President Bush Vows to End Terrorism By Military ForceBy John F. Harris and Mike Allen
THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON
Standing before a united Congress and a stricken nation, President Bush Thursday night described in stark and forceful terms a global war against terrorism, issuing an ultimatum to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to immediately turn over Osama bin Laden and vowing that “from this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” To bipartisan roars of support, Bush promised that the United States will punish and ultimately vanquish the terrorist forces that executed the deadliest attack ever on U.S. soil ten days ago.
But he pleaded for patience from Americans in waging war against a sprawling, shadowy foe vastly different from any the nation has fought before. “Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom,” Bush declared from the podium in the House of Representatives. “Whether we bring enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” The speech clarified in important ways how the president conceives the coming campaign. Bush described a diverse array of military strikes executed over time, ranging from airstrikes that will have highly visible results to covert actions that will not. He made plain that the immediate target is suspected terror mastermind bin Laden and the al Qaeda network he heads, as well as the Taliban regime if it responds with anything less than complete cooperation to his non-negotiable demands.
But Bush, describing a titanic struggle between the civilized world and radical Islam, said he would not stop there. “Our war on terror,” he said, “will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.”
``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 defeat of the global terror network,'' Bush declared.
He mentioned several times that the terrorists he was targeting practice a “fringe form of Islamic extremism,” and that he was not labeling all Muslims as enemies.
The speech came as the U.S. military was rapidly revving its war machinery, dispatching ships and aircraft to the Middle East and calling up troops for what top officials said will be a military campaign of many months or even years duration.
``They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole,’’ Bush said. ``They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods, and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.’’
Calling their leader ``a person named Osama bin Ladin,’’ Bush called the terrorist network ``the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century,’’ saying they ``follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism.’’ The list notably excluded communism, an unmistakable nod to China, where Bush hopes to win support.