Tags: Bush | Vows | Victory | Terrorism | War

Bush Vows Victory in Terrorism War

Thursday, 13 September 2001 12:00 AM

"This country will not relent until we have saved ourselves and others from the terrible tragedy that came upon America," said Bush, whose eyes glistened with tears at one point as he spoke of the Americans who have died in the massive terrorist attack of Tuesday.

"The nation must understand this is now the focus of my administration," Bush said, and though it will continue with domestic issues, "now that war has been declared on us, we will lead the world to victory - to victory."

The president's remarks made during televised telephone call to Mayor Rudy Giuliani and and Gov. George Pataki of New York and in an exchange with reporters in the Oval Office.

Speaking extemporaneously and punctuating his statements with hard, direct looks at reporters, the president said in answer to a question: "I don't think about myself right now. I think about the families, the children. I am a loving guy, and I am also someone, however, who has got a job to do - and I intend to do it. And this is a terrible moment. But this country will not relent until we have saved ourselves and others from the terrible tragedy that came upon America."

Earlier the president declared Friday as a national day of mourning for the untold thousands who lost their lives in the attack. On Friday morning he will travel to New York at the invitation of Mayor Giuliani to see directly for the first time the devastation of the World Trade Center.

"I look forward to joining with both of you in thanking the police and fire, the construction trade workers, the restaurant owners, the volunteers - all of whom have really made a huge display for the world to see of the compassion of America, and the bravery of America and the strength of America. Every world leader I've talked to in recent days has been impressed by what they have seen about our nation, and the fabric of our nation. And I want to thank everybody when I come," Bush said.

Bush said he has been on the telephone with world leaders over the past 24 hours.

"I've been on the phone this morning, just like I was yesterday, and will be on this afternoon on the phone with leaders from around the world who express their solidarity with this nation's intention to rout out and to whip terrorism," Bush said. "They understand, fully understand, that an act of war was declared on the United States of America. They understand as well that that act could have easily have happened to them."

Bush said the leaders had sadness in their voices, but also "understanding that we have just seen the war of the 21st century."

The president said he appreciated the response of Pakistan.

"I would refer you to the statements that the Pakistani leader gave about his - I don't have the exact words in front of me - but his willingness to work with the United States. And I appreciate that statement, and now we'll just find out what that means, won't we?

"We will give the Pakistani government a chance to cooperate and to participate, as we hunt down those people who committed this unbelievable despicable act on America."

Pakistan, Afghanistan's neighbor, has enormous intelligence contacts in Afghanistan. During the Afghanistan Soviet war, its intelligence services assisted the United States in feeding arms to Afghan rebels. But Pakistan has not assisted the United States in that past on attempts to locate and punish Osama bin Laden, in part because it as a radical Muslim nation. Secretary of State Colin Powell called the United States relationship with Pakistan up and down.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Bush had been in touch by phone on Thursday with Jordan's King Abdullah, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson, and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Bush spoke with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Russian President Vladimir Putin (twice) and Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

The leaders he spoke to "heard my call loud and clear, to those who feel like they can provide safe harbor for the terrorists, that we will hold them responsible as well, and they join me in understanding not only the concept of the enemy, that the enemy is a different type of enemy," Bush said. "They join me also in solidarity about holding those who fund them, who harbor them, who encourage them, responsible for their activities."

Bush would not say whether the administration had evidence on the alleged involvement of bin Laden as media attention increasingly focused on the billionaire Saudi dissident believed to be behind two other terrorist attacks on the United States in recent years. And he warned reporters that his administration will not talk about intelligence operations. This warning was echoed by the secretary of defense and the attorney general.

But he urged Americans to avoid lashing out at Muslims in the United States.

"We must be mindful that as we - as we seek to win the war, that we treat Arab-Americans and Muslims with the respect they deserve," Bush said.

Shortly after the Oval Office appearance, Bush and the first lady visited a hospital where victims of the Pentagon attack were being treated.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International

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This country will not relent until we have saved ourselves and others from the terrible tragedy that came upon America, said Bush, whose eyes glistened with tears at one point as he spoke of the Americans who have died in the massive terrorist attack of Tuesday. The...
Thursday, 13 September 2001 12:00 AM
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