- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

Excerpts of President Bush's White House news conference last night:
Mr. Bush: One month ago today, innocent citizens from more than 80 nations were attacked and killed without warning or provocation in an act that horrified not only every American, but every person of every faith and every nation who values human life.
The attack took place on American soil, but it was an attack on the heart and soul of the civilized world.
We're mounting a sustained campaign to drive the terrorists out of their hidden caves and to bring them to justice. All missions are being executed according to plan on the military front.
At the same time, we are showing the compassion of America by delivering food and medicine to the Afghan people, who are themselves the victims of a repressive regime.
On the law enforcement front, terrorists are being swept up in an international dragnet. Several hundred have been arrested.
One month after great suffering and sorrow, America is strong and determined and generous. I am honored to lead such a country, and I know we are ready for the challenges ahead.
Question: Your FBI warned just today that terrorist attacks could be happening again in the next couple of days. What can people do to protect themselves?
Mr. Bush: Today, the Justice Department did issue a blanket alert. It was in recognition of a general threat we received. This is not the first time the Justice Department have acted like this. I hope it's the last, but given the attitude of the evildoers, it may not be.

'On full alert'
I have urged my our fellow Americans to go about their lives, to fly on airplanes, to travel, to go to work. But I also want to encourage them by telling them that our government is on full alert and that the alert put out today by the Justice Department was such an action.
Now, if we receive specific intelligence a credible threat that targets a specific building or city or facility, I can assure you, our government will do everything possible to protect the citizens around, in or near that facility.
And let me give you one example of a specific threat we received. You may remember recently there was a lot of discussion about crop-dusters. We received knowledge that perhaps an al Qaeda operative was prepared to use a crop-duster to spray a biological weapon or a chemical weapon on American people, and so we responded.
We took strong and appropriate action, and we will do so anytime we receive a credible threat.
Now, the American people have got to go about their business.
But the truth of the matter is, in order to fully defend America, we must defeat the evildoers where they hide. We must round them up and we must bring them to justice.
Q: You've been careful to avoid saying how long the military strikes in Afghanistan might take place. But can you promise to say how can you avoid being drawn into a Vietnamlike quagmire in Afghanistan?
Mr. Bush: We learned some very important lessons in Vietnam. Perhaps the most important lesson that I learned is that you cannot fight a guerrilla war with conventional forces.
That's why I have explained to the American people that we're engaged in a different type of war, one obviously that will use conventional forces, but one in which we've got to fight on all fronts.
We're in the process of rounding up al Qaeda members around the world. There are al Qaeda organizations in roughly 68 countries. And over 200 have now been apprehended.
As far as the use of conventional forces, we've got a clear plan, and it's to say to the [Afghanistan] government that, "You have been given your chance."
And by the way, I gave them ample opportunity to turn over al Qaeda. I made it very clear to them, in no uncertain terms, that in order to avoid punishment they should turn over the parasites that hide in their country.
They obviously refused to do so, and now they're paying a price.

'As long as it takes'
People often ask me, "How long will this last?" This particular battle front will last as long as it takes to bring al Qaeda to justice. It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two, but we will prevail.
We must rid the world of terrorists so our children and grandchildren can grow up in freedom. It is essential. It is now our time to act, and I'm proud to lead a country that understands that.
Q: Mr. President, today Defense Secretary [Donald H.] Rumsfeld said that Osama bin Laden was probably still in Afghanistan. How can the U.S. get him dead or alive, to use words that you've used recently, if we're not entirely sure whether he's in the country? And can we win the war on terrorism if bin Laden is not found?
Mr. Bush: Ours is a war against terrorism in general. Mr. bin Laden is one of the worst, but as you may remember, we published the 22 most wanted. He is one of 22 we're after.
Success or failure depends upon rooting out terrorism where it may exist all around the world. [Bin Laden is] just one person, a part of a network. And we're slowly, but surely, with determined fashion, rooting that network out and bringing it to justice.
I understand this is an unconventional war. It's a different kind of war. It's not the kind of war we're used to in America. The greatest generation was used to storming beachheads. Baby boomers such as myself was used to getting caught in a quagmire of Vietnam where politics made decisions more than the military sometimes. Generation X was able to watch technology right in front of their TV screens, you know, burrow into concrete bunkers in Iraq and blow them up.
This is a different kind of war that requires a different type of approach and a different type of mentality.

