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Sunday, December 03, 2023

Bush speaks of ’world’s fight’ in address to Congress

Touching upon themes of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, governmental responses to increase national security, military action, respect toward Muslims and rallying of Americans, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress in a televised speech Thursday. 




Courting international support in the war against terrorism, Bush called upon all nations to join the United States and thanked the countries that have already expressed support. 




'This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom,' Bush said. 'We will ask and we will need the help of police forces, intelligence service, and banking systems around the world.' 




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Addressing the need for domestic unity, Bush called upon Americans to have confidence in the economy and reject the persecution of people because of their ethnicity or religion. Bush also encouraged continued support of the victims of the terrorist acts and their families. 




'Americans are asking: What is expected of us'? Bush said. 'I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat.' 




After discussing the 'radical network of terrorists' and their targets, Bush outlined both domestic and international response plans. 




'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,' he said. 




In addition to the necessity of coordinating federal, state and local efforts to ensure national security, Bush announced the creation of a new cabinet-level position, the Office of Homeland Security, and named Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to fill the post. 




UW-Madison political science Professor Donald Downs both praised Bush's speech and addressed some of its shortcomings. 




'It was very effective and touched a lot of bases. But it does leave a lot of questions hanging,' Downs said. 'Bush emerged as a much more formidable leader.' 




According to Downs, the key points made by Bush include national security, motivations behind terrorists targeting the United States and the methods the United States may use to combat terrorism. 




'It is such a complex situation,' Downs said. 'We have to make sure that we don't make the situation worse. He may be too optimistic about what we can achieve. It will be a difficult war to win.' 




In comparison with speeches made by other presidents during wars, Downs called it, 'one of the best, but not the best.' 




'Roosevelt's speech after Pearl Harbor was brilliant,' Downs said. 'None [of other presidents' speeches] have the momentousness of danger.' 




At the conclusion of his speech, Bush stated that the outcome of this conflict is certain. 




'Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them,' Bush said. 'Fellow citizens, we will meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come.' 






The count of those missing in the World Trade Center attack rose by more than 900 on Thursday, to a total of 6,333, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said, attributing the increase to a surge in reports from foreign nationals.  




But he cautioned that the new total might contain duplicate names, and said city workers were trying to sort out discrepancies.  






Stocks suffered their third steep decline in four sessions Thursday, as appeals for patriotism were overwhelmed by many worried investors' rushes to get out of the market.  




The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 382.92 points, or 4.4 percent, to 8,376.21, its lowest since October 1998.  




Thursday's sell-off, in very heavy trading, brought the Dow's loss to nearly 13 percent since trading resumed Monday. Many blue-chip shares now have fallen between 30 and 50 percent from their peaks reached in the past 18 months. 






Seeking to head off U.S. military strikes, Afghanistan's senior clerics voted Thursday that Osama bin Laden should be invited to voluntarily leave the country. But they stopped short of recommending that the ruling Taliban movement force him to leave or hand him over to U.S. authorities, as the United States had demanded. 




The clerics' resolution was the first step by any Afghan authority to distance itself from bin Laden. 




'This ... council requests the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to persuade Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan and select a new place for himself,' the clerics' resolution declared, according to a report from the Taliban's official Bakhtar news agency. It gave no deadline for such an effort, and it said bin Laden should leave 'of his own free will.' 




Any decision by the clerics must be ratified by the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, a former guerrilla who lost his right eye during Afghanistan's decade of war in the 1980s against occupation by the Soviet Union.  




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