Text: President Bush Addresses the U.N.- "there is no such thing as a good
terrorist. No national aspiration...can ever justify the deliberate murder
of the innocent."
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2001
Following is the text of President Bush's address to the United Nations
eMediaMillWorks [from the Washington Post website]
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
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 violence.
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 loss
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
wedding 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 September 11 was inflicted on people of many faiths and
many nations. All of the victims, including Muslims, were killed equal
indifference and equal satisfaction by the terrorist leaders.
The terrorists are violating the tenets of every religion, including the one
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 innocent civilians.
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 Ismail would never answer such
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 Nations. They called our secretary general a criminal and
condemned all Arab nations here as traitors to Islam.
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 holocaust.
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
cultures and continents. Upon these commitments depend all peace and
progress. For these commitments 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
already made 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 Qaeda 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
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 now virtually
Together, they promote terror abroad and impose a reign of terror on the
Afghan people. Women are executed in Kabul's soccer stadium. They can be
beaten for wearing socks that are too thin. Men are jailed for missing
The United States, supported by many nations, is bringing justice to the
terrorists in 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 upon Afghanistan,
including the terrible burden of war.
The Afghan people do not deserve their present rulers. Years of Taliban
mis-rule 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 Taliban
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, ``Good riddance.''
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 region. 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 undone.
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 September 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 terrorist
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
terrorists. Every 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 appreciates it.
Yet, even beyond Resolution 1373, more is required and more is expected of
our coalition against terror.
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 the consequences.
We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous
conspiracy theories 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
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
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 world.
Following September 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 peacefully together within secure and recognized borders as
called for by the Security Council resolutions.
e 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 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 preserved.
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 other choice, 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 the write the story or our times, a story of courage defeating
cruelty and light overcoming darkness. 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.