Milestone Documents in American History
Exploring the Primary Sources That Shaped America
Milestones - FM - vol. 4 3/21/08 6:45 PM Page i
2060 Milestone Documents in American History
President George W. Bush addresses the nation from the Oval Office on September 11, 2001, following the terrorist attacks earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)
Milestones - Vol. 4 3/21/08 7:22 PM Page 2060
George W. Bush's Address to the Nation on September 11, 2001 2061
0 1George W. Bush's Address to the
Nation on September 11, 2001
"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."
that the hijackers intended to crash it into the White House, the Capitol, or a similar target in the nation's capi- tal. However, passengers and crew, who had learned about the earlier crashes through cell-phone conversations and knew that those hijackings had been suicide missions, attempted to regain control of the aircraft. In the struggle with the hijackers that ensued, the plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all aboard.
These attacks were not the first on the World Trade Center. On February 26, 1993, a car bomb had exploded in the parking garage under the Trade Center's North Tower, killing six and injuring more than one thousand people. The attack was the work of Islamic terrorists, who appar- ently believed that the building would collapse if its struc- ture was weakened by the blast, but the building survived the damage done to it. In the hours after the 2001 attacks, suspicion immediately fell on Islamic extremists, particu- larly on the terrorist organization known as al Qaeda. These suspicions were ultimately confirmed.
Terrorism, particularly terrorism emanating from Mid- dle Eastern nations, had become a widespread and seem- ingly intractable problem during the 1980s and 1990s- and indeed the history of Arab terrorism directed against the United States dates all the way back to the nineteenth century, when President Thomas Jefferson had to deal with the terrorist actions of the Barbary Coast pirates in the Mediterranean Sea in America's first war, the Tripolitan War. In April 1983 the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, was bombed, killing sixty-three people. Later that year, in October, 241 were killed in a suicide bombing of the U.S. Marine base in Beirut. Over the next two decades, military installations, embassies, nightclubs, cruise ships, and com- mercial airliners were all targets of terrorist attacks, culmi- nating in the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing 263 people and injuring more than five thousand. In response to those attacks, President Bill Clinton, on August 20, 1998, ordered cruise missile bombings of four al Qaeda training sites in Afghanistan. Two years later, on October 12, 2000, al Qaeda operatives attacked the USS Cole while it was docked at the port of Aden in Yemen. The attack killed seventeen...