Mr. Secretary General,
Mr. President, distinguished delegates and ladies and gentlemen, we meet
in a hall devoted to peace, in a city scarred by violence, in a nation
awakened to danger, in a
world uniting for a long struggle.
Every civilized nation here today is resolved to keep the most basic
commitment of civilization.
We will defend ourselves and our future against terror and lawless
The United Nations was founded in this cause.
In the Second World War, we learned there is no isolation from evil. We
affirmed that some
crimes are so terrible they offend humanity itself, and we resolved that
the aggressions and
ambitions of the wicked must be opposed early, decisively and
collectively before they threaten
us all. That evil has returned, and that cause is renewed.
A few miles from here, many thousands still lie in a tomb of rubble.
Tomorrow the Secretary
General, the president of the General Assembly and I will visit that
site where the names of
every nation and region that lost citizens will be read aloud.
If we were to read the names of every person who died, it would take
more than three hours.
Those names include a citizen of Gambia, whose wife spent their fourth
anniversary, September the 12th, searching in vain for her husband.
Those names include a man who supported his wife in Mexico, sending home
money every week.
Those names include a young Pakistani who prayed toward Mecca five times
a day and died
that day trying to save others.
The suffering of Sept. 11 was inflicted on people of many faiths and
many nations. All of the
victims, including Muslims, were killed with equal indifference and
equal satisfaction by the
The terrorists are violating the tenets of every religion, including the
one they invoke. Last
week, the sheik of Al-Azhar University, the world's oldest Islamic
institution of higher learning,
declared that terrorism is a disease and that Islam prohibits killing
The terrorists call their cause holy, yet they fund it with drug
dealing. They encourage murder
and suicide in the name of a great faith that forbids both. They dare to
ask God's blessing as
they set out to kill innocent men, women and children. But the God of
Isaac and Ishmael would
never answer such a prayer.
And a murderer is not a martyr, he is just a murder. Time is passing.
Yet, for the United States
of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will
remember every rescuer
who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We
will remember the fire
and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.
And the people of my country will remember those who have plotted
against us. We are
learning their names. We are coming to know their faces. There is no
corner of the earth distant
or dark enough to protect them. However long it takes, their hour of
justice will come.
Every nation has a stake in this cause. As we meet, the terrorists are
planning more murder,
perhaps in my country or perhaps in yours. They kill because they aspire
to dominate. They seek
to overthrow governments and destabilize entire regions.
Last week, anticipating this meeting of the General Assembly, they
denounced the United
They called our secretary general a criminal and condemned all Arab
nations here as traitors
Few countries meet their exacting standards of brutality and oppression.
Every other country is
a potential target, and all the world faces the most horrifying prospect
of all: These same
terrorists are searching for weapons of mass destruction, the tools to
turn their hatred into
They can be expected to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons the
moment they are
capable of doing so. No hint of conscience would prevent it. This threat
cannot be ignored.
This threat cannot be appeased. Civilization itself, the civilization we
share, is threatened.
History will record our response and judge or justify every nation in
this hall. The civilized world
is now responding. We act to defend ourselves and deliver our children
from a future of fear.
We choose the dignity of
life over a culture of death. We choose lawful change and civil
disagreement over coercion, subversion and chaos.
These commitments - hope and order, law and life - unite people across
continents. Upon these commitments depend all peace and progress. For
we are determined to fight.
The United Nations has risen to this responsibility. On the 12th of
September, these buildings
opened for emergency meetings of the General Assembly and the Security
Council. Before the
sun had set, these attacks on the world stood condemned by the world.
And I want to thank you for this strong and principled stand.
I also thank the Arab and Islamic countries that have condemned
terrorist murder. Many of
you have seen the destruction of terror in your own lands. The
terrorists are increasingly
isolated by their own hatred and extremism.
They cannot hide behind Islam. The authors of mass murder and their
allies have no place in
any culture and no home in any faith.
The conspiracies of terror are being answered by an expanding global
coalition. Not every nation
will be a part of every action against the enemy, but every nation in
our coalition has duties.
These duties can be demanding, as we in America are learning. We have
adjustments in our laws and in our daily lives. We're taking new
measures to investigate terror
and to protect against threats. The leaders of all nations must now
carefully consider their
responsibilities and their future.
Terrorist groups like al-Qaida depend upon the aid or indifference of
governments. They need
the support of a financial infrastructure and safe havens to train and
plan and hide.
Some nations want to play their part in the fight against terror but
tell us they lack
the means to enforce their laws and control their borders. We stand
ready to help.
Some government still turn a blind eye to the terrorists, hoping the
threat will pass them by.
They are mistaken.
And some governments, while pledging to uphold the principles of the
U.N. have cast their lot
with the terrorists. They support them and harbor them, and they will
find that their welcomed
guests are parasites that will weaken them and eventually consume them.
For every regime that sponsors terror, there is a price to be paid, and
it will be paid. The allies
of terror are equally guilty of murder and equally accountable to
justice. The Taliban are now
learning this lesson. That regime and the terrorists who support it are
Together, they promote terror abroad and impose a reign of terror on the
Women are executed in Kabul's soccer stadium. They can be beaten for
wearing socks that are
too thin. Men are jailed for missing prayer meetings.
The United States, supported by many nations, is bringing justice to the
Afghanistan We're making progress against military targets, and that is
our objective. Unlike
the enemy, we seek to minimize, not maximize the loss of innocent life.
I'm proud of the honorable conduct of the American military.
