WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said on Saturday the United States was stronger 10 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and Americans would "carry on" despite continued threats against their safety.
Marking Sunday's 10th anniversary of the "9/11" attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, Obama noted that al-Qaida's strength had been sapped by relentless US efforts in the decade since the tragedy killed nearly 3,000 people.RELATED:Clinton: Al-Qaida behind unconfirmed terror threat to US
"Thanks to the tireless efforts of our military personnel and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security professionals, there should be no doubt: today, America is stronger and al-Qaida is on the path to defeat," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.
New York police amassed a display of force on Friday, including
checkpoints that snarled traffic in response to intelligence about a car
or truck bomb plot linked to the anniversary.
Obama noted that terror groups would continue to target the United States.
"Yes we face a determined foe, and make no mistake -- they will keep
trying to hit us again. But as we are showing again this weekend, we
remain vigilant," he said.
"We're doing everything in our power to protect our people, and no
matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on."
Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor of New York at the time of the attacks, said
the country still had work to do to become better prepared for further
"People often ask me, 'Is America safer now than it was before September
11?' The answer is: 'Yes, but not as safe as we should be,'" he said in
the weekly Republican address.
"We've made significant improvements in intelligence gathering and in
airport security. But much work remains," he said, citing port security
and preparedness levels at state and local governments as requiring
Obama to visit sites of attacks on anniversary
Obama will travel to all three sites on Sunday where hijackers turned
planes into missiles, bringing down the twin towers of the World Trade
Center in New York, hitting the Pentagon in Virginia and crashing into a
The attacks sparked US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter of which Obama, a Democrat, opposed.
"They wanted to draw us in to endless wars, sapping our strength and
confidence as a nation. But even as we put relentless pressure on
al-Qaida, we're ending the war in Iraq and beginning to bring our troops
home from Afghanistan," he said. "Because after a hard decade of war,
it is time for nation building here at home."
Giuliani, who made a failed bid for the 2008 Republican presidential
nomination, said the attacks showed the importance of a US military
presence abroad, and he indicated he opposed a hasty withdrawal of
forces from those two war zones.
"The (drawdown) timetable should not be based on a politically expedient
calendar, but on when we've eliminated the threat of domestic attacks
being generated in that particular part of the world," he said.
"We must not allow impatience to prevent our military from achieving its
objective in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and the objective is the
elimination of the threat to our nation."