Bush garners international support

WASHINGTON – Warning that Osama bin Laden is seeking nuclear weapons, President Bush pressured allies Tuesday to provide tangible support for the war on terrorism and help the United States defend “civilization itself.””A coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy…,” Bush said as French President Jacques Chirac stood by his side at the White House. “It is time for action.”France is one of 11 nations that have provided or offered military support. On Tuesday, Germany agreed to mobilize 3,900 troops for what could be the first deployment of German troops outside Europe since World War II.During a speech earlier Tuesday to an Eastern European summit in Warsaw, Bush compared bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist network with fascists and other totalitarians who subjugated European nations.”For more than 50 years, the peoples of your region suffered under repressive ideologies that tried to trample human dignity,” Bush said, appearing via satellite. “Today, our freedom is threatened once again. .”These terrorist groups seek to destabilize entire nations and regions. They are seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Given the means, our enemies would be a threat to every nation and, eventually, to civilization itself.”The administration’s new, louder alarms and the ratcheting up of pressure on U.S. allies came as the White House sought to reemphasize the perils of terrorism, reinforce its objectives and refocus its message during an intensive 10-day diplomatic effort.The president met Monday with the president of Algeria and Tuesday with Chirac. He meets Wednesday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and officials from Kuwait and Morocco. The president of Brazil and prime ministers of Ireland and India visit later this week.On Thursday, Bush will speak to the nation from Atlanta about homeland security. This weekend, he addresses the U.N. General Assembly and then a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the president’s reference to nuclear weapons was based on information gathered some time ago by the Central Intelligence Agency rather than on a newly perceived threat.But “the president believes there are no lengths to which these people will not go if they can get their hands on any type of weapons, whether they’re biological, chemical, nuclear,” Fleischer said.How would the U.S. respond if terrorists unleashed a nuclear or radiological attack?Fleischer: “Suffice it to say, the president has made it clear that the United States will defend itself.”With nuclear weapons?”It’s the policy of the government, as you know, to not discuss the type of weaponry that would be used.”Blair said he shares Bush’s views about the threat of weapons of mass destruction falling into terrorists’ hands.”If they could have killed not 6,000 innocent people but 60,000 or even 600,000, they would…,” the British prime minister told CNN’s Larry King in an interview taped for broadcast Tuesday night. “These people would do it again, and worse, if they could.”The U.S.-British public relations onslaught is intended to fortify support at home and abroad for the current military offensive against terrorist bases in Afghanistan and the longer, more comprehensive campaign to come against terrorism elsewhere.”A coalition partner must perform,” Bush said after meeting with Chirac. “All nations, if they want to fight terror, must do something.”The French have committed 2,000 troops, diplomatic assistance, intelligence support and humanitarian aid for Afghanistan. Other nations offering or supplying military support include the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Spain, Italy, Turkey, New Zealand, Japan and the Netherlands.Chirac said all U.N. members became obligated to back the coalition when the international organization approved a resolution supporting the U.S.-led war on terrorism.”Of course, all nations and countries contribute according to their capabilities, but there is no way they can get out of this commitment,” Chirac said during the joint appearance with Bush in the White House Rose Garden.German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Tuesday that 100 special forces soldiers would be included in the 3,900 troops his nation would contribute. Armored personnel carriers, transport planes and other equipment also would be made available, he said.