Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

President Bush Addresses Troops in Kentucky

Aired November 21, 2001 - 13:48   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush there to congratulate and thank the troops. Let's -- you can see how happy they are to see him. This is the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, otherwise known as the 101st Screaming Eagles.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

(APPLAUSE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all very much.

(APPLAUSE)

At ease. Thank you all very much.

Laura and I are proud, really proud, to be with the men and women of the finest army in the whole world.

(APPLAUSE)

This Thanksgiving, Americans are especially thankful for our freedom, and we are especially thankful to you, the people who keep us free.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank your general, Commander Cody...

(APPLAUSE)

... for his hospitality and for his leadership. I took a good look at him. I'm glad he's on my side, and I'm glad you are as well.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank General Ellis (ph). General Ellis (ph) has got a huge job, and we called upon a good man to accomplish that job.

I want thank Sergeant Major Clifford West.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank the governors from the states represented here at Fort Campbell: Governor Paul Patton and Governor Don Sundquist, from Kentucky and Tennessee.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank the senators who are here with us from the two states: Senator Mitch McConnell, my good friend. I hope to see him in D.C. for a lot of years coming.

And I want to thank Jim Bunning. He was telling me he thought my fast ball, when I threw it at Yankee Stadium, had a little zip on it.

(APPLAUSE)

Nothing like his fast balls.

(LAUGHTER)

I want to thank Senator Fred Thompson and Senator Bill Frist, two fine United States senators from Tennessee.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank Congressman Bryant from Tennessee for being here as well.

All these men respect and support the United States military. And they represent the best of our country in the halls of our Congress.

Congressman Ed Whitfield, who represents this district, wanted to be here today, but he's spending the holiday with the U.S. service men and women from Kentucky, who are stationed in Kosovo.

(APPLAUSE)

They're in our prayers this Thanksgiving, as are all the troops overseas.

And I want to thank Congressman Whitfield's dad, Mr. E.O. (ph) Whitfield, for coming here in his stead.

(LAUGHTER)

Sounds like E.O. (ph) brought his wife.

(LAUGHTER)

We are honored to be at the home of the 101st Airborne.

(APPLAUSE)

I got two words I want to say to you: air assault.

(APPLAUSE)

I met some of you all when I visited Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. Some of you invited me to your home. I came and I'm glad I'm here. I will always remember this as the day I ate turkey with the Screaming Eagles.

(APPLAUSE)

More than 3,000 soldiers from this post had been deployed to Kosovo for six-month rotations. They kept supplies away from rebels in Macedonia, made the recent election in Kosovo possible. I'm glad to report that all of them from this base will be home by Thanksgiving.

And there are other fine units that call Fort Campbell home, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the 5th Special Forces Group.

(APPLAUSE)

Other essential groups that shall remain nameless.

(LAUGHTER)

All America is especially grateful -- especially grateful for the sacrifice of our military families: the husbands and wives or sons and daughters, the mothers and dads. Some of you have loved ones that are deployed or will be deployed far from home in a war against terror and evil. And our nation and the world are counting on your loved ones. They're making us secure and they are making us proud.

Men and women of Fort Campbell, your country and your president are proud of you as well. The 101st Airborne -- the 101st Airborne is living out its motto. Once again, you have a rendezvous with destiny.

(APPLAUSE)

And so does our country. We're freedom's home and defender, and today we're the target of freedom's enemies. Our enemies are evil and they're ruthless. They have no conscience. They have no mercy. They have killed thousands of our citizens and seek to kill many more.

They seek to overthrow friendly governments to force America to retreat from the world. They seek weapons of mass destruction. But we're seeking them.

(APPLAUSE)

We're fighting them, and one by one we're bringing them to justice.

(APPLAUSE)

We fight now -- this great nation fights now to save ourselves and our children from living in a world of fear. We fight now because we will not permit the terrorists, these vicious and evil men, to hijack a peaceful religion and to impose their will on America and the world. We fight now, and we will keep on fighting until our victory is complete.

(APPLAUSE) We cannot know every turn this war will take, but I'm confident of the outcome. I believe in the strong resolve of the American people. I believe good triumphs over evil. And I believe in the fearless hearts of the United States military.

(APPLAUSE)

We fight the terrorists and we fight all of those who give them aid. America has a message for the nations of the world: If you harbor terrorists, you are a terrorist; if you train or arm a terrorist, you are a terrorist; if you feed a terrorist or fund a terrorist, you're a terrorist, and you will be held accountable by the United States and our friends.

(APPLAUSE)

The Taliban know that.

Our military forces and the forces of our allies and many Afghans seeking a better future are liberating Afghanistan. And the Afghan people are celebrating. Today, 27 of 30 Afghanistan provinces are no longer under Taliban control.

(APPLAUSE)

We've cut the Taliban and terrorist lines of communication and they're on the run.

We've made a good start in Afghanistan, yet there is still a lot to be done. There are still terrorists on the loose in Afghanistan. And we will find and destroy their network piece by piece.

The most difficult steps in this mission still lie ahead, where enemies hide in sophisticated cave complexes located in some of the most mountainous and rugged territory. These hideouts are heavily fortified and defended by fanatics who will fight to the death.

