- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2001

U.S. Newswire

The following is a transcript of President Bush's remarks to employees at the Pentagon:

First, let me start off by saying to members of the Pentagon press — the secretary [of defense] told me about how you conducted your business on that fateful day. I want to congratulate you and thank you.

Many of your members of the Pentagon press went out to help in the evacuation, and the aid of the people who work here in the Pentagon, and the country appreciates that very much. Thank you. Pass the word onto your colleagues, as well.

Today, we're talking about the mobilization of Reserve and Guard troops. Such a mobilization is a strong symbol of this nation's resolve.

I fully understand that a mobilization affects the lives of thousands of Americans. I mean, after all, we're talking about somebody's mom or somebody's dad, somebody's employee, somebody's friend or somebody's neighbor. But the world will see that the strength of this nation is found in the character and dedication and courage of everyday citizens.

We are in the process of calling up as many as 35,000 such troops. They will serve in a number of essential roles. They will help maintain our air defenses so they can stay on high alert. They will check shipping in ports. They will help our military with airlift and logistics. They will provide military police. They will participate in engineering projects. They will help gather intelligence. And they will perform work as chaplains.

I know this means a lot of sacrifice for those who will be called up, and their families. But you understand — the troops who will be called up understand better than most that freedom has a cost, and that we're willing to bear that cost. An act of war has been committed on this country, and the dedication of our Guardsmen and Reservists will serve not only as a strong symbol to all that we're prepared to take the necessary actions, but will be a part of helping define the spirit and courage of America. And I'm grateful.

I want to thank the employers who understand that there is more to corporate life than just profit and loss, that the employee who is getting ready to serve the country is an essential part of winning the — of defeating terrorism, evil-doers so emboldened that they feel like they could attack the great bastion of freedom.

Before I answer a few questions, I also want to wish the American Jewish community and Jews around the world a healthy and happy new year. As the high holy days begin, I know you'll find strength and determination during this time of reflection.

I'll be glad to answer a few questions.

Question: Mr. President, does the cost of freedom today in this war we're about to wage include the loss of civilian and military casualties? And can you keep us out of a depression-recession, during this crisis?

Mr. Bush: The only thing I can do is to reflect upon the spirit of the U.S. military, and the U.S. military is ready to defend freedom at any cost. The men and women who wear our uniforms, both active duty and reservists, and National Guard people, are ready to respond to the call of the commander-in-chief and the secretary of defense.

In terms of our economy, I've got great faith in the economy. I understand it's tough right now. Transportation business is hurting. Obviously, the market was correcting prior to this crisis. But the underpinnings for economic growth are there. We're the greatest entrepreneurial society in the world. We've got the best farmers and ranchers. We've got a strong manufacturing base.

Thirdly, we've got a tax cut that's still working its way through the economy, as well as a reconstruction plan for New York and the area.

Question: Mr. President, is it the case, based on what you've said now, that war is inevitable? And can you tell me [and] the American people what that war is going to look like?

Mr. Bush: I believe — I know — that an act of war was declared against America. But this will be a different type of war than we're used to. This is — in the past there have been beaches to storm and islands to conquer. We've been able to watch on our television screens sophisticated weaponry find a building; and we've seen dramatic reports from the front where Pulitzer Prize-to-be winning reporters stood up and declared, "the United States is attacked," and all that.

There may be some of that, who knows? But I know that this is a different type of enemy than we're used to.

It's an enemy that likes to hide and burrow in, and their network is extensive. There are no rules. It's barbaric behavior. They slit throats of women on airplanes in order to achieve an objective that is beyond comprehension. And they like to hit, and then they like to hide out.

But we're going to smoke them out. And we're adjusting our thinking to the new type of enemy. These are terrorists who have no borders. And, by the way, it's important for the world to understand that we know in America that more than just Americans suffered loss of life in the World Trade Center.

People from all kinds of nationalities lost — that's why the world is rallying to our call to defeat terrorism.

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