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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 13, 2001
Radio Address of the President to the Nation
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, we opened some important new fronts in the war on terror. We're taking the war to the enemy and we are strengthening our defenses here at home.
In last weeks' radio address, I warned that time was running out for the Taliban to turn over the terrorists they shelter. They did not listen, and they are paying a price.
On Sunday, American and British forces launched strikes at terrorist camps and Taliban military targets in Afghanistan. Our men and women in uniform are performing as they always do, with skill and courage. And they have achieved the goals of the first phase of our campaign. We have disrupted the terrorist network inside Afghanistan. We have weakened the Taliban's military. And we have crippled the Taliban's air defenses.
American forces dominate the skies over Afghanistan and we will use that dominance to make sure terrorists can no longer freely use Afghanistan as a base of operations.
This campaign will not be completed in one attack. Our enemy prefers to attack the helpless. He hides from our soldiers. But we're making a determined effort to take away his hiding places. The best defense against terrorism is a strong offensive against terrorists. That work continues.
At the same time, we are taking further action to strengthen our protections against terrorism here at home. This week, I signed an executive order creating a new Office of Homeland Security. The Office is headed by a skilled and tested leader, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.
Governor Ridge is a decorated Vietnam combat veteran. He's an effective executive and he knows what we're up against, because his own state was one of the three where Americans died on September the 11th.
Governor Ridge is charged with coordinating a comprehensive national effort to protect our country against terrorism, to frustrate terrorists' plans, to help protect vulnerable points, and to prepare our response to potential threats. Tom Ridge will report directly to me, and he will have the full support of our entire government.
I understand that many Americans are feeling uneasy. But all Americans should be assured: We are taking strong precautions, we are vigilant, we are determined, the country is alert, and the great power of the American nation will be felt.
Our nation is grateful to so many Americans who are rallying to our cause and preparing for the struggle ahead: FBI agents, intelligence officers, emergency response workers, public health authorities, state and local officials, our diplomats abroad, law enforcement teams who safeguard our security at home, and soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who defend us so far away.
Many others are asking: What can I do? Americans already contribute to the war on terror by their patience and patriotism, by their resolve and generosity.
Yet, I have one more task, one especially for America's children. I urge you to show the best of America, by directly helping the children of Afghanistan who are suffering from the oppression and misrule of their own government. Many are malnourished, many are starving.
Put a dollar in an envelope. Mark it, "America's Fund for Afghan Children," and send it here to the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, 20509-1600. Working with the American Red Cross, we will get that money to Afghan children in need.
This is something the children of America can do for the children of Afghanistan, even as we oppose the brutal Taliban regime. We will oppose their evil with firm justice, and we will answer their hatred with compassion for the Afghan people.
Thank you for listening.