Bush Says Bin Laden Is Wanted "Dead Or Alive"
September 17, 2001
Following is the transcript of President Bush's comments from the Pentagon on Osama bin Laden as the prime focus of the United States' response to Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
BUSH: ... with members of Congress. Congress must be involved with, obviously, with these deliberations and I look forward to--I've already encouraged my administration to reach out to members of Congress and we will continue doing so.
BUSH: I want to make it clear to the American people that this administration will not talk about any plans we may or may not have. We will not jeopardize in any way, shape or form anybody who wears the uniform of the United States.
All I can tell you us is is that Osama bin Laden is a prime suspect and the people who house him, encourage him, provide food, comfort or money are on notice. Last week I spoke clearly about our nation's policy and that is, we're going to find 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.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) war is inevitable (OFF-MIKE)
BUSH: 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. In the past, there have been beaches to storm, islands to conquer. We've been able to watch on our television screens sophisticated weaponry to find a building and we've seen dramatic reports from the front where, you know, a Pulitzer Prize-to-be winning reporter stood up and declared the United States is attacked and all of 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's 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 hideout. But we're going to smoke them out. And we're adjusting our thinking to the new type of enemy. These are terrorist that 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 life. That's why the world is rallying to our call to defeat terrorism.
Many world leaders understand that that could have easily--the attack could have 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 a good chance to 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 think they can hit and hide in some cage 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--of our combined efforts not just ourselves, but the efforts of our allies, to get them running and to 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.
QUESTION: Do you want bin Laden dead?
BUSH: I want justice. And there's an old poster out west, that I recall, that said, ``Wanted, Dead or Alive.''
STAFF: Thank you. Thank you very much.
BUSH: 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, 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 root them out and to hold them accountable. And the United States is proud to lead the coalition.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) say you want him dead or alive, sir?
BUSH: Just remember, all I'm doing is remembering when I was kid. I remember that I used to put out there in the old West a "wanted" posted. It said, "Wanted, Dead or Alive." All I want and America wants is to see them brought to justice. That's what we want.