For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 4, 2001
President Directs Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan
Remarks by the President to State Department Employees
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Assistance to the Afghan People
Listen to the President's Remarks
10:25 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please be seated. Thank you all.
Mr. Secretary, I'm honored you invited me back. (Laughter.) I'm glad to be
back to be able to say thanks on behalf of the American people to the patriots
who work for our Department of State. Thanks for your hard work. Thanks for
your dedication. Thanks for your love of America.
I'm also here to announce an initiative to help the Afghan people in a
time of crisis and in a time of need. America will stand strong and will
oppose the sponsors of terror. And America will stand strong and help those
people who are hurt by those regimes.
Mr. Secretary, I am proud of your leadership. Last time I came, I
predicted you would be a great Secretary of State. You have not let me down.
(Applause.) And neither have the folks who work at the State Department; not
only here in Washington, but in embassies throughout the world. America is
proud of your service. And America is comforted by the fact that we are united
as we stand to fight terror.
We are engaged in a noble cause. And that is to say loud and clear to the
evildoers that we reject you, that we will stand firm against terror, and that
this great nation, along with many other nations, will defend freedom.
I want to thank those of you who have worked extra long hours to help
forge this fantastic coalition that we're building, a coalition of people all
around the world who understand that the evil acts could have happened to them,
just like they happened to us.
People understand that now is the time to take a stand, to seize this
moment, to say that out of this evil act will come good. And the State
Department has helped lead the way. And I'm proud of your efforts. And I'm
proud of your hard work.
After all, many of you understand the effects of terror. We had two of
our embassies bombed. Your colleagues were injured and died. I mean, the
State Department has been on the front line of battling terror and the front
line of seeing the effects of terror. And the American people appreciate the
heroism of the people who serve our country overseas.
This is a unique type of war. It's a war that is going to require us
building a broad coalition of nations who will contribute, one way or the
other, to make sure that we all win. Some nations may be willing to commit
troops, if that's a decision that we make. Other nations will help in cutting
off funding. Truth of the matter is, the first shot we fired in this war
against evildoers was when the Secretary and I and the Secretary of Treasury
said we're going to find their money, and we're going to starve them of their
We're going to find their bank accounts, and we will freeze them. We're
going to talk to banks all around the world, and make it clear that if they are
on our side, if they join the folks who are fighting evil, that they've got to
do everything they can to cut off their funds. When we starve them of their
funds, we starve them of their capacity to move against freedom.
I'm proud of the coalitions that we've built. I'm proud of the fact that
the Secretary of State and the able team here at the State Department is a
results-oriented group of folks.
We've said, not only join the coalition, we've said here's what we expect
you to do. Here is your assignment. One of the things the American people
appreciate about our administration is that we're results-oriented folks, that
we expect there to be results. We expect if you're on our team, that we want
your performance. And it's making a difference.
As I announced the other day, we've collectively rounded up 150
terrorists, people associated with the al Qaeda organization. Thanks to the
Secretary of State's work and others' work and the work of people around the
world, we've convinced those who joined our coalition to rout out terrorists,
to find them, to incarcerate them, to question them, to find out what's in
their mind and what their future activities may be. And we're making great
This is a strong coalition. It's a strong coalition because we've got
great leadership, but it's a strong coalition because we're right. Because
it's a strong coalition. Because we've made it clear, this is not a war
between Christianity or Judaism and Islam. As a matter of fact, the teachings
of Islam make it clear that peace is important, that compassion is a part of
life. This is a war between good and evil. And we have made it clear to the
world that we will stand strong on the side of good, and we expect other
nations to join us. (Applause.)
This is not a war between our world and their world. It is a war to save
the world. And people now understand that. And I want to thank you for all
your work of making that simple, yet profound, mission clear.
We have no compassion for terrorists in this country. We have no
compassion. Nor will we have any compassion for any state that sponsors them.
Oh yes, we're a compassionate nation, but our compassion is limited. We have
great compassion, however, for the millions around the world who are victims of
hate, of victims of oppressive government, including the people who live in
Today I'm announcing, along with the Secretary of State, that America will
contribute an additional $320 million in humanitarian assistance for Afghans
for more food, more medicine, to help the innocent people of Afghanistan deal
with the coming winter. This is our way of saying that while we firmly and
strongly oppose the Taliban regime, we are friends of the Afghan people.
We will work with the UN agencies such as the World Food Program and work
with private volunteer organizations to make sure this assistance gets to the
people. We will make sure that not only the folks in Afghanistan who need help
get help, but we will help those who have fled to neighboring countries to get
help as well.
There's no question that we're an angry people about what happened to our
country. But in our anger, we must never forget we're a compassionate people
as well. We will fight evil. But in order to overcome evil, the great
goodness of America must come forth and shine forth. And one way to do so is
to help the poor souls in Afghanistan. And we're going to do so.
I want to remind the world that helping people in need is a central part
of not only the Christian faith, but of Judaism and the Hindu faith, and of
course a central part of Islamic traditions. And that's why our coalition is
more than just one to rout terrorism out of the world. It's one to bind
together, to knit those traditions in a way that helps people in need.
You know, I talked to a lot of world leaders, and Colin has as well. And I
told him, through our tears, we see opportunity, that in our sadness and grief
we see an opportunity to not only defend freedom, but to make the world more
I see an opportunity at home when I hear the stories of Christian and
Jewish women alike, helping women of cover, Arab American women go shop because
they're afraid to leave their home. I see a great opportunity when I see moms
and dads spend more time with their children here at home.
I see out of this sadness and grief an opportunity for America to
reexamine our culture, to reexamine how we view the need to help people in