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September 20, 2001

President Outlines Vision for 'New War'

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The Attack on America

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 - President Bush, in an extraordinary address to a joint session of Congress, demanded that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban immediately deliver the leaders of Osama bin Laden's terror network to the United States and close down every terrorist camp in the country or face the full military wrath of the United States.

"These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion," the president said. "The Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate."

The president implored the nation tonight for its support and patience in what he described as a coming global struggle led by the United States against terrorism. The president made it clear that the fight would be long, and that Americans should be prepared for casualties.

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen," a somber, purposeful Mr. Bush told Congress and a national television audience. "It may include dramatic strikes, visible on television, and covert operations, secret even in success."

The war, Mr. Bush added, would not be like the swift battle against Iraq a decade ago. Nor would it be like battles America has fought in the Balkans. "It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago," the president said, "where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat."

Mr. Bush received sustained applause as he entered the House of Representatives and members of Congress rose in a standing ovation and cheered when he was introduced.

He opened his speech by introducing Lisa Beamer of Cranbury, N.J., the wife of Todd Beamer, 32, a passenger aboard the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania who reportedly help lead an effort to regain control of the plane.

Early on in his speech, Mr. Bush thanked Britain and its prime minister - Tony Blair, who was seated in the audience - saying that the United States had never had a "truer friend."

The most sustained applause - and another standing ovation - came when he the President acknowledged Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Gov. George E. Pataki.

Mr. Bush's speech, which was interrupted about 30 times with applause and cheering, was his most extensive address to Americans since four hijacked jetliners on suicide missions crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a quiet field in southwestern Pennsylvania, killing possibly more than 6,000 people.

The president sought to calm an anxious nation. He announced that Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, a close friend and former Marine, would assume a cabinet-level position as the head of a newly created Office of Homeland Security. The office, he said, would oversee more than a dozen federal agencies, including the C.I.A. and the Department of Defense, in an attempt to prevent attacks like those on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

"Americans have known surprise attacks, but never before on thousands of civilians," Mr. Bush said. "All of this was brought upon us in a single day, and night fell on a different world."

Mr. Bush compared the terrorists who plotted and carried out last week's attacks to the worst mass murderers of the 20th century.

"We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before," Mr. Bush said. "They are the heirs to all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends, in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies."

Mr. Bush faced tonight several remarkable and contradictory challenges as he described to the nation how he would face down a threat unlike any that has faced an American president.

He had to convey a sense of safety to an American public that is feeling more vulnerable than at any moment since World War II. Yet to justify the war on which he embarks, he had to convey a sense of the threat that terrorism poses to the country.

And he had at once to convey a sense of urgency while pleading for patience as he and his military map out a complex global campaign.

Finally, he had to convey a sense of command, something that seemed conspicuously missing during his early months in office and the first day of the crisis.

Mr. Bush used his speech to lay out some of what his administration knows about Mr. bin Laden, the Saudi-born multimillionaire who is the prime suspect behind the attacks. He added that unless Americans take the fight to nations that harbor men like Mr. Bin Laden, the attacks in New York and Washington would not be the last on American soil.

Mr. Bush spoke as an American military buildup continued in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, with United States warplanes in striking distance of Afghanistan and a top Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Wald, positioned at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudia Arabia to run an air war from the region. The Secretary of the Army, Thomas E. White, also said today that ground troops would be sent to the area.

Mr. Bush emphasized that the war would not simply be an air campaign. "We will direct every resource at our command, every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence and every necessary weapon of war to the disruption and defeat of the global terror network," he said. A senior administration official, asked if "every weapon of war" included nuclear weapons, responded, "I would not interpret it that way."

The president did not give any indication of when the war would start, and did not further define for a worried American public what form the war might take. He did not say whether Americans could expect their sons and daughters to be called up and sent to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan, and he did not say whether a "long campaign" meant one year or ten.

Although the president's speech drew inevitable comparisons to Franklin D. Roosevelt's "date which will live in infamy" speech delivered to Congress nearly 60 years ago, Mr. Bush's advisers went out of their way to say that tonight's words about the wounds inflicted on Manhattan and the Pentagon were without historical parallel.

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