our communities," Bush said. "Now that we have reached broad agreement on a homeland security bill, I look forward to signing it into law as soon as possible."

The House passed the bill this week, and the Senate is expected to follow suit.

The legislation had stalled in the Senate, where majority Democrats wanted an independent commission to investigate what intelligence agencies knew and didn't know in the weeks leading up to the September 11 terror attacks and opposed Bush's push to loosen civil service labor rules.

But after November's election defeats and a new Republican majority on the horizon, Senate leaders gave in, dropping the provision for the September 11 commission and granting the president more flexibility to hire and fire workers. The Republicans compromised to give unions a chance to challenge any new rules.

Although he was clearly pleased with the breakthrough on homeland security, Bush noted in his address that "wars are not won on the defensive."

"The best way to keep America safe from terrorism is to go after terrorists where they plan and hide," he said. "And that work goes on around the world."

Tactics such as freezing the assets of terrorists and deploying troops to train forces in other countries sends "a clear message to the enemies of freedom -- no terrorist will escape the patient justice of America."

Bush closed with stern words for Iraq, which this week accepted a new U.N. resolution to resume weapons inspections.

"Our goal is not merely the return of inspectors to Iraq -- our goal is the disarmament of Iraq," he said. "The dictator of Iraq will give up his weapons of mass destruction, or the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him."



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