Condoleezza Rice: The whole world was attacked by the terrorists

From a briefing given by the US National Security Adviser at the White House in Washington DC


I think that every American understands that life changed on 11 September. Now, what didn't change is our way of life. And we have to, as the President said when he welcomed workers back here at the White House Complex, it's every American's duty to try to get back to doing the things that make us American: going to work and to shop and taking our kids to school.

But there is no doubt that the country faced a severe shock and blow. And we have to respond to that. The United States faces a situation in which we really are in a situation of self-defence. If no one believes that these are dangerous people to the health and well-being of the United States, then just look again at that tape on 11 September.

There are going to be many different fronts in this war; some on the information side, some on the financial side, some on the military side, and some on other fronts. And we will have broad support, different countries are going to play different roles. The President is absolutely committed to doing what the United States has to do. But I think that we have tremendous support and understanding that there have to be several phases to this, and this has to go on for a long time.

This is not going to be over in a matter of months. And so the President feels an obligation to bring the American people along with him in his thinking, to bring them along with him in his deepening understanding of what we face, to understand that there may be sacrifice along the way. Also to rally the country and the world to understand that this is an attack on freedom. It's a chance to bring this together in a way that lays the foundation for a long struggle.

The President is going to be results-oriented. And he is bringing to bear all our instruments of national power. He is also bringing to bear the assets and instruments of national power of a vast number of countries around the world. I have no doubt that military power is some part of that. But we are not facing a traditional enemy here; we're facing an unconventional one. The President, though, made very clear that while he wants to root out those who are hiding who we've gotten accustomed to as the car bomber who runs and hides, but who, this time, perpetrated this well-orchestrated terror attack on some of the most important symbols of power and authority and prosperity of the United States, that he's got to get them. He's got to root out that organisation, but that he also believes that those who harbour them need to be too, it needs to be demonstrated to them that harbouring these terrorists is not good for one's well-being.

Our values matter to us and they matter to us internally as we think about how to secure ourselves better. Civil liberties matter to this President very much, and our values matter to us abroad. We are not going to stop talking about the things that matter to us, human rights, religious freedom and so forth and so on. We're going to continue to press those things; we would not be America if we did not. The really interesting thing about what happened on Tuesday, if you try and step back from the horrors of it, and it's just really horrible, is that when the World Trade Centre went down, the world's trade centre went down. There were citizens from numerous countries that died in the World Trade Centre. They were not just Americans. These were Pakistanis and Brits and people from the continent of Africa and Latin Americans.

What really was attacked was this world community that trades and works and tries to make people more prosperous and enjoys the freedoms and the kind of freedom of life that we're so accustomed to in the United States. And so when the President says that he is doing this to rally the world, we have a very visible symbol of the fact that it was the world that was attacked, and it was the multiple nationalities that were attacked in the World Trade Centre.

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