President Bush says U.S. bombing in Afghanistan is not meant to harm the Afghan people. He adds it is meant to punish the country's leaders for refusing to turn over suspected terrorists.
President Bush stressed that U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan are targeting suspected terrorists and the Taleban government there that supports them. He said it is not a campaign against the Afghan people as U.S. forces continue to drop food aid for civilians displaced by the fighting.
"Our military is conducting a campaign to bring the terrorists to justice, not to harm the Afghan people," he went on to say. "While we are holding the Taleban government accountable, we are also feeding Afghan people."
Mr. Bush says he gave Taleban leaders time to respond to his demands that they hand over suspected terrorists and close terrorist training camps. They did not, and the president says Taleban leaders are now "paying a price."
The president noted there is also a war on the homefront where investigators are pursuing those responsible for a series of letters contaminated with the deadly anthrax bacteria. According to Mr. Bush, there is still no direct evidence linking those letters with the attacks of September 11 but he said there is no question both attacks were motivated by evil and those responsible will be brought to justice.
"Anybody who puts poison in mail is a terrorist," said Mr. Bush. "Anybody who tries to affect the lives of our good citizens is evil. I'm often times asked by our friends in the press, do I know if there is a direct connection between what took place on September 11 and what's happening today. I have no direct evidence, but there are some links. Both series of actions are motivated by evil and hate. Both series of actions are meant to disrupt Americans way of life. Both series of actions are an attack on our homeland. And both series of actions will not stand."
The president called on Congress to pass a financial stimulus package to help revive the U.S. economy following the attacks. He wants more tax refunds for consumers, rebates for lower income families, and changes in the tax law allowing businesses to deduct more of the costs of purchasing new equipment.