Bush vows to rid the world of 'evil-doers'
By Manuel Perez-Rivas
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President George W. Bush said Sunday he is confident the nation will rebound from the week's terrorist attacks, and he urged Americans to go back to work on Monday knowing that their government is determined to "rid the world of the evil-doers."
"Tomorrow, when you get back to work, work hard like you always have. But we've been warned. We've been warned there are evil people in this world. We've been warned so vividly," Bush said. "And we'll be alert. Your government is alert. The governors and mayors are alert that evil folks still lurk out there. As I said yesterday, people have declared war on America and they have made a terrible mistake."
"My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers," he said.
Bush spoke at the White House Sunday afternoon, standing alongside the first lady as he returned from Camp David. He spent much of the weekend huddled with his National Security Council and on the phone with foreign leaders, working to build an international coalition to fight terrorism and nations that support it.
Over the weekend, the president stepped up his comments about the crisis facing the nation in the aftermath of Tuesday's attacks in which four commercial jets were hijacked and used as missiles against some of the nation's most symbolic landmarks.
Two of the jets crashed into the World Trade Center, leading to the collapse of the two famous 110-story buildings, another destroyed part of the Pentagon and the fourth crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania, apparently on its way to Washington.
'We'll show the world'
Bush said the world will be surprised at how quickly the nation will rebound, and he expressed security that the nation's economy will withstand the blow. "I've never had more faith in America than I have right now," he said.
"People will be amazed at how quickly we rebuild New York. How quickly people come together to really wipe away the rubble and show the world that we're still the strongest nation in the world," he said. "The markets open tomorrow. People go back to work. And we'll show the world."
Bush has called the attacks an act of war, and on Friday, Congress authorized the use of force against those responsible.
On Sunday, the president again said the prime suspect in the attacks is Osama bin Laden, the exiled Saudi multimillionaire who is believed to be responsible for a series of terrorist attacks against the U.S. in recent years through his al Qaeda organization.
After meeting with Bush at Camp David, top cabinet officials fanned out during the morning Sunday to spread the word on television talk shows and in news briefings with reporters that the coming struggle would be one unlike any previously faced by the United States, against an enemy that operates in the shadows. It's a war that will involve much more than just the military, and will likely take years to complete.
"It will take a broad, sustained effort that will have to use our diplomatic, our political, our economic, our financial strength, as well as our military strength," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, speaking with reporters. "It will take time. It's not a matter of days or weeks. It's years. It's going to take the support of the American people and I have every confidence it'll be there."
Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, echoed Rumsfeld's comments about the length of the effort at hand. "I think this is going to be a struggle that the United States is going to be involved in for the foreseeable future," he said. "There's not going to be an end date when we're going to say, 'There, it's all over with.' It's going to require constant vigilance on our part to avoid problems in the future, but it's also going to require a major effort and obviously quite possibly the use of military force," he said.
Bush made the same point during his remarks at the White House. "This crusade, this war on terrorism is gonna take awhile. And the American people must be patient. I'm gonna be patient," Bush said.
A focus on intelligence
In comments at a variety of different forums, top White House officials gave indications that much of the effort ahead will be borne by the intelligence community.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said on CNN that the administration is reviewing all CIA rules, and considering lifting the agency's ban on assassinations and easing restrictions requiring that informants be screened for criminal histories.
Meanwhile, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he will present Congress with a legislative package this week to strengthen the government's legal arsenal against terrorists. The package, he said, will include stiffening penalties for people found to have harbored or assisted terrorists and broadening the government's rights to wiretap telephones.
All of this, officials said, is necessary because the nature of the nation's new enemy is different from the conventional enemies of past wars. Comments the president reiterated on Sunday.
"We haven't seen this kind of barbarism in a long period of time," Bush said. "This is a new kind of evil."
The new enemy works in the shadows, Rumsfeld said. "The terrorists who are attacking our way of life do not have armies, navies or air forces. They do not have capitals. They do not have high-value targets that the typical weapons of war can go in and attack."
But, the secretary of defense noted, nations that support them do. The first nation in the sights of the administration is Afghanistan, in whose treacherous, mountainous terrain bin Laden is believed to be hiding.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Taliban government, which controls most of Afghanistan will have a clear choice to make. "They will have to make their choice whether they want to be on the receiving end on the full wrath of the United States and others, or whether they want to get rid of this curse that they have within their country," Powell said.
"You either respond and rip them up, help us rip them up, get rid of them, or you will suffer consequences," he said.
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