Mass Murderer ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’

Day 7 (September 17th, 2001)

As Rescue efforts continue around the clock, Washington heats up with words from the President. Also today we are getting a clearer picture of how the war on terrorism is shaping up and how long the effort may take. According to polls those in the nation are geared up for war and many are enlisting, but as we are seeing, patience and strategy is the key for what could be a very long war.

THE PRESIDENT: Last Tuesday — last week, I spoke clearly about our nation’s policy. And that is, we’re going to find those who — those evil-doers, those barbaric people who attacked our country and we’re going to hold them accountable, and we’re going to hold the people who house them accountable; the people who think they can provide them safe havens will be held accountable; the people who feed them will be held accountable.

And the Taliban must take my statement seriously.

Q: Mr. President, is it the case, based on what you’ve said now, that war is inevitable, and can you tell me the American people what that war is going to look like?

THE PRESIDENT: I believe, I know that an act of war was declared against America. But this will be a different type of war than we’re used to. This is — in the past there have been beaches to storm and islands to conquer. We’ve been able to watch on our television screens sophisticated weaponry find a building; and we’ve seen dramatic reports from the front where Pulitzer Prize-to-be winning reporters stood up and declared, the United States is attacked, and all that.

There may be some of that, who knows. But I know that this is a different type of enemy than we’re used to. It’s an enemy that likes to hide and burrow in, and their network is extensive. There are no rules. It’s barbaric behavior. They slit throats of women on airplanes in order to achieve an objective that is beyond comprehension. And they like to hit, and then they like to hide out.

Today the NYSE opened with Mayor Giuliani, Chief of Police, Governor Pataki and other dignitaries. Grasso had two of New York’s finest ring the opening bell. Traders had a rough day, but are still optimistic.

AP Photo

But we’re going to smoke them out. And we’re adjusting our thinking to the new type of enemy. These are terrorists who have no borders. And, by the way, it’s important for the world to understand that we know in America that more than just Americans suffered loss of life in the World Trade Center. People from all kinds of nationalities lost — that’s why the world is rallying to our call to defeat terrorism.

Many world leaders understand that that could have easily — that the attack could have as easily happened on their land. And they also understand that this enemy knows no border. But they know what I know, that when we start putting the heat on those who house them, they will get them running. And once we get them running we have got a good chance of getting them. And that’s exactly what our intent is.

The focus right now is on Osama bin Laden, no question about it. He’s the prime suspect, and his organization. But there are other terrorists in the world. There are people who hate freedom. This is a fight for freedom. This is a fight to say to the freedom-loving people of the world: we will not allow ourselves to be terrorized by somebody who thinks they can hit and hide in some cave somewhere.

It’s going to require a new thought process. And I’m proud to report our military, led by the Secretary of Defense, understands that; understands it’s a new type of war, it’s going to take a long time to win this war. The American people are going to have to be more patient than ever with the efforts of — our combined efforts, not just ourselves, but the efforts of our allies, to get them running and find them and to hunt them down.

But as the Vice President said, you know, Osama bin Laden is just one person. He is representative of networks of people who absolutely have made their cause to defeat the freedoms that we take — that we understand. And we will not allow them to do so.

Q: Do you want bin Laden dead?

THE PRESIDENT: I want justice. There’s an old poster out west, as I recall, that said, "Wanted: Dead or Alive."…

I think that this is a long-term battle, war. There will be battles. But this is long-term. After all, our mission is not just Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda organization. Our mission is to battle terrorism and to join with freedom loving people.

We are putting together a coalition that is a coalition dedicated to declaring to the world we will do what it takes to find the terrorists, to rout them out and to hold them accountable. And the United States is proud to lead the coalition.