Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan
Remarks to State Department Employees
October 4, 2001
10:25 A.M. EDT
Thank you very much. Please be seated. Thank you all. Mr. Secretary, I'm honored
you invited me back. (Laughter.) I'm glad to be back to be able to say thanks
on behalf of the American people to the patriots who work for our Department
of State. Thanks for your hard work. Thanks for your dedication. Thanks for
your love of America.
I'm also here to announce an initiative to help the Afghan people in a time
of crisis and in a time of need. America will stand strong and will oppose the
sponsors of terror. And America will stand strong and help those people who
are hurt by those regimes.
Mr. Secretary, I am proud of your leadership. Last time I came, I predicted
you would be a great Secretary of State. You have not let me down. (Applause.)
And neither have the folks who work at the State Department; not only here in
Washington, but in embassies throughout the world. America is proud of your
service. And America is comforted by the fact that we are united as we stand
to fight terror.
We are engaged in a noble cause. And that is to say loud and clear to the evildoers
that we reject you, that we will stand firm against terror, and that this great
nation, along with many other nations, will defend freedom.
I want to thank those of you who have worked extra long hours to help forge
this fantastic coalition that we're building, a coalition of people all around
the world who understand that the evil acts could have happened to them, just
like they happened to us.
People understand that now is the time to take a stand, to seize this moment,
to say that out of this evil act will come good. And the State Department has
helped lead the way. And I'm proud of your efforts. And I'm proud of your hard
After all, many of you understand the effects of terror. We had two of our embassies
bombed. Your colleagues were injured and died. I mean, the State Department
has been on the front line of battling terror and the front line of seeing the
effects of terror. And the American people appreciate the heroism of the people
who serve our country overseas.
This is a unique type of war. It's a war that is going to require us building
a broad coalition of nations who will contribute, one way or the other, to make
sure that we all win. Some nations may be willing to commit troops, if that's
a decision that we make. Other nations will help in cutting off funding. Truth
of the matter is, the first shot we fired in this war against evildoers was
when the Secretary and I and the Secretary of Treasury said we're going to find
their money, and we're going to starve them of their money.
We're going to find their bank accounts, and we will freeze them. We're going
to talk to banks all around the world, and make it clear that if they are on
our side, if they join the folks who are fighting evil, that they've got to
do everything they can to cut off their funds. When we starve them of their
funds, we starve them of their capacity to move against freedom.
I'm proud of the coalitions that we've built. I'm proud of the fact that the
Secretary of State and the able team here at the State Department is a results-oriented
group of folks.
We've said, not only join the coalition, we've said here's what we expect you
to do. Here is your assignment. One of the things the American people appreciate
about our administration is that we're results-oriented folks, that we expect
there to be results. We expect if you're on our team, that we want your performance.
And it's making a difference.
As I announced the other day, we've collectively rounded up 150 terrorists,
people associated with the al Qaeda organization. Thanks to the Secretary of
State's work and others' work and the work of people around the world, we've
convinced those who joined our coalition to rout out terrorists, to find them,
to incarcerate them, to question them, to find out what's in their mind and
what their future activities may be. And we're making great progress.
This is a strong coalition. It's a strong coalition because we've got great
leadership, but it's a strong coalition because we're right. Because it's a
strong coalition. Because we've made it clear, this is not a war between Christianity
or Judaism and Islam. As a matter of fact, the teachings of Islam make it clear
that peace is important, that compassion is a part of life. This is a war between
good and evil. And we have made it clear to the world that we will stand strong
on the side of good, and we expect other nations to join us. (Applause.)
This is not a war between our world and their world. It is a war to save the
world. And people now understand that. And I want to thank you for all your
work of making that simple, yet profound, mission clear.
We have no compassion for terrorists in this country. We have no compassion.
Nor will we have any compassion for any state that sponsors them. Oh yes, we're
a compassionate nation, but our compassion is limited. We have great compassion,
however, for the millions around the world who are victims of hate, of victims
of oppressive government, including the people who live in Afghanistan.
Today I'm announcing, along with the Secretary of State, that America will contribute
an additional $320 million in humanitarian assistance for Afghans for more food,
more medicine, to help the innocent people of Afghanistan deal with the coming
winter. This is our way of saying that while we firmly and strongly oppose the
Taliban regime, we are friends of the Afghan people.
We will work with the UN agencies such as the World Food Program and work with
private volunteer organizations to make sure this assistance gets to the people.
We will make sure that not only the folks in Afghanistan who need help get help,
but we will help those who have fled to neighboring countries to get help as
There's no question that we're an angry people about what happened to our country.
But in our anger, we must never forget we're a compassionate people as well.
We will fight evil. But in order to overcome evil, the great goodness of America
must come forth and shine forth. And one way to do so is to help the poor souls
in Afghanistan. And we're going to do so.
I want to remind the world that helping people in need is a central part of
not only the Christian faith, but of Judaism and the Hindu faith, and of course
a central part of Islamic traditions. And that's why our coalition is more than
just one to rout terrorism out of the world. It's one to bind together, to knit
those traditions in a way that helps people in need.
You know, I talked to a lot of world leaders, and Colin has as well. And I told
him, through our tears, we see opportunity, that in our sadness and grief we
see an opportunity to not only defend freedom, but to make the world more peaceful.
I see an opportunity at home when I hear the stories of Christian and Jewish
women alike, helping women of cover, Arab American women go shop because they're
afraid to leave their home. I see a great opportunity when I see moms and dads
spend more time with their children here at home.
I see out of this sadness and grief an opportunity for America to reexamine
our culture, to reexamine how we view the need to help people in need, whether
it be in our own neighborhood and around the world.
I see out of this evil will come good, not only here at home, as youngsters
all of a sudden understand the definition of sacrifice, the sacrifice of those
brave souls on Flight 93 who, after the 23rd Psalm said, let's roll to save
I see an opportunity as well to bring peace to the world, the likes of which
we've never seen. I appreciate the Secretary of State's hard work in the Middle
East. It has been diligent. It has been consistent. It has been true to the
principles of America, that in order for there to be peace, we must reduce the
level of violence.
I see an opportunity to make sure the subcontinent is more peaceful. No, in
our grief and in our sadness, I see an opportunity to make the world a better
place for generations to come. And we will seize the opportunity. I fully understand
that some will grow weary and some will tire. Not this administration, and not
the people of the State Department.
I know there will be some nations that will become frustrated over time because
we're fighting a different kind of campaign. But we won't weary. This is a nation
that has determined, made a determination to rise up in a united way; to not
only spread goodwill around the world, but to find terrorists where they may
live and may hide, and those who harbor them, and bring them to justice. Now
is the time. (Applause.)
Now is the time for this great nation to lead. And I'm proud of the Secretary
of State and the hardworking people of the State Department for joining us in
this cause. Thank you for letting me come by again. May God bless you all, and
may God bless America. (Applause.)