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Bush says bin Laden not escaping
Associated Press WriterCRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- President Bush pledged on Friday to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, saying U.S. forces are determined to capture him.
"He is not escaping us," Bush said at his Texas ranch, adding that the world's most-hunted man no longer has a leadership role in Afghanistan.
"He's not in charge of Afghanistan anymore," Bush said. "He's not the parasite that's invaded the host. ... Now, he's maybe in control of a cave. He's on the run. We're going to get him running and keep him running and bring him to justice."
Bush's news conference, held on a clear, windy, winter day just outside his old home on the ranch, followed two days in which bin Laden held the media spotlight with a newly released videotape.
The president dismissed the tape as terrorist propaganda.
"I didn't watch it all," Bush said. "I saw snippets of it on TV. Who knows when it was made."
Appearing with war commander Gen. Tommy Franks, Bush said the U.S. military would stay in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to rid the nation of al-Qaida terrorists and ensure future political stability.
"The world must know that this administration will not blink in the face of danger and will not tire when it comes to completing the missions that we said we would do," Bush said.
The U.S. military has 70 Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners in custody and the Pentagon is making plans to send them to a Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but has not determined the procedures for military tribunals.
A draft of proposed Bush administration rules for the tribunals states that a unanimous vote of a tribunal's military officers would be required to impose a death sentence on a foreign terror suspect, an official said Friday on condition of anonymity.
Civil rights groups and some members of Congress have said they were concerned about the fairness and openness of the tribunal process.
Bush said discussions continue and no decisions had been made about the tribunal process, but that "our system will be more fair than the system of bin Laden and the Taliban. That is for certain."