( RIA Novosti ) - U.S. President George W. Bush blasted Congress in a Thursday speech for failing to take the terrorist threat seriously, and compared Osama bin Laden to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based right-wing think tank, he defended U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, and urged Democrat-controlled Congress not to restrict funding for Iraq operations, limit anti-terrorist intelligence-gathering methods, or block his appointment of a new attorney general.
He said that in the six years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, there is "a temptation to think that the threats to our country have grown distant," but warned that "the terrorists who struck America that September morning intend to strike us again."
"History teaches that underestimating the words of evil, ambitious men is a terrible mistake. In the early 1900s, the world ignored the words of Lenin, as he laid out his plans to launch a Communist revolution in Russia - and the world paid a terrible price. The Soviet Empire he established killed tens of millions, and brought the world to the brink of thermonuclear war," Bush said.
The president highlighted Washington's role in bringing down the Soviet Union. He told the gathering, attended by leading conservative lobbyists, "Together with a great President named Ronald Reagan, you championed a policy of rolling back communism oppression and bringing freedom to nations enslaved by communist tyranny."
He also compared Islamist plans to "build a totalitarian Islamic empire... stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia" to the Third Reich.
"In the 1920s, the world ignored the words of Hitler, as he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany, take revenge on Europe, and eradicate the Jews - and the world paid a terrible price."
He insisted that the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have been "liberated" by U.S.-led campaigns: "We removed regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq that had supported terrorists and threatened our citizens, and in so doing, liberated 50 million people from the clutches of tyranny."
Bush said people in the Middle East are now looking to the U.S. to protect their freedom.
"In Kabul, in Baghdad, in Beirut, and other cities across the broader Middle East, brave men and women are risking their lives every day for the same freedoms we enjoy. And like the citizens of Prague and Warsaw and Budapest in the century gone by, they are looking to the United States to stand up for them."
The president criticized Congress, which has been controlled by the Democrats since mid-term elections in January, over its moves to limit funding for Iraq operations, and unwillingness to prolong the controversial Protect America Act, which allows unprecedented levels of surveillance in the U.S., including eavesdropping on phone lines without court orders.
"It's no time for Congress to weaken our ability to gather vital intelligence from captured terrorists... And this is no time for Congress to hold back vital funding for our troops as they fight al Qaeda terrorists and radicals in Afghanistan and Iraq."
"Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war," he said.