By Zeb Eckert
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
Posted 9:55 p.m. Sept. 20
In a highly anticipated address to a joint session of Congress Thursday night, President Bush announced the creation of a Cabinet-level position to fight terrorism and pledged a vigorous military campaign against rogue nations.
The President appointed Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to lead the newly-created Office of Homeland Security, aimed to develop a “comprehensive strategy against terrorism.”
Bush condemned the terrorist acts of Sept. 11 and said nations that harbor terrorists would be punished severely.
“We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism,” he
said. “Every nation and every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
The President said American demands to hand over terrorists and uncover networks “are not open to negotiation or discussion.”
In a clear sign of a full military engagement, Bush said he called the armed forces to alert for a reason.
“The hour is coming when America will act and you will make us proud,” he said.
He acknowledged the United States response would involve the support of a number of foreign nations and would likely be a lengthy campaign.
Americans can expect “dramatic strikes and covert operations,” Bush said.
The military response would be unlike the Gulf War and involve a much more concentrated ground approach, he said.
After a number of attacks on Muslims and Arab-Americans across the country, the President emphasized peaceful Muslims are not the enemy.
“We respect your faith,” he said. “Our enemy is a radical network of
terrorists and every government that supports them.”
The President said he hopes American life will soon return to normal and
asked the country to remain strong in a time of great sadness.
“We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We
will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.”
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