President details 'new
era' in speech
By Ken Fountain
Daily Cougar Staff
"We have entered a new era, and this era
requires new responsibilities, both for the government and for our people,"
President George W. Bush told the
nation in a televised Thursday-night address
in an effort to shore up American morale after nearly two months of news
about terrorism and war.
"The government has a responsibility to
protect our citizens, and that starts with homeland security," Bush said
before a supportive audience largely made
up of military and emergency services
personnel at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Bush said that since the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks were perpetrated by hijackers on airliners, the government is beefing
up security by posting National
Guard troops at airports and undercover
air marshals aboard airplanes. He called on Congress to pass legislation
that would put all airport security
functions under federal control.
He said the government and public health
officials are working to contend with the later wave of terrorism, involving
the spread of anthrax through the U.S.
postal system by as-yet-unknown culprits.
Bush cited his creation of the Office of
Homeland Security, responsible for development of a comprehensive national
protection strategy, and the
recently-passed anti-terrorism law as
examples of ways the government is taking on its new responsibilities.
But he also called on ordinary American
citizens to do their part.
"A terrorism alert is not a signal to stop
your life. It is a call to be vigilant, to know that your government is
on high alert and to add your eyes and ears to our
efforts to find and stop those who want
to do us harm," he said.
Turning to the military campaign against
the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and the al-Qaida organization of Osama
bin Laden, Bush said, "In the long run,
the best way to defend our homeland, the
best way to make sure our children can live in peace, is to take the battle
to the enemy and to stop them."
"I gave fair warning to the government
that harbors (the terrorists) in Afghanistan. The Taliban made a choice
to continue hiding terrorists, and now they're
paying the price," he said.
Bush said that even as U.S. and British
forces attack terrorist training camps and Taliban front line troops, they
are continuing to drop food supplies for the
impoverished Afghan civilians.
"When the terrorists and their supporters
are gone, the people of Afghanistan will say with the rest of the world,
'Good riddance,'" he said.
He said that since the September attacks,
"Americans are refusing to give the terrorists the power" by demonstrating
patriotism, donating money and blood
to the victims and participating in community
Bush referred to Todd Beamer, the passenger
aboard Flight 93 who led the charge against the hijackers that forced the
plane to crash in a Pennsylvania
field rather than its intended target.
Beamer's last known words, Bush said, "were the Lord's Prayer and 'Let's
"He didn't know he had signed on for heroism
when he boarded that flight," Bush said. "But we have our marching orders.
My fellow Americans, let's roll."