|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
March 24, 2004
From opening remarks by Secretary of State Powell before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 3/23/04
"[Terrorists] can destroy buildings, they can kill people, but they will never be allowed to kill the spirit of democracy." --Secretary of State Powell, 3/23/04
*Terrorism's evil leaders and followers espouse many false causes, but have one common purpose: To murder innocent people.
*President Bush and his entire national security team understood at the beginning that terrorism had to be among the highest priorities, and it was.
*The Bush Administration was not given a counterterrorism action plan by the previous Administration.
*The Clinton Administration gave good briefings on what they had done with respect to al Qaeda and the Taliban. However, it was noted that the previous Administration's actions had not succeeded in eliminating the threat.
*The Bush Administration wanted the new policy to go well beyond tit-for-tat retaliation. Lethal strikes that largely missed the terrorists led al Qaeda to believe that we lacked resolve.
*President Bush and his staff were well aware upon taking office that Communism and Fascism -- our old foes of the past century -- had been replaced by a new kind of enemy: Terrorism.
To read Secretary Powell's full testimony, please visit: http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing8.htm