My Afghanistan Reader: ‘Taliban in Total Rout’

President G.W. Bush in Aurora, Missouri, January 14, 2002:

“…I’m proud of the efforts of many all around our country who are working endless hours to make America safe. But the best way to make America safe is to hunt the enemy down where he tries to hide and bring them to justice, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

“I gave our military a mighty task, and they have responded. I want to thank those of you who have got relatives in the military, a brother or a sister, or a son or a daughter, or a mom or a dad. They have made me proud, and I hope they made you proud, as well.

“We sent the military on a clear mission, and that is to bring the evil ones to justice. It’s a mission, however, that I expanded to include this: that if you hide a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you provide aid and comfort for a terrorist, you’re just as guilty as the terrorist. That’s why the Taliban is no longer ruling Afghanistan.

“I think that one of the most joyous things for me is to see the faces of the Afghan women as they have been liberated from the oppression of the Taliban rule. Not only is our military destroying those who would harbor evil, destroying whatever military they had, destroying their defenses, but we’re liberators. We’re freeing women and children from incredible oppression.

“… The Taliban is in total rout. But we haven’t completed our mission yet. And we’re now at a very dangerous phase of the war in the first theater, and that is sending our boys and troops into the caves. You see, we’re fighting an enemy that’s willing to send others to death, suicide missions in the name of religion, and they, themselves, want to hide in caves.

“But you know something? We’re not going to tire. We’re not going to be impatient. We’re going to do whatever it takes to find them and bring them to justice. They think they can hide, but they’re not going to hide from the mighty reach of the United States and the coalition we have put together. …”

Speech delivered in the warehouse of the MFA Food Mill. Full text here.

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