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President Bush says 'America is at War' - 2001-09-15

President Bush is meeting with his national security team at Camp David Saturday. The president says America is at war, following Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

The president says he is meeting with his national security team to plan a "comprehensive assault" on terrorism. In his weekly radio address, he said he is planning a series of decisive actions against terrorist organizations and those who support them. "This will be a different kind of conflict against a different kind of enemy," he said. "This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible. Yet they are mistaken. They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned. Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction."

The president said it is time to honor those who have died, and prepare to respond to these attacks on the nation. Mr. Bush said this terrorist attack designed to tear the country apart has, instead, bound Americans together as a nation. "I will not settle for a token act," said President Bush. "Our response must be sweeping, sustained, and effective. We have much to do and much to ask of the American people. You will be asked for your patience, for the conflict will not be short. You will be asked for resolve, for the conflict will not be easy. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long."

In the Democratic radio address, New York Senator Charles Schumer thanked President Bush for visiting New York City Friday and consoling those who lost loved ones in the attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center. "Tonight, there will be thousands of dinner tables in New York with an empty seat," he said. "There are thousands of families still waiting for that phone call, still dialing their phones endlessly, desperate to find a loved one. In the wake of this cataclysmic event, our first thoughts go to all those who grieve. Everyone in New York knows somebody who is missing. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering. We are with them as one, from one end of this country to the other."

Senator Schumer said Tuesday's violence has forever changed America, but he is confident the country will respond to the challenge and rise above it. "This event will never leave us the same, not as individuals, not as New Yorkers, not as Americans, not as residents of the planet Earth," said Senator Schumer. "But we can learn from it as we grieve. We can meet the challenge and rise to the next level of civilization. I'm confident we will."

New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said America's response to the violence has shown the world that it is a nation that will not be cowed by terrorism. "When terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it was not simply an attack on our military and New York," she said. "It was an attack on America and our values. We will show the world that, though buildings can crumble, and innocent people sacrifice their lives, America and New York remain strong, our democracy is intact, our faith in God, and in each other, secure."

Senator Clinton said the people of the New York area will rebuild their lives and, like all Americans, will work to bring those responsible for the violence to justice. "In the days ahead, our shock will yield to sadness as we cope with the enormity of our loss," she said. "We have orphans to comfort, and parents who have lost their children, husbands and wives who will no longer have the comfort of the love they built. And we have a city to rebuild. And we will see to it that justice is done, in full measure, for what this terror has wrought."

In Saturday radio addresses, often used to criticize political opponents, the president's speech and the Democratic response reflect the political alliance that has been forged in Washington, in the face of the worst terrorist attack in American history.