And my country grieves for all the suffering the Taliban have brought
including the terrible burden of war.
The Afghan people do not deserve their present rulers. Years of Taliban
misrule have brought
nothing but misery and starvation. Even before this current crisis, 4
million Afghans depended
on food from the United States and other nations, and millions of
Afghans were refugees from
I make this promise to all the victims of that regime: The Taliban's
days of harboring terrorists
and dealing in heroin and brutalizing women are drawing to a close. And
when that regime is
gone, the people of Afghanistan will say with the rest of the world,
I can promise, too, that America will join the world in helping the
people of Afghanistan rebuild
their country. Many nations, including mine, are sending food and
medicine to help Afghans
through the winter.
America has airdropped over 1.3 million packages of rations into
Afghanistan. Just this week,
we airlifted 20,000 blankets and over 200 tons of provisions into the
We continue to provide humanitarian aid, even while the Taliban tried to
steal the food we sent.
More help eventually will be needed. The United States will work closely
with the United Nations
and development banks to reconstruct Afghanistan after hostilities there
have ceased and the
Taliban are no longer in control. And the United States will work with
the U.N. to support a
post-Taliban government that represents all of the Afghan people.
In this war of terror, each of us must answer for what we have done or
what we have left
After tragedy, there is a time for sympathy and condolence. And my
country has been very
grateful for both. The memorials and vigils around the world will not be
forgotten, but the time
for sympathy has now passed. The time for action has now arrived.
The most basic obligations in this new conflict have already been
defined by the United Nations.
On Sept. 28, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1373. It's
requirements are clear. Every
United Nations member has a responsibility to crack down on terrorist
financing. We must pass
all necessary laws in our own countries to allow the confiscation of
We must apply those laws to every financial institution in every nation.
We have a responsibility
to share intelligence and coordinate the efforts of law enforcement. If
you know something, tell
us. If we know something, we'll tell you. And when we find the
terrorists, we must work together
to bring them to justice.
We have a responsibility to deny any sanctuary, safe haven or transit to
known terrorist camp must be shut down, its operators apprehended and
evidence of their
arrest presented to the United Nations. We have a responsibility to deny
weapons to terrorists
and to actively prevent private citizens from providing them.
These obligations are urgent, and they are binding on every nation with
a place in this chamber.
Many governments are taking these obligations seriously, and my country
Yet, even beyond Resolution 1373, more is required and more is expected
of our coalition against
We're asking for a comprehensive commitment to this fight.
We must unite in opposing all terrorists, not just some of them.
In this world, there are good causes and bad causes, and we may disagree
on where that line is
drawn. Yet, there is no such thing as a good terrorist. No national
aspiration, no remembered
wrong can ever justify the deliberate murder of the innocent. Any
government that rejects this
principle, trying to pick and choose its terrorist friends, will know
We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous
concerning the attacks of September the 11th, malicious lies that
attempt to shift the blame
away from the terrorists themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame
ethnic hatred is to
advance the cause of terror.
The war against terror must not serve as an excuse to persecute ethnic
and religious minorities
in any country. Innocent people must be allowed to live their own lives,
by their own customs,
under their own religion.
And every nation must have avenues for the peaceful expression of
opinion and dissent. When
these avenues are closed, the temptation to speak through violence
We must press on with our agenda for peace and prosperity in every land.
My country has pledged to encouraging development and expanding trade.
My country had
pledged to investing in education and combating AIDS and other
infectious diseases around the
Following Sept. 11, these pledges are even more important. In our
struggle against hateful
groups that exploit poverty and despair, we must offer an alternative of
opportunity and hope.
The American government also stands by its commitment to a just peace in
the Middle East. We
are working toward the day when two states - Israel and Palestine - live
within secure and recognized borders as called for by the Security
We will do all in our power to bring both parties back into
negotiations. But peace will only
come when all have sworn off forever incitement, violence and terror.
And finally, this struggle is a defining moment for the United Nations
itself. And the world needs
its principled leadership. It undermines the credibility of this great
institution, for example, when
the Commission on Human Rights offers seats to the world's most
persistent violators of human
rights. The United Nations depends above all on its moral authority and
that authority must be
The steps I've described will not be easy. For all nations, they will
require effort. For some
nations, they will require great courage. Yet, the cost of inaction is
far greater. The only
alternative to victory is a nightmare world, where every city is a
potential killing field.
As I've told the American people, freedom and fear are at war. We face
enemies that hate not
our policies but our existence, the tolerance of openness and creative
culture that defines us.
But the outcome of this conflict is certain. There is a current in
history, and it runs toward
Our enemies resent it and dismiss it, but the dreams of mankind are
defined by liberty, the
natural right to create and build and worship and live in dignity. When
men and women are
released from oppression and isolation, they find fulfillment and hope,
and they leave poverty
by the millions.
These aspirations are lifting up the peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa and
the Americas, and they
can lift up all of the Islamic world. We stand for the permanent hopes
of humanity, and those
hopes will not be denied.
We are confident, too, that history has an author who fills time and
eternity with his purpose.
We know that evil is real, but good will prevail against it. This is the
teaching of many faiths.
And in that assurance, we gain strength for a long journey. It is our
task, the task of this
generation, to provide the response to aggression and terror. We have no
because there is no other peace.
We did not ask for this mission, yet there is honor in history's call.
We have a chance to write
the story or our times, a story of courage defeating cruelty and light
This calling is worthy of any life and worthy of every nation.
So let us go forward, confident, determined and unafraid.
Thank you very much.