- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2001

President Bush will give a historic address to a joint session of Congress tonight, providing a progress report on his global coalition against terrorism and calling for a stimulus to the shellshocked economy.
During a series of urgent meetings yesterday with foreign and congressional leaders, Mr. Bush emphasized that the coalition he is assembling will be every bit as unconventional as the imminent war against terrorism. While some countries will provide military firepower, others are expected to work behind the scenes to gather intelligence or seize the financial assets of terrorist organizations.
"This is a campaign in which nations will contribute in a variety of ways," Mr. Bush told reporters in the Oval Office.
"Some nations will be willing to join in a very overt way. Other nations will be willing to join by sharing information and information in a campaign such as this is going to be incredibly important," he said. "It's very important for us to be able to find where these people are."
As the Pentagon ordered warplanes to the Persian Gulf, dubbing the effort "Operation Infinite Justice," the president's efforts to cobble together a global coalition intensified. But it was clear Mr. Bush was building something very different than the conventional military coalition his father assembled a decade ago.
"This is not the Gulf war coalition, where we all mobilize our military forces and march off to war after 100 days," said National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. "There are going to be a lot of different fronts in this war some on the information side, some on the financial side, some on the military side, some on other fronts."
She added: "Different countries are going to play different roles. There are going to be countries that you may never hear of their contribution, but it might actually be the most important contribution in locating this network."
The president's decision to address a joint session of Congress during preparations for the war against terrorism recalled President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who told Congress that Dec. 7, 1941 the date of the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor would "live in infamy." Mr. Bush is expected to rally the nation for a protracted struggle while warning that Americans will be expected to make sacrifices.
"I look forward to the opportunity to explain to the American people who it is, who would do this to our great country; and why, why would people choose America?" the president said. "A lot of our citizens have got a lot of questions about what has taken place on September the 11th and subsequent to that, and I owe it to the country to give an explanation."
Mr. Bush, who in August gave a well-received address on stem-cell research that explained both sides of the issue in unusual detail, is expected to spend at least part of tonight's address reprising his role as teacher in chief. One point he plans to hammer home is the distinction between the virulent strain of Islamic fundamentalism that is believed to have fomented last week's catastrophic terrorist attacks and the nonviolent tenets of mainstream Islam, the fastest-growing religion in the United States.
"We don't view this as a war of religion in any way, shape or form," Mr. Bush said. "The Muslim faith is a peaceful faith. And there are millions of good Americans who practice the Muslim faith, who love their country as much as I love the country, who salute the flag as strongly as I salute the flag.
"And for those who try to pit religion against religion, our great nation will stand up and reject that kind of thought," he said. "We're going to lead the world to fight for freedom, and we'll have Muslim and Jew and Christian side by side with us."
In addition to outlining the contours of his planned war against terrorism, Mr. Bush will try to reassure Americans that the economy will recover. His message is considered especially timely as the stock market continues to stumble and planned layoffs in the airline industry approach 100,000.
Although the airline industry has asked for a government bailout of more than $20 billion, the Associated Press reported last night that Mr. Bush plans to ask Congress for $5 billion in cash and for help with their insurance liabilities.
But the report, which cited an unnamed administration source, said Mr. Bush will not at this time seek the massive loan package the airlines want.
In addition, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert said yesterday that Congress would not blindly commit lump sums of taxpayer dollars without careful analysis of the industry's specific needs.
Pressed for specifics on an economic stimulus package, Mr. Bush said it would be "enough to get America going again." The president signaled that such spending might entail dipping into the Social Security trust fund, which was considered politically sacrosanct until last week's terrorist attacks. Prior to Sept. 11, Mr. Bush said he would use the fund only in the event of a dire emergency, such as recession or war.
"Someone conducted an act of war on us, our economy has slowed way down, and this is an emergency," the president said yesterday. "We've had all three, it seems like to me. And I'm going to work with Congress to send a clear message to America, American workers, American business people, that this government will respond to this emergency," he said.
The president also praised a speech yesterday by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who has agreed to pressure the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan to hand over suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. Mr. Musharraf faces intense opposition from Islamic fundamentalists within Pakistan who are sympathetic to the Taliban.
"There's no question that President Musharraf has taken a bold position, which is to say that he will work to the extent he can with America and our allies as we deal with the prime suspect in the case," Mr. Bush said. "And we appreciate so very much his statement of support.."
Mr. Bush also suggested the ferocity of last week's attacks had the effect of shocking Palestinians and Israelis into rethinking their ongoing struggle, which has been particularly violent for the past year. He praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for agreeing to a cease-fire.
"This horrible tragedy has provided us with an interesting opportunity," Mr. Bush said. "I'm pleased with the fact that Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Sharon have taken positive steps toward bringing peace to the region."

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