September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Address to the Troops and All Department of Defense Personnel; October 7, 2001

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Address to the Troops and All Department of Defense Personnel
at the start of U.S. and coalition air attacks on Taliban-held and terrorist targets in Afghanistan.

PENTAGON, Oct 7, 2001

On Sept. 24, the president launched the first strike in the global war against terrorism by attacking the financial foundations of terrorist operations around the globe. Today, the United States launched the second.

As the world knows, U.S. warplanes commenced Operation Enduring Freedom with raids on military targets and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan at approximately 12:30 p.m. Eastern time today. These raids were not a single event or a solitary campaign, but are the first in a sustained and continuous operation to destroy terrorist networks, disrupt terrorist activities and prevent further terrorist atrocities, such as the ones that occurred in the attack on America on Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Our purpose is to shift the balance of power from the forces of oppression to the forces of freedom. Over time, we intend to deny to terrorists the country of Afghanistan as a base of operations, provide aid to the Afghan people who are the victims of Taliban oppression, and put terrorists everywhere, and all of those who foster and facilitate them, on notice that we will root them out wherever they exist.

As the president has said, this is not a mission we sought. Rather, it was thrust upon us. We take these actions in self-defense. We take them in deliberate response to the acts of war directed against the American people. We take them after careful planning, to identify sites where terrorists are trained, supported and harbored. To destroy their infrastructure and suppress their ability to threaten us and others and to send a message that the friends of terrorists everywhere are at risk.

And, we will continue, in conjunction with our friends and allies around the world, to take whatever action is necessary to defend freedom and counter terrorist aggression.

As the men and women of America's armed forces, you are the sharp sword of freedom. You fight without pause and without complaint, on foreign seas and in dangerous skies. You voluntarily sacrifice a life of ease and the comfort of your families, so that others may enjoy blessings and benefits of liberty.

Your task will not be quick. It will not be easy. But your mission is clear, your cause is just, and the hearts and prayers of Americans and people everywhere who long for freedom are with you. To each of you, military and civilian, our gratitude and our prayers.

You have the full confidence and support of President Bush, our commander-in-chief.

You also have mine.

We know you are ready and we know we will prevail.

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