on Combatting Terrorism
Warsaw, Poland via Telecast
November 6, 2001
7:10 A.M. EST
Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. It is a real pleasure to be back in
Warsaw, this time by telecast. I had a wonderful visit to the region in June,
and I know I'm among friends today.
I thank all the nations of Central and Eastern Europe at this conference. You
are our partners in the fight against terrorism, and we share an important moment
For more than 50 years, the peoples of your region suffered under repressive
ideologies that tried to trample human dignity. Today, our freedom is threatened
once again. Like the fascists and totalitarians before them, these terrorists
-- al Qaeda, the Taliban regime that supports them, and other terror groups
across our world -- try to impose their radical views through threats and violence.
We see the same intolerance of dissent; the same mad, global ambitions; the
same brutal determination to control every life and all of life.
We have seen the true nature of these terrorists in the nature of their attacks
-- they kill thousands of innocent people and then rejoice about it. They kill
fellow Muslims, many of whom died in the World Trade Center that terrible morning
-- and then they gloat. They condone murder and claim to be doing so in the
name of a peaceful religion.
We have also seen the true nature of these terrorists in the nature of the regime
they support in Afghanistan -- and it's terrifying. Women are imprisoned in
their homes, and are denied access to basic health care and education. Food
sent to help starving people is stolen by their leaders. The religious monuments
of other faiths are destroyed. Children are forbidden to fly kites, or sing
songs, or build snowmen. A girl of seven is beaten for wearing white shoes.
Our enemies have brought only misery and terror to the people of Afghanistan
-- and now they are trying to export that terror throughout the world.
Al Qaeda operates in more than 60 nations, including some in Central and Eastern
Europe. These terrorist groups seek to destabilize entire nations and regions.
They are seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Given the means,
our enemies would be a threat to every nation and, eventually, to civilization
So we're determined to fight this evil, and fight until we're rid of it. We
will not wait for the authors of mass murder to gain the weapons of mass destruction.
We act now, because we must lift this dark threat from our age and save generations
The people of my nation are now fighting this war at home. We face a second
wave of terrorist attacks in the form of deadly anthrax that has been sent through
the U.S. mail. Our people are responding to this new threat with alertness and
calm. Our government is responding to treat the sick, provide antibiotics to
those who have been exposed and track down the guilty, whether abroad or at
And we fight abroad with our military, with the help of many nations, because
the Taliban regime of Afghanistan refused to turn over the terrorists. And we're
making good progress in a just cause. Our efforts are directed at terrorist
and military targets because -- unlike our enemies -- we value human life. We
do not target innocent people, and we grieve for the difficult times the Taliban
have brought to the people of their own country.
Our military is systematically pursuing its mission. We've destroyed many terrorist
training camps. We have severed communication links. We're taking out air defenses,
and now we're attacking the Taliban's front lines.
I've seen some news reports that many Afghanistan citizens wish the Taliban
had never allowed the al Qaeda terrorists into their country. I don't blame
them. And I hope those citizens will help us locate the terrorists -- because
the sooner we find them, the better the people's lives will be. It may take
a long time, but no matter how long it takes, those who killed thousands of
Americans and citizens from over 80 other nations will be brought to justice,
and the misuse of Afghanistan as a training ground for terror will end.
As I've said from the start, this is a difficult struggle, of uncertain duration.
We hunt an enemy that hides in shadows and caves. We are at the beginning of
our efforts in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan is the beginning of our efforts
in the world. No group or nation should mistake America's intentions: We will
not rest until terrorist groups of global reach have been found, have been stopped,
and have been defeated. And this goal will not be achieved until all the world's
nations stop harboring and supporting such terrorists within their borders.
The defeat of terror requires an international coalition of unprecedented scope
and cooperation. It demands the sincere, sustained actions of many nations against
the network of terrorist cells and bases and funding. Later this week, at the
United Nations, I will set out my vision of our common responsibilities in the
war on terror. I will put every nation on notice that these duties involve more
than sympathy or words. No nation can be neutral in this conflict, because no
civilized nation can be secure in a world threatened by terror.
I thank the many nations of Europe, including our NATO allies, who have offered
military help. I also thank the nations who are sharing intelligence and working
to cut off terrorist financing. And I thank all of you for the important, practical
work you are doing at this conference. The war against terrorism will be won
only when we combine our strengths.
We have a vast coalition that is uniting the world and increasingly isolating
the terrorists -- a coalition that includes many Arab and Muslim countries.
I am encouraged by what their leaders are saying. The head of the 22 nation
Arab League rejected the claims of the terrorist leader and said he -- Osama
bin Laden -- "doesn't speak in the name of Arabs and Muslims." Increasingly,
it is clear that this is not just a matter between the United States and the
terror network. As the Egyptian Foreign Minister said, "There is a war
between bin Laden and the whole world."
All of us here today understand this: We do not fight Islam, we fight against
I thank all of our coalition partners, and all of you, for your steadfast support.
The last time I was in Warsaw, I talked of our shared vision of a Europe that
is whole and free and at peace. I said we are building a House of Freedom, whose
doors are open to all of Europe's people, and whose windows look out to global
opportunities beyond. Now that vision has been challenged, but it will not change.
With your help, our vision of peace and freedom will be realized. And with your
help, we will defend the values we hold in common.
Thank you for joining us. And may God bless you all.