- The Washington Times - Friday, September 21, 2001

President Bush last night told a joint session of Congress the war against terrorism might require U.S. ground troops and casualties. He also bluntly demanded the Taliban surrender Osama bin Laden or face annihilation.
"Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss," Mr. Bush declared during the prime-time, nationally televised address. "And in our grief and anger, we have found our mission and our moment.
"Freedom and fear are at war," the president intoned. "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," he added. "We will rally the world to this cause, by our efforts and by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."
Mr. Bush tried to explain, without giving away strategic details, how the United States will prosecute and prevail in an open-ended war against an amorphous enemy without national borders.
"Tonight, a few miles from the damaged Pentagon, I have a message for our military: Be ready," he said. "I have 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."
In his most warlike rhetoric to date, Mr. Bush gave a chilling ultimatum to the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist organization that governs most of Afghanistan and harbors bin Laden and his terrorist network, known as al Qaeda.
"The Taliban regime is committing murder," Mr. Bush declared. "And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land."
Drawing thunderous applause from Democrats and Republicans alike in the heavily guarded Capitol, Mr. Bush also demanded the Taliban release unjustly jailed prisoners and permanently shutter its terrorist training camps.
"These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion," the president warned. "The Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate."
The 40-minute address, which recalled the "infamy" speech of President Roosevelt nearly 60 years ago, was interrupted more than 30 times by applause, including more than two dozen standing ovations.
"We are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom," Mr. Bush said. "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."
The president also tried to steel the nation against the potential that the United States would deploy ground troops, some of whom might be sent home in body bags.
"This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with its decisive liberation of territory and its swift conclusion," he said. "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.
"Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes," he said. "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on television, and covert operations, secret even in success."
Mr. Bush also put the nations of the world on notice that they must choose sides in the looming war.
"Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," he said. "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."
Mr. Bush spent a significant portion of the speech giving Americans a primer on the most fundamental questions hanging over last week's catastrophic terrorist attacks against the United States. He outlined the global network of terrorists and the origins of their anti-American hatred.
"The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends," said the president, who wore an American flag pin on his lapel. "Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them."
Finally, the president called on Congress to help him improve air safety, strengthen America's economy and give law enforcement additional powers.
Noticeably absent from the Capitol was Vice President Richard B. Cheney, who as president of the Senate normally would sit behind Mr. Bush in the well of the House. But security concerns kept Mr. Cheney away from the Capitol, which had been a potential target of the hijacked jetliner that instead crashed in Pennsylvania last week.
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, took Mr. Cheney's place in a seat next to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert. In keeping with normal security precautions, one member of the president's Cabinet also did not attend the speech.
Mr. Bush also announced the creation of a Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security, a step that had been suggested by various task forces on terrorism.
He nominated Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a longtime Republican ally, to head the new agency. The president views the move as a way to shore up domestic defenses against further terrorist strikes.
With the death toll from last week's attacks now expected to surpass 6,500, Mr. Bush took pains to reassure a jittery public that it was safe to resume their everyday lives. He said he was confident that as long as Americans remained strong and determined, this would be an age of liberty, not terror.
In perhaps the most emotional moment of the speech, Mr. Bush brandished the badge of New York City police Officer George Howard, who was killed during rescue efforts.
"It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son," the president said. "This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end.
"I will not forget this wound to our country, or those who inflicted it," he concluded. "I will not yield. I will not rest. I will not relent in waging this struggle for the freedom and security of the American people."
It was only the second time that Mr. Bush gave an address to a joint session of Congress. The first address came shortly after his inauguration, when he laid out his plan for revitalizing the slowing economy.
Mr. Bush thanked members of Congress for "what you have already done, and for what we will do together." He also thanked the world for its sympathy and support, and asked for the help of "police forces, intelligence services and banking systems around the world."
The White House designated five "hero guests" who sat in the Capitol's executive gallery during last night's speech. They were:
New York City police Officer William Fisher, who was off duty at the time of the attacks but jumped into his car and sped to the scene, where he spent 17 hours trying to free victims from the rubble.
New York City Fire Battalion Chief John A. Jonas, who helped evacuate victims before he was trapped in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. He and his men escaped after three hours.
New York Port Authority police officer Padraig Carroll, who rushed to the scene of the terrorist attacks and has been there every day since.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Cean Whitmarsh, who used his shirt to extinguish a fire on a Navy lieutenant before pulling numerous people from the wreckage of the Pentagon.
U.S. Army Spc. Terry Clausen, a medic on leave when he heard about the attack. He grabbed his medic bag and raced to the Pentagon, where he treated at least 11 injured persons.
Also attending last night's speech were New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York Gov. George E. Pataki and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who met with Mr. Bush earlier in the day.

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