Operation: Infinite Justice

Day 9 (September 19th, 2001)

As dignitaries continue to visit the White House in the global effort to stop terrorism, troops are being deployed to the Persian Gulf. Visits included Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov who said today: "Russia and the US have agreed to closely coordinate their actions… all means must be used in the fight against terrorism including, when necessary, use of force." The number of persons missing in NYC is still over 5,400, the US is moving forward to protect our nation from future attacks. Today the Pentagon provided information on "Operation Infinite Justice". The decision has been made to send F-15s, F-16s and possibly B-1 bombers to the Persian Gulf. The details of America’s military might in this operation is under wraps as of now, but the President said from the Oval Office that there will be an explanation. The President will be speaking to Congress tomorrow. Sources close to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld say that he has ordered more than 100 aircraft to the Persian Gulf.

On diplomatic fronts, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said at the Pentagon: "It’s a very emotional reaction, because this is also a criminal, mass-murderous attack on the open society and the way we live… I think now we should stay together in full solidarity and fight against this murderous terrorism."

At ground zero today, French President Chirac visited Mayor Giuliani and honored the rescue workers, "from the bottom of my heart ..I want to thank you, you did this for New Yorkers, but also for the free world, for the dignity for the human kind, ..we know that, and we are beside you!."

(abridged comments)

PRESIDENT BUSH: President Megawati was just telling me she had visited Washington during President Kennedy’s time. It is my honor to welcome you back to Washington and to the Oval Office as President of your great nation.

I look forward to having a very good discussion about our relations, as well as what we’re going to do as people who love freedom about terrorism. And I want to thank you very much for your strong statements of support for the American people, and your strong statement against terrorist activities. It meant a lot to us. You represent the nation with the most Muslim people in the world. I’ve made it clear, Madam President, that the war against terrorism is not a war against Muslims, nor is it a war against Arabs. It’s a war against evil people who conduct crimes against innocent people.

And so, welcome to Washington, D.C. I look forward to a long discussion. I appreciate so very much your vision for your very important country. Welcome.

PRESIDENT MEGAWATI: Thank you, Mr. President. I will speak in Indonesian. I’m very honored to be your guest here today, even though we are in a moment of grief. I would like to express on behalf of the people and government of Indonesia our deep condolences to the American people. And we share this moment of grief with you.

I also want to say thank you, because even though you’re having a different time, you’re still able to meet me in this place which I’m quite familiar with. Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Q: A specific message to Iraq?

PRESIDENT BUSH: The message to every country is, there will be a campaign against terrorist activity, a worldwide campaign. And there is an outpouring of support for such a campaign. Freedom-loving people understand that terrorism knows no borders, that terrorists will strike in order to bring fear, to try to change the behavior of countries that love liberty. And we will not let them do that.

Now, this is a campaign in which nations will contribute in a variety of ways. Some nations will be willing to join in a very overt way. Other nations will be willing to join by sharing information — and information in a campaign such as this is going to be incredibly important. It’s very important for us to be able to find where these people are.

There’s going to need to be a campaign — there needs to be a financial component of the campaign, where we need to cooperate to make sure we cut off funds, find these organizations that serve as front groups for funding these terrorist cells.

And so my message to all nations is we look forward to full cooperation.

Q: Yes. Could you respond, please, to the Vice President of your country who said that the tragedy will cleanse —

PRESIDENT MEGAWATI: After I heard and witnessed and saw what happened, the tragic events in New York and Washington, I immediately issued a statement which strongly condemned these attacks, which were very inhumane. And afterwards I sent a letter to President Bush, expressing my condolences. So this is the position of my government on this issue. So it’s very clear.

Q: Can I follow on one point? Do you to your mind have irrefutable evidence that links al Qaeda, and specifically Osama bin Laden to these attacks?

PRESIDENT BUSH: When we take action, we will take action because we believe — because we know we’ll be on the right. And I want to remind people that there have been terrorist activities on America in the past, as well. And there has been — indictments have been handed down.

This is a war not against a specific individual, nor will it be a war against solely one organization. It is a war against terrorist activities. Our nation must do everything we can to protect the homeland, and we are. The Attorney General briefs on a daily basis, as the Director of the FBI, talking about what we’re doing to do the best we can to protect the American people from any further activity.

But the best way to make sure that America is safe, the people of Indonesia are safe, is to find terrorism at its roots and to root it out, to get them out of their caves and get them moving, cut off their finances, and hold them accountable…

Q: Are you able to offer the support of your country to this coalition against terrorism?

PRESIDENT MEGAWATI: Indonesia has always been against violence. Anything that relates to violence, including acts of terrorism, we will definitely be against it.