Vindicator Logo

Bush sets the right tone in discussing 'The War'

Saturday, October 13, 2001

Even his harshest critics had to have been impressed with the way President George W. Bush handled his first prime-time press conference since taking office in January and his first formal exchange with reporters since the September 11 terrorist attack on America.
Bush, who had made it known during last year's presidential campaign that press conferences weren't his forte, came across as an old pro -- relaxed, sure-footed and even humorous. If his intention was to put the American people at ease during this time of national crisis, he succeeded.
Even his use of language made him one with the public. Bush could have easily have adopted Churchillean prose in discussing the United States' campaign to rid the world of terrorism and to bring to justice Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 massacre of more than 7,000 innocent men, women and children in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Instead, he used words that most Americans understand and appreciate.
To the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan who have provided a safe haven for bin Laden and his followers Bush said, "If you cough him up, and his people, today, we'll reconsider what we're doing to your country. You still have a second chance. Bring him in."
Freedom fighters: Since Sunday, the U.S. and Britain have been conducting daily airstrikes against terrorist training camps and suspected hideouts in Afghanistan. The bombings are taking their toll and have emboldened opposition forces in the North to intensify their campaign to overthrown the Taliban government.
To his credit, Bush did not attempt to downplay the dangers that lie ahead for the U.S. as it leads the fight against terrorism, nor did he equivocate when talking about how long such a campaign could last.
"This particular battle front will last as long as it takes to bring Al-Quida [bin Laden's terrorist organization] to justice," the president said, adding that it could take a year or two. But he also insisted, "... we will prevail."
But while talking tough, Bush also revealed a sensitivity about the fate of the people of Afghanistan that should give all Americans pause.
In his closing remarks at Thursday's press conference, the president somberly discussed the plight of the Afghan children. It was a poignant moment, one that will long be remembered by people around the world.
Orphans: In urging the children of the United States to each send $1 for the relief effort that has been launched by the Red Cross, the president pointed out that one-third of the children of Afghanistan are orphans, while almost half suffer from chronic malnutrition.
"This is an opportunity to help others while teaching our own children a valuable lesson about service and character," Bush said. "I hope school classes or Boys and Girl Scout troops, other youth organizations will participate in any way to raise the money to send to the children."
And he even had some presidential advice on how the money could be raised: "Wash a car. Do a yard for a neighbor. And I hope the adults will help them as well."
President Bush has risen to the occasion in leading this country in the battle of Good vs. Evil. He has earned the support of all Americans.