Middle East peace?
Q: You've met twice in the White House since you've been in office with Prime Minister [Ariel] Sharon, but you have refused to meet with [Palestinian leader] Yasser Arafat. Now that you envision a Palestinian state, will you see and will you meet with Arafat? And if so, when?
Mr. Bush: I want to assure the American people, and particularly our allies who are interested in our position in the Middle East, that we're spending a lot of time dealing with the Middle East.
I also stated the other day that if we ever get into the Mitchell process, where we can start discussing a political solution in the Middle East, that I believe there ought to be a Palestinian state, the boundaries of which will be negotiated by the parties so long as the Palestinian state recognizes the right of Israel to exist and will treat Israel with respect and will be peaceful on her borders.
Obviously, the events of September 11 have prevented overt diplomacy in the Middle East my calendar's a little crowded.
Q: Can you tell the American people specifically what is the state of Osama bin Laden? What is the state of the al Qaeda network? Are they on the run? And again, do you know whether Osama bin Laden is dead or alive?
Mr. Bush: I don't know if he is dead or alive. I want him brought to justice, however.
We are following every possible lead to make sure that any al Qaeda member that could be in the United States is brought to justice.
The FBI must think differently. The FBI, as you know, spent a lot of manpower and time chasing spies. In the post-Cold War era, they were still chasing spies.
Nothing wrong with that, except we have a new enemy.
I am confident that the al Qaeda organization is moving around Afghanistan. They think they might find safe haven. Not if we think they're there. And we got them on the run.

'Hijacked a country'
This is an interesting case in Afghanistan, because he thought he had hijacked a country. He actually did for a while. He forced a country to accept his radical thoughts, and it became a safe haven for bin Laden and the al Qaeda organization.
It's no longer a safe haven, that's for sure, because of our military activity.
Q: After the FBI warning of today, which was based, it said, on certain information that there would be retaliatory attacks over the next several days, given the complete generality of that warning, what does it really accomplish?
Mr. Bush: I'm aware of the intelligence that caused the warning to be issued, and it was a general threat on America. And as I mentioned earlier, had it been a specific threat, we would have contacted those to whom the threat was directed.
We take every threat seriously. And the American people shouldn't be surprised that we are issuing alerts. After all, on our TV screens the other day, we saw the evil one threatening, calling for more destruction and death in America.
Q: Before the events of September 11, one of the big questions you faced this fall was, would you violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and go ahead with the missile-defense plan if Russia did not strike a deal? Will you do that now because Russia's cooperation is so important?
Mr. Bush: In terms of missile defense, I can't wait to visit with my friend Vladimir Putin in Shanghai to reiterate, once again, that the Cold War is over, it's done with, and that there are new threats that we face.
And no better example of that new threat than the attack on America on September 11.
The case is more strong today than it was on Sept. 10 that the ABM is outmoded, outdated, reflects a different time.
I have told Mr. Putin that the ABM Treaty is outdated, antiquated and useless. And I hope that he will join us in a new strategic relationship.
Q: You talk about the general threat toward Americans. The Internet is crowded with all sorts of rumor and gossip. And people ask us, what is it they're supposed to be on the lookout for? Other than the 22 most wanted terrorists, what are Americans supposed to look for and report to the police or to the FBI?
Mr. Bush: You know, if you find a person that you've never seen before getting in a crop-duster that doesn't belong to you, report it.
If you see suspicious people lurking around petrochemical plants, report it to law enforcement. I mean, people need to be logical.

'For the children'
Before we leave, I want to make a special request to the children of America. I ask you to join in a special effort to help the children of Afghanistan. We've created a special relief effort that will be supervised by the Red Cross.
We are asking every child in America to earn or give a dollar that will be used to provide food and medical help for the children of Afghanistan. You can send your dollar in an envelope marked "America's Fund for Afghan Children" right here to the White House.
Winter is coming by acting today, we can help the children survive.

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