Unlike efforts to liberate a town or destroy Taliban equipment, success against these cells may come more slowly. But we'll prevail. We'll prevail with the combination of good information, decisive action and great military skill.

(APPLAUSE)

The enemy -- the enemy hopes they can hide until we tire. But we're going to prove them wrong. We will never tire and we will hunt them down.

(APPLAUSE)

The Afghan people deserve a just and stable government and we will work with the United Nations to help them build it. Our diplomats in the region, in Europe and New York and in Washington, are in communications with all parties.

We're urging them to move quickly toward a government that is broadly based, multi-ethnic, and protects the rights and dignity of all Afghan citizens, including women.

Winter's coming, and years of drought and Taliban misrule have placed many Afghans on the brink of starvation. We will work with the world to bring them food and medicine. While we fight evil, this great country will help those who suffer.

Afghanistan is just the beginning on the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten American and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all these threats are defeated. Across the world, and across the years, we will fight these evil ones and we will win.

(APPLAUSE)

Great causes are not easy causes. There's a long way from Bunker Hill to Yorktown. It was a long way from the 101st from Normandy to final victory over fascism in Europe. When wronged, our great nation has always been patient and determined and relentless. And that's the way we are today. We have defeated enemies of freedom before, and we will defeat them again.

(APPLAUSE)

And this struggle must be won at home, in our own cities, on our own soil.

A lot of good people -- police officers, FBI agents, intelligence agents and health officials -- are working hard to protect Americans from new threats and Americans are being vigilant themselves.

No matter what lies ahead, we'll be alert, we'll be careful and we'll never be intimidated.

(APPLAUSE)

We're proud Americans and we'll live like Americans. We'll travel. We'll build on our prosperity. We'll live the lives of free people.

Yet make no mistake about it: Wars are not won on the home front alone. Wars are won by taking the fight to the enemy.

(APPLAUSE)

America's not waiting for terrorists to try to strike us again. Wherever they hide, wherever they plot, we will strike the terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

This mission will require sacrifice by our men and women in uniform. America appreciates that sacrifice. And I make a promise in return: Our military will have everything you need to win in the long battle that lies ahead. You'll have every resource, every weapon, every possible tool to ensure full victory for the cause of freedom.

(APPLAUSE)

These have been hard months for Americans, yet this Thanksgiving we have so much to be thankful for. We're thankful for the love of our families. We're thankful for the goodness and generosity of our fellow citizens. We're thankful for the freedoms of our countries. And we're so very thankful to you, the men and women who wear our uniform.

Thanks to you, the people of Afghanistan have the hope of a better life. Thanks to you, many Afghan women are walking in public again and walking with dignity. Thanks to you, eight humanitarian aid workers, including two Americans, are free today instead of sitting in a Taliban jail.

(APPLAUSE)

Thanks to you every nation is seeing what will happen if you cash your lot with the terrorists. Thanks to you there is less fear in the world, and more freedom, and more hope, and a better chance for peace.

Every one of you is dedicated to something greater than yourself. You put your country ahead our your comfort. You live by a code, and you fight for a cause. And I'm honored to be your commander in chief.

(APPLAUSE)

I want to thank you all for such a warm greeting. I want to thank your service to a great nation.

May God bless the men and women who wear our uniform, and may God bless America.

(APPLAUSE)

WOODRUFF: President Bush speaking at Fort Campbell, Kentucky to the men and women of the 101st Airborne Division of the Army and other special operations and special forces he singled out there in the audience. And he said as well some other groups, special groups, that will remain nameless.

The president once again describing the terrorist enemy of the United States as ruthless, without conscious, no mercy. He said we fight them one by one and we will bring them to justice.

In Afghanistan the president said that out of 30 Afghan provinces, 27 of them are no longer under Taliban control. He said, "We have cut the lines of communication with the al Qaeda network on the ground." He said -- but he went on to say, "We have made a good start in Afghanistan, but there's still a lot to be done. The most difficult task lies ahead. Terrorist are hiding in caves and elsewhere. And indeed the war against terrorism will go on in other nations around the world."

Joining me to talk about some of what the president had to say: Here with me in Washington, retired Air Force General Don Shepperd. And joining us from Chicago -- are you in Chicago General Grange? RETIRED GENERAL DAVID GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Sure am.

WOODRUFF: OK. Good to see you. I wanted to get that straight.

To you first, General Grange, when the president talks about -- we've been hearing that it is much harder to go after al Qaeda, to find bin Laden, now presumably that he is hiding in the hills and the caves and so forth. Do you have any doubt in your mind that, as the president has said time and again, that U.S. forces will find him, Osama bin Laden?

GRANGE: No doubt in my mind at all. No doubt in my mind at all.

If you notice the responses from the soldiers there in the audience with the president of the United States, their commander in chief, you noticed just the look of the soldiers, how well they looked. Their response at the word hooah, what that means and the way -- the inflection in their voice and the way they said hooah. If I was bin Laden or any of the al Qaeda terrorist network, I would be a little nervous right now if I watched this show.

