Text: Bush address to Congress (complete) - September 21, 2001 by BBC

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Extract:Extracts from President George W Bush's historic address to both houses of the US Congress, nine days after New York and Washington were shaken by suicide aircraft attacks.

Mr speaker, Mr president pro tempore, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:

In the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground - passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer.

Please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight.

We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion. We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.

We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people, who have made the grief of strangers their own.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our union, and it is strong. Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom.

Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done...

International support

And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support.

America will never forget the sounds of our national anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, and on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo.

We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America.

Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own. Dozens of Pakistanis. More than 130 Israelis. More than 250 citizens of India. Men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico, and Japan. And hundreds of British citizens.

America has no truer friend than Great Britain. Once again, we are joined together in a great cause. The British prime minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity of purpose with America, and tonight we welcome Tony Blair...

Terrorist organisation

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country?

The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organisations known as al-Qaeda.

They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole.

Al-Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practise a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics, a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.

The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children.

This group and its leader, a person named Osama Bin Laden, are linked to many other organisations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighbourhoods, and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan where they are trained in the tactics of terror.

They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

The leadership of al-Qaeda has great influence in Afghanistan, and supports the Taleban regime in controlling most of that country. In Afghanistan, we see al-Qaeda's vision for the world...

The United States respects the people of Afghanistan. After all, we are currently its largest source of humanitarian aid. But we condemn the Taleban regime.

It is not only repressing its own people, it is threatening people everywhere by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists.

By aiding and abetting murder, the Taleban regime is committing murder. And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taleban:

  • Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaeda who hide in your land.
  • Release all foreign nationals including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned, and protect foreign journalists, diplomats, and aid workers in your country.
  • Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities.
  • Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taleban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.

Islam not the enemy

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world: We respect your faith.

It is practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends.

Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.

The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself.

The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.

Our war on terror begins with al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated.

Americans are asking: Why do they hate us?

They hate what we see right here in this chamber, a democratically elected government.

Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms, our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life.

We are not deceived by their pretences to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th Century.

By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism.

And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies...

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with its decisive liberation of territory and its swift conclusion.

It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat...

Prolonged campaign

Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen.

It may include dramatic strikes, visible on television, and covert operations, secret even in success.

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make.

Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbour or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime...

This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilisation's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom...

The civilised world is rallying to America's side.

They understand that if this terror goes unpunished, their own cities, their own citizens may be next.

Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments. And we will not allow it...

'An age of terror'

I ask you to live your lives and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat...

No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith...

I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy.

Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source...

After all that has just passed all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear.

Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face.

But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world.

Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment.

Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time now depends on us...

Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened.

We will remember the moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing.

Some will remember an image of fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.

And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others.

It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son.

This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end...

The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

Fellow citizens, we will meet violence with patient justice assured of the rightness of our cause, and confident of the victories to come.

In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may He watch over the United States of America.

Thank you.