We'll take fight to the enemy, says Bush

Click to follow

Mr Bush's speech yesterday, at the FBI training centre at Quantico, Virginia, had been scheduled long before the Tube and bus attacks. But he went out of his way to praise the resilience of Londoners. He described the bombings as "an attack on the civilised world" that provided "a clear window into the evil we face". London was currently experiencing great suffering, "but Londoners are resilient. They have faced brutal enemies before. The city that survived the Nazi blitz will not yield in the face of thugs and assassins," he said. The carefully synchronised targeting of the capital of America's closest ally in the war on terror and in Iraq has had an enormous impact here - not least by rekindling fears that a US city might be next in line. It has also produced a flurry of activity in Congress, aimed at providing money for increasing security on the country's vulnerable mass transit system.

While the federal government spends several dollars per passenger per year for air travel security, the equivalent for rail, subway and bus passengers runs at just a few cents. Richard Shelby, the powerful chairman of the Senate banking committee, is pushing a Bill that would allocate some $5 billion (£2.84bn) to correct this imbalance.

Mr Bush told the assembled 1,000 marines, FBI officials and emergency service helpers yesterday that "tough fighting" and "difficult moments" lay ahead before victory could be assured. But neither the US nor its allies would be cowed.

It was still not known who carried out the attacks, Mr Bush declared, but the terrorists would never break the will of the democracies. The only way they could win was "if we lose our nerve, and that isn't going to happen on my watch".

Some political analysts believe that the events in London will have an impact on US domestic politics, boosting Mr Bush's flagging popularity and refocusing national attention back on the war on terror - the issue on which he consistently gets his highest approval ratings, and which was decisive in securing his re-election in November 2004.

Once again, he justified the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq by saying it was "the central front" in the fight against terrorism.