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Bush Promises Sustained Campaign Against Terrorism - 2001-10-08

President Bush is vowing to wage a sustained, comprehensive and relentless campaign against terrorism. Mr. Bush spoke to the American people shortly after U.S. and British forces launched military strikes against terrorist camps and Taleban military installations in Afghanistan.

There was determination in the president's face as he addressed the nation. Mr. Bush said, "We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail."

He spoke from the White House Treaty Room - an historic spot where American presidents have worked for peace. "We are a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it."

Mr. Bush said the United States is supported in this endeavor by the collective will of the world. He said those who continue to harbor terrorists act at their own peril - starting with Afghanistan's Taleban regime.

He recited the specific demands he gave the Taleban more than two weeks ago: close down the terrorist training camps, turn over suspected terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden and other leaders of the al-Qaida organization, and release detained foreign aid workers. "None of these demands were met," he said. "And now, the Taleban will pay a price."

President Bush appealed to the American people for patience, and warned there may be sacrifices ahead. He also reminded them of the need to be compassionate, despite the sadness and anger brought about by the September 11 terrorist attacks. He said, "The oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies. As we strike military targets, we'll also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan."

After the broadcast address, Mr. Bush returned to the Oval Office to monitor the military operation. At one point he was overheard telling a top aide, "I gave them fair warning and they chose not to heed it" - a reference to the Taleban and Osama bin Laden.

Security was increased at U.S. government buildings after the retaliatory strikes began. Vice President Dick Cheney, who would replace President Bush should he be unable to serve, was taken to an undisclosed location as a precaution.

White House officials found themselves engaging in a delicate balancing act - urging Americans to return to their normal lives, while being alert and vigilant. As Spokesman Ari Fleischer put it, "Threats do remain. This is a war."