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President Bush Makes Remmarks to 17-Nation Antiterrorism Conference in Warsaw, Poland

Aired November 6, 2001 - 07:10   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Here's the president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 in history. 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've 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're seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Given the means, our enemies would be a threat to every nation and eventually to civilization itself.

So, we're determined to fight this evil and fight until we are rid of it. We will not wait for more innocent deaths. 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 to come.

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 home.

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 Afghan 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 kill 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 a 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've 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're 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'm 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 names 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 against Islam, we fight against evil.

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.

ZAHN: Once again, that was the president wrapping up his remarks to the 17 nation anti-terrorism conference under way in Warsaw, Poland, the president repeating a theme we've heard a lot over the last several weeks, that this war of America and its allies against Osama bin Laden and the terrorists is not a war against Islam but, in fact, a war against evil.

Joining us right now with a very quick reaction is Dr. Henry Kissinger, of course, former secretary of state. Good morning. Welcome.


ZAHN: What stood out to you this morning?

KISSINGER: Well, I thought it was a very powerful speech, a very strong assertion of leadership. The thing that stood out is that the president will outline at the United Nations this Saturday, I think, what is required to continue this fight and that this is not a fight that can be confined to Afghanistan, but that nations, all nations have an obligation to meet certain responsibilities and that simply condemning terrorism is not enough, that all these nations have to do something to win this fight. It was a very powerful speech.

ZAHN: The most interesting thing I think he had to say was when he called reference to the second wave of terrorist attacks that America has suffered and he referred to the anthrax laced letters. There has been some debate whether those anthrax letters were the work of domestic terrorists or foreign grown terrorists. It seems to me the president -- am I making too big of a leap here -- was saying that perhaps that was...

KISSINGER: What is certainly implied and what I think is correct is that whoever the immediate cause of these, of the letter campaign is, can the United States tolerate countries that have used weapons like this before, that we know are building them, that are violating United Nations' sanctions, that are violating the U.N. inspection system and can we wait for a biological attack of any scale and should we take preventive action? That is what is implied to me in this speech.

ZAHN: Dr. Kissinger, if you will be kind enough to stand by, we need to take a short break here and we'll continue our conversation on the other side.

We'll be back with more reaction to the president's speech in just a moment. Please stay with us.


ZAHN: And we're back at just about 25 minutes after the hour to return to our conversation with Dr. Henry Kissinger as he further reacts to what, some of what President Bush had to say earlier today.

The president, of course, harshly condemning Osama bin Laden and making it quite clear that the leaders of some 22 Arab nations are adamantly opposed to him. We knew that already, but there is an important reason why he's saying that, right?

KISSINGER: Right. I'd like to make two points. Osama bin Laden is an evildoer but he's not the only problem. The problem is the state supported terrorism and there are many states that are acquiescing in it, even if they're not actually supporting it. So that is a problem that has to be dealt with.

Secondly on 22 nations supporting us, and many others, the test of the coalition will come when we try to apply the lessons of Afghanistan or the principles of Afghanistan to other nations.

ZAHN: And what are those principles?

KISSINGER: Well, the principles are that you cannot tolerate on your soil terrorist cells, that you are obliged to cut off financial support to them and that at least to this extent, you are responsible for terrorist actions if they occur if you have not done these things that you can do to suppress it in your own territory.

ZAHN: He also... KISSINGER: It doesn't have to be done by force but it must be made clear that you cannot tolerate these cells and at the same time be part of a coalition against terrorism.

ZAHN: Well, let's talk about the coalition, because the president says you've got to do a lot more than have, use, you know, sympathy and words here.


ZAHN: What is he expecting of these other nations?

KISSINGER: Well, I'm sure he's going to...

ZAHN: Military involvement from other nations perspectively?

KISSINGER: I think he's going to spell that out. It doesn't have to be military involvement. The absolute minimum has to be that no nation tolerates headquarters of these terrorist organizations on its soil, that it -- because if these terrorists do not have a headquarters to which they can defer their actions, they could actually become criminals that are being hunted and then they're divided -- then they are no longer the threat that they are when they are coordinating their attacks.

And I'm sure that at some point, and apparently it's soon, we are going to spell out what we think nations should do to be members in good standing of an anti-terrorist coalition and of the consequences if nations refuse to do this, because this is a war we cannot lose. I absolutely agree with the president on that point.

ZAHN: Can you help us understand the time line here? The president made it very clear, "it may take a very long time." You had Donald Rumsfeld traveling to the region earlier this week where he said it could be just months. That was for the consumption over there. And then in a news conference the previous week said hey, look, it took three years to gain control of...

KISSINGER: No, I think they're both, both of these statements are right. I think the acute military campaign is a question of it taking some months. The follow on phase in which then the terrorist networks are broken up, I think, will take longer. But they will not, they do not require the intense military operations that we are seeing now, although the threat of them has to be kept in reserve, otherwise the anti-terrorist coalition could turn into a general talk fest without action.

But one cannot emphasize enough that if this is not sponsored, we are going to see more and more terrorism. We are going to see regimes fall around the world and then our problems will get much worse. And I think the president's leadership is strong and very important here.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate your insights this morning, and of course among the most significant strains of this speech was the comment the president made about America under -- enduring a second wave of terrorism, referring to the anthrax laced letters, which is something we'll be continuing to follow very closely here this morning.

Thank you, as always, Dr. Kissinger.

KISSINGER: Good to see you. Thank you. Nice to see you.




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