Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, January 19, 2006
MR. McCLELLAN: I think, clearly, he is on the run. Clearly, he is under a lot of pressure, just as other al Qaeda leaders who are on the run are. And that's why we're going to continue pursuing them and continue going after them, to bring them to justice. We have made great progress, but this is a war that continues and this is a war that we will not let up on until we have prevailed.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you have to look at the nature of the enemy that we face, and the nature of the war that we're engaged in. This is a war on terrorism. It's broader than any one person. It's a struggle of ideologies. The President has talked about this at length with the American people, and will continue to talk about it. The Vice President, I think, is talking about some of that right now, as well. He's giving a speech in New York. And this is an ideological struggle. The President made it clear that it is a long struggle that we're engaged in, and that we must do everything within our power and act on all fronts to prevail in this war on terrorism. We are winning this war on terrorism, the terrorists are on the run and we're going to continue pursuing them and bringing them to justice, wherever they are.
Q Scott, back on the struggle that you're talking about, and the narrow view. New York Congressman Ed Towns said, the administration's priorities are upside down; instead of concentrating on Osama bin Laden, we're concentrating on war in Iraq. And this goes back to the issue of why Osama bin Laden has not been found. And he was the impetus of this war on terror. He was the one who attacked -- well, his minions attacked the United States. Why not have Osama bin Laden captured or otherwise?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you're ignoring a lot of what the President has said, and a lot of what we are doing. And I think that some do have a misunderstanding of the nature of the enemy that we face and the war that we're engaged in. Some do view this as more of a law enforcement matter. But this is about an ideology. This is about an ideological struggle. This is an evil ideology that is based on hatred and oppression. This is an ideology that the terrorists want to spread throughout the broader Middle East. They want to create safe havens. This is a group of people that deny people their political and religious freedom. And that's why it's so important that we continue to do two things -- take the fight to the enemy, and spread freedom and democracy, because free nations are peaceful nations and that will lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you have to understand what September 11th taught us. What September 11th taught us was that we must confront threats before it's too late. And that's what this President is committed to doing and is doing. We must confront the threats before the attacks reach our shores.