Bush's Afghanistan speech
after the start of the US and British military strikes on targets in Afghanistan
on Sunday, 7th October 2001.
On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al-Qaeda
terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taleban regime
These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan
as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability
of the Taleban regime.
We are joined in this operation by our staunch friend, Great Britain.
Other close friends, including Canada, Australia, Germany and France,
have pledged forces as the operation unfolds.
More than 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and across Asia
have granted air transit or landing rights. Many more have shared intelligence.
We are supported by the collective will of the world.
More than two weeks ago, I gave Taleban leaders a series of clear and
specific demands: Close terrorist training camps. Hand over leaders of
the al-Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals, including American
citizens unjustly detained in our country.
None of these demands were met. And now, the Taleban will pay a price.
By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more
difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate
their evil plans.
Initially, the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other entrenched
hiding places. Our military action is also designed to clear the way for
sustained, comprehensive and relentless operations to drive them out and
bring them to justice.
At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity
of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we will also
drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and
women and children of Afghanistan.
The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we
are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic
The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and
of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder
in its name.
This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another
front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence,
the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by
law enforcement agents in 38 countries.
Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by
the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges
with determination and will and purpose.
Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation
has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If
any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have
become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely
path at their own peril.
I'm speaking to you today from the Treaty Room of the White House, a place
where American presidents have worked for peace.
We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically,
there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's
new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten
We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfil it.
The name of today's military operation is Enduring Freedom. We defend
not only our precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere
to live and raise their children free from fear.
I know many Americans feel fear today. And our government is taking strong
precautions. All law enforcement and intelligence agencies are working
aggressively around America, around the world and around the clock.
At my request, many governors have activated the National Guard to strengthen
airport security. We have called up reserves to reinforce our military
capability and strengthen the protection of our homeland.
In the months ahead, our patience will be one of our strengths -- patience
with the long waits that will result from tighter security, patience and
understanding that it will take time to achieve our goals, patience in
all the sacrifices that may come.
Today, those sacrifices are being made by members of our armed forces
who now defend us so far from home, and by their proud and worried families.
A commander in chief sends America's sons and daughters into battle in
a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of prayer.
We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform. We ask them to leave their
loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury, even to be prepared
to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.
They are dedicated. They are honourable. They represent the best of our
country, and we are grateful.
To all the men and women in our military, every sailor, every soldier,
every airman, every Coast Guardsman, every Marine, I say this: Your mission
is defined. The objectives are clear. Your goal is just. You have my full
confidence, and you will have every tool you need to carry out your duty.
I recently received a touching letter that says a lot about the state
of America in these difficult times, a letter from a fourth grade girl
with a father in the military.
"As much as I don't want my dad to fight,'' she wrote, `"I'm willing
to give him to you.''
This is a precious gift. The greatest she could give. This young girl
knows what America is all about.
Since September 11, an entire generation of young Americans has gained
new understanding of the value of freedom and its cost and duty and its
The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waver, we will not
tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will
Thank you. May God continue to bless America.