November 10, 2001
Following is the text of President Bush's address to the United Nations General Assembly.


Thank you.

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, distinguished delegates and ladies and gentlemen, we meet in a hall devoted to peace, in a city scarred by violence, in a nation awakened to danger, in a world uniting for a long sturggle.

Every civilized nation here today is resolved to keep the most basic commitment of civilization. We will defend ourselves and our future against terror and lawless violence.

The United Nations was founded in this cause.  In the Second World War, we learned there is no isolation from evil.  We affirmed that some crimes are so terrible they offend humanity itself, and we resolved that the aggressions and ambitions of the wicked must be opposed early, decisively and collectively before they threaten us all.  That evil has returned, and that cause is renewed.

A few miles from here, many thousands still lie in a tomb of rubble.  Tommorow the secretary general, the president of the General Assembly and I will visit that site where the names of every nation and region that lost citizens will be read aloud.

If we were to read the names of every person who died, it would take more than three hours.

Those names include a citizen of Gambia, whose wife spent their fourth wedding anniversary, September the 12th, searching in vain for her husband.

Those names include a man who supported his wife in Mexico, sending home money every week.

Those names include a young Pakistani who prayed toward Mecca five times a day and died that day trying to save others.

The suffering of September 11 was inflicted on people of many faiths and many nations.  All of the victims, including Muslims, were killed with equal indifference and equal satisfaction by the terrorist leaders.

The terrorists are violating the tenents of every religion, including the one they invoke.

Last week, the sheik of Al-Azhar University, the world's oldest Islamic institution of higher learning, declared that terrorism is a disease and that Islam prohibits killing innocent civilians.

The terrorists call their cause holy, yet they fund it with drug dealing.  They encourage murder and suicide in the name of a great faith that forbids both.  They dare to ask G-d's blessing as they set out to kill innocent men, women and children.  But the G-D of Isaac and Ismael would never answer such a prayer.

And a murderer is not a martyr, he is just a murderer.  Time is passing; Yet; for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th.  We will remember every rescuer who died in honor.  We will remember every family that lives in grief.  We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.

And the people of my country will remember those who have plotted against us.  We are learning their names.  We are coming to know their faces.  There is no corner of the earth distant or dark enough to protect them.  However long it takes, their hour of justice will come.

Every nation has a stake in this cause.  As we meet, the terorists are planning more murder, perhaps in my country or perhaps in yours.  They kill  because they aspire to dominate.  They seek to overthrow governments and destabilize entire regions.

Last week, anticipating this meeting of the General Assembly, they denounced the United Nations. They called our secretary general a criminal and condemned all Arab nations here as traitors to Islam.

Few countries meet their exacting standards of brutalitiy and oppression.  Every other country is a potential target; and all the world faces the most horrifying prospect of all:  These same terrorists are searching for weapons of mass destruction; the tools to turn their hatred into holocaust.

They can be expected to use chemical, biological and nuclear weapons the moment they are capable of doing so.  No hint of conscience would prevent it.

This threat cannot be ignored.  This threat cannot be appeased.  Civilization itself, the civilization we share, is threatened.

History will record our response and judge or justify every nation in this hall.  The civilized world is now responding.  We act to defend ourselves and deliver our children from a future of fear.

We choose the dignity of life over the culture of death.  We choose lawful change and civil disagreement over coercion, subversion and chaos.

These commitments - hope and order, law and life - unite people across cultures and continents.  Upon these commitments depend all peace and progress.  For these commitments we are determined to fight.

The United Nations has risen to this responsibility.  On the 12th of September, these buildings opened for emergency meetings of the General Assembly and the Security Council.  Before the sun had set, these attacks on the world stood condemned by the world.

And I want to thank you for this strong and principled stand.

I also thank the Arab and Islamic countries that have condemned terrorist murder.  Many of you have seen the destruction of terror in your own lands.  The terrorists are increasingly isolated by their own hatred and extremism.

They cannot hide behind Islam.  The authors of mass murder and their allies have no place in any culture and no home in any faith.
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