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Bush: 'You Are Either With Us, Or With the Terrorists' - 2001-09-21

President Bush stood before Congress and vowed to use every resource available to defeat global terrorism. He issued an ultimatum to Afghanistan's Taleban rulers: turn over Osama bin Laden or face the consequences.

The President's words were blunt. He said America is a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. "Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done," he said.

Speaking nine-days after the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history, President Bush called on America's military to "be ready." He urged the American people to be patient and strong. "I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat," he said.

Mr. Bush was really speaking to two audiences: one domestic, and the other foreign. In a firm voice, he spoke to the Taleban rulers of Afghanistan. They have refused to turn over Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, the man the Bush administration says is the prime suspect in the case.

The President called for the Taleban to deliver the leaders of the bin Laden organization to the United States and end all support for terrorism. "The Taleban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate," he said.

Mr. Bush said many countries have offered sympathy and support to the United States. The rest, he said, face a choice. "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists," he said.

President Bush has been talking to world leaders since last Tuesday, when terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing thousands.

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair met with the President just prior to the speech and accompanied him to Capitol Hill. "We stand side by side with you now, without hesitation. This is a struggle that concerns us all, the whole of the democratic and civilized and free world," he said.

Prime Minister Blair sat to the right of First Lady Laura Bush during the address. To her left was New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.

The House chamber, which is always used for joint meetings, was packed for the event. Mr. Bush's only other speech to the legislature was back on February 28, when the bitterness of last year's presidential election dispute filled the hall. The atmosphere this time was very different. There was unity, sorrow and determination. "Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment," he said.

Throughout the speech there was a vivid reminder of how much has changed in America since last Tuesday. Vice-President Dick Cheney was not in the chamber for the address. Historians say it is the first time security concerns have kept a Vice-President of the United States from participating in a joint session of Congress.

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