Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:
In the normal
course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state
of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been
delivered by the American people.
We have seen it
in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on
the ground — passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And
would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight.
We have seen the
state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past
exhaustion. We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of
candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers — in English,
Hebrew, and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving
people who have made the grief of strangers their own.
My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen
for itself the state of our Union — and it is strong. (Applause.)
Tonight we are a
country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has
turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies
to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.
I thank the
Congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America
was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and
Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing “God
Bless America.” And you did more than sing; you acted, by delivering $40
billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military.
Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I
thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service
to our country. (Applause.)
And on behalf of
the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support.
America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at
Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin’s Brandenburg
We will not
forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in
Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will
not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and
Africa and Latin America.
Nor will we
forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of
Pakistanis; more than 130 Israelis; more than 250 citizens of India;
men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico and Japan; and hundreds of
British citizens. America has no truer friend than Great Britain.
(Applause.) Once again, we are joined together in a great cause — so
honored the British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his
unity of purpose with America. Thank you for coming, friend. (Applause.)
On September the
11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country.
Americans have known wars — but for the past 136 years, they have been
wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have
known the casualties of war — but not at the center of a great city on a
peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks — but never
before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a
single day — and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom
itself is under attack.
many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country?
The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely
affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are the same
murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya,
and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.
Al Qaeda is to
terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its
goal is remaking the world — and imposing its radical beliefs on people
practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by
Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics — a fringe
movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists’
directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all
Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians,
including women and children.
This group and
its leader — a person named Osama bin Laden — are linked to many other
organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic
Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of
these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from
their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like
Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are
sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world
to plot evil and destruction.
The leadership of
al Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan and supports the Taliban
regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al
Qaeda’s vision for the world.
people have been brutalized — many are starving and many have fled.
Women are not allowed to attend school. You can be jailed for owning a
television. Religion can be practiced only as their leaders dictate. A
man can be jailed in Afghanistan if his beard is not long enough.
The United States
respects the people of Afghanistan — after all, we are currently its
largest source of humanitarian aid — but we condemn the Taliban regime.
(Applause.) It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening
people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists.
By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder.
And tonight, the
United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban:
Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who
hide in your land. (Applause.) Release all foreign nationals, including
American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign
journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close
immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in
Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their
support structure, to appropriate authorities. (Applause.) Give the
United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make
sure they are no longer operating.
These demands are
not open to negotiation or discussion. (Applause.) The Taliban must
act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they
will share in their fate.
I also want to
speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your
faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by
millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings
are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah
blaspheme the name of Allah. (Applause.) The terrorists are traitors to
their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of
America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab
friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every
government that supports them. (Applause.)
Our war on terror
begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until
every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and
asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this
chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are
self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our
freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with
They want to
overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt,
Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle
East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia
kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With
every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from
the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we
stand in their way.
We are not
deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before.
They are the heirs of 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, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path
all the way, to where it ends: in history’s unmarked grave of discarded
asking: How will we fight and win this war? 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 to
the defeat of the global terror network.
This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a
decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not
look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops
were used and not a single American was lost in combat.
involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes.
Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike
any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on
TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve
terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from
place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue
nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in
every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you
are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation
that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the
United States as a hostile regime.
Our nation has
been put on notice: We are not immune from attack. We will take
defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens
of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local
governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security. These
efforts must be coordinated at the highest level. So tonight I announce
the creation of a Cabinet-level position reporting directly to me — the
Office of Homeland Security.
And tonight I
also announce a distinguished American to lead this effort, to
strengthen American security: a military veteran, an effective governor,
a true patriot, a trusted friend — Pennsylvania’s Tom Ridge.
(Applause.) He will lead, oversee and coordinate a comprehensive
national strategy to safeguard our country against terrorism, and
respond to any attacks that may come.
are essential. But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our
way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows.
Many will be
involved in this effort, from FBI agents to intelligence operatives to
the reservists we have called to active duty. All deserve our thanks,
and all have our prayers. And tonight, a few miles from the damaged
Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready. I’ve called the
Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when
America will act, and you will make us proud. (Applause.)
This is not,
however, just America’s fight. And what is at stake is not just
America’s freedom. This is the world’s fight. This is civilization’s
fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism,
tolerance and freedom.
We ask every
nation to join us. We will ask, and we will need, the help of police
forces, intelligence services, and banking systems around the world. The
United States is grateful that many nations and many international
organizations have already responded — with sympathy and with support.
Nations from Latin America, to Asia, to Africa, to Europe, to the
Islamic world. Perhaps the NATO Charter reflects best the attitude of
the world: An attack on one is an attack on all.
world is rallying to America’s side. They understand that if this terror
goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next.
Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten
the stability of legitimate governments. And you know what — we’re not
going to allow it. (Applause.)
asking: What is expected of us? I ask you to live your lives, and hug
your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to
be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.
I ask you to
uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here.
We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to
live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or
unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.
I ask you to
continue to support the victims of this tragedy with your contributions.
Those who want to give can go to a central source of information,
libertyunites.org, to find the names of groups providing direct help in
New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The thousands of FBI agents who are now at work in this investigation may need your cooperation, and I ask you to give it.
I ask for your
patience, with the delays and inconveniences that may accompany tighter
security; and for your patience in what will be a long struggle.
I ask your
continued participation and confidence in the American economy.
Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch
its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and
creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths
of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today.
please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families,
for those in uniform, and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us
in sorrow, and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead.
Tonight I thank
my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will
do. And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their
representatives, for what you have already done and for what we will do
Tonight, we face
new and sudden national challenges. We will come together to improve air
safety, to dramatically expand the number of air marshals on domestic
flights, and take new measures to prevent hijacking. We will come
together to promote stability and keep our airlines flying, with direct
assistance during this emergency. (Applause.)
We will come
together to give law enforcement the additional tools it needs to track
down terror here at home. (Applause.) We will come together to
strengthen our intelligence capabilities to know the plans of terrorists
before they act, and find them before they strike. (Applause.)
We will come together to take active steps that strengthen America’s economy, and put our people back to work.
welcome two leaders who embody the extraordinary spirit of all New
Yorkers: Governor George Pataki, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. (Applause.)
As a symbol of America’s resolve, my administration will work with
Congress, and these two leaders, to show the world that we will rebuild
New York City. (Applause.)
After all that
has just passed — all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and
hopes that died with them — it is natural to wonder if America’s future
is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are
struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our
times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America
is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will
be an age of liberty, here and across the world. (Applause.)
Great harm has
been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger
we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war.
The advance of human freedom — the great achievement of our time, and
the great hope of every time — now depends on us. Our nation — this
generation — will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our
future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our
courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.
It is my hope
that in the months and years ahead, life will return almost to normal.
We’ll go back to our lives and routines, and that is good. Even grief
recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us
will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We’ll
remember the moment the news came — where we were and what we were
doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some
will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.
And I will carry
this: It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at
the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his
mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. This is my reminder of
lives that ended, and a task that does not end. (Applause.)
I will not forget
this wound to our country or those who inflicted it. I will not yield; I
will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom
and security for the American people.
The course of
this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and
fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God
is not neutral between them. (Applause.)
we’ll meet violence with patient justice — assured of the rightness of
our cause, and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies
before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United
States of America.
Thank you. (Applause.)