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Bush seeks to reassure Americans in radio address

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush issued a progress report on his war against terrorism during his weekly radio address Saturday, saying that U.S. and British strikes in Afghanistan had "achieved the goals of the first phase of the campaign."

Bush also sought to reassure the nation that the government is taking action to protect against terrorist strikes on U.S. soil. And he renewed his call for Americans to contribute to a fund set up to aid Afghan children "suffering from the oppression and misrule of their own government."

"This is something the children of America can do for the children of Afghanistan, even as we oppose the brutal Taliban regime," the president said. "We will oppose their evil with firm justice, and we will answer their hatred with compassion for the Afghan people."

Bush said the first week of U.S. and British airstrikes had taken "the war to the enemy" and caused widespread disruption to the terrorist network inside Afghanistan and to its ruling Taliban regime.

President Bush describes the U.S. military's successes in strikes against Afghanistan.
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"We have crippled the Taliban's air defenses," he said. "American forces dominate the skies over Afghanistan, and we will use that dominance to make sure terrorists can no longer freely use Afghanistan as a base of operations."

The president also sought to allay the public's fears about further terrorist attacks in the United States.

He pledged the "full support of our entire government" to former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge as he heads up the new Office of Homeland Security.

"I understand that many Americans are feeling uneasy," he said. "But all Americans should be assured: We are taking strong precautions, we are vigilant, we are determined, the country is alert, and the great power of the American nation will be felt."

The president divided his time Saturday morning between keeping apprised of events in Afghanistan and preparing for his upcoming trip to China.

He took part in a videoconference with his national security team. With him were CIA Director George Tenet, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

Bush then met with Rice in preparation for his visit to China next week, where he is to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Finally, the president went for a walk.

-- CNN Producer Megan Shattuck contributed to this report.


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