WOODRUFF: What does it mean, that cry?

GRANGE: Hooah?

WOODRUFF: Yes.

GRANGE: It depends on how you say it. If you received an order -- this is very important. If you received the order to do something, but you really not too excited to do it, you might say hooah. If you received the order and you're very excited about it -- hooah. If you're ready to go get bin Laden, it's hooah!

So, that's the kind of response that those soldiers had with the president of the United States, and that really means a lot. You have to kind of look into that when you listen to soldiers receive their commander in chief or any commander.

WOODRUFF: Well it was important for us to get that personal demonstration. We may call on you to do that again.

(LAUGHTER)

General Grange -- General Don Shepperd joining us here also in Washington. I want to ask you about this notion of taking this war against terrorism beyond Afghanistan. What does the administration have in mind here? I know -- without revealing planning secrets and so forth -- what are the options at this point?

RETIRED MAJOR GENERAL DON SHEPPERD, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it's no secret to me, Judy. Basically, what the president says: If you harbor terrorists, if you train or organize them, if you feed or fund them, we are coming for you. You know who you are and we are coming is what he says to all of us. And he said it from the very beginning. There is no doubt in my mind that he is setting the stage for a long, wide and very deep war against terrorism. Everybody is thinking Iraq, that Iraq is going to be next. It may or may not. They don't know, and we're not yet being told. But if you are serious about terrorism, you must go to Iraq. It may not be militarily. It may not be next. It may be financially through the U.N., what have you. But you are going to Iraq. Chem: they've used it. Bio: they had it in the Gulf War. Nuclear: they were about to get it long ago and they are looking for it. So, if you are serious, you are going to go to Iraq at some point.

WOODRUFF: David Grange, as someone who's, of course, had a long career in the military, it's one thing to go into Afghanistan when the evidence is pretty clear to just about everyone that the al Qaeda network was behind the attacks of September the 11th.

But to take the fight, at this level of intensity, to these other countries, what does the administration have to provide any more of a rationale than what they already have and this sort of thing we just heard from General Shepperd?

GRANGE: I think General Shepperd is correct. We have plenty of evidence I think so far. The undersecretary of state for arms control has said there's no doubt that these capabilities exist or are being pursued by Saddam Hussein and his regime.

And there's other places where terrorists are still being harbored, where they train. They are keeping a very low profile right now and, frankly, I don't blame them. But, we are going to have to go to several other places. And it's -- we don't really have a big military. It's a motivated military. It has a lot of experience, some good equipment, though a lot of the equipment is getting very old.

But it's a small military if you are going to employ it globally. I think that today, actually any day of the year, there's over -- there's armed forces of the United States of America over in 100 nations doing operations, humanitarian assistance, peace support operations, small scale contingencies, evacuation of embassies -- whatever the case may be -- keeping sea lines or land lines, air lines of communication open for commerce -- very, very tough requirements for our forces. And as we take this war to a bigger step, it's going to really strain the military. They can do it, but it's really going to have to be resourced.

WOODRUFF: Are you talking about more people, more recruits or even a draft?

GRANGE: Well, I'm saying we definitely have a shortage of people. I know that the military -- and I'll talk specifically about the Army -- was stretched very thin two years ago when I retired. Units were going from one place to another constantly. And it was much -- it was the last 10 years of my 30 years that I was much busier than I was the first 20.

And so I think we are going to need more people. I know we need some new equipment. And you just can't keep people deployed every day of the year constantly. You have to have some kind of a rotational basis. And I'm talking about all the armed forces that are going to be involved.

WOODRUFF: What's your take on that, General Shepperd, from a retired Air Force point of view?

SHEPPERD: Well, I think Dave is right.

We've suffered as a military from appropriate cuts after the Soviet Union went away. We're a very small military now and we all suffer from a lack of modernization. We have a modernization backlog in every service. The service chiefs, earlier this year, asked for $100 billion extra, about $30 billion per service, just to modernize.

Now if you add on top of that a real war, worldwide, for instance, the next 10 years in many places, you're stretched very thin. Now whether or not it requires a draft, we certainly don't need it now. But, basically, this is going to require a lot more money to be spent on the military.

Judy: All right.

Also joining us from Fort Campbell, where President Bush just finished speaking, our White House correspondent Kelly Wallace.

Kelly, I want to ask you about the president's words. He said, again, he said Afghan is just the beginning of the war on terrorism. He talked about terrorists being and operating in other countries. "We won't be secure as nation until all these threats are eliminated."

Is this -- I mean, help me understand -- does this pretty much restating what the president has said before or is he taking this farther today and saying, in the clearest terms yet, that this war -- we are going elsewhere?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, I think, really, he is doing two things.

Number one, restating what he has said before but doing in a different context. You know, the U.S. military has definitely seen great successes over the past week or so in Afghanistan. There's obviously a concern in the administration wanting to make sure that the American people don't get overconfident about the next phase in Afghanistan. You heard the president say himself, going after members of the al Qaeda group, members who often hide out in caves and fanatically defend themselves in those caves, that this -- hunting down these terrorist cells, success won't come easy, but we will prevail. Back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly.

(INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top