Bush calls for new commitment to military, intelligence in Citadel speech

Tuesday, December 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ President Bush called Tuesday for sweeping improvements in intelligence-gathering and military readiness to combat terror, calling that campaign ``the military and moral necessity of our time.''

Bush returned to the site of a speech he gave here at the Citadel, the state military college, in September 1999. In that speech, he had warned against the threat of terror, among other things.

``I said here at the Citadel ... America was entering a period of consequences that would be defined by the threat of terrorism, and that we faced the challenge of military transformation,'' Bush told some 2,000 cadets and campus officials. ``That threat has now revealed itself, and that challenge is now the military and moral necessity of our time.''

At the White House earlier, Bush oversaw a solemn ceremony marking the precise moment when the first jetliner slammed into one of the twin towers.

Bush said America does not need monuments and memorials to grieve the deaths of more than 3,000 people in suicide hijackings over New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. ``For those of us who lived through these events, the only marker we'll ever need is the tick of a clock on the 46th minute on the 8th hour of the 11th day. We'll remember where we were and how we felt. We'll remember the dead and what we owe them. We'll remember what we lost and what we found.''

At the Citadel, Bush said the attacks of Sept. 11 shattered ``an illusion of immunity.''

``We will fight terror and those who sponsor it to save our children from a future of fear,'' Bush said.

Bush said he detected a political shift taking shape around the globe as nations joined the United States to fight terrorism.

``The vast majority of countries are now on the same side of a a moral and ideological divide,'' he said.

``Staring across this divide are bands of murderers supported by outlaw regimes,'' Bush said.

Such people hate ``progress and freedom and change and culture and music and laughter and women and Christians and Jews and all Muslims who reject their distorted doctrines,'' Bush said. ``They love only one thing, they love power, and when they have it they use it without mercy.''

The president said new weapons will carry the day against terrorism. He cited as an example, the unmanned spy plane which can fly at high altitudes and carry missiles.

As Congress debates defense spending in coming days, he warned against lawmakers ``micromanaging the Defense Department.'' And, he said, every service branch ``must be willing to sacrifice some of their pet projects.''

Bush also gave an impassioned call for the shield he envisions against nuclear missiles, saying the terrorist attacks made it more essential than ever.

``Suppose the Taliban and the terrorists had been able to strike America or important allies with a ballistic missile,'' Bush said. ``Our coalition would have become fragile.''

``We must protect America and our friends against all forms of terrorism including the terrorism that could arrive on a missile,'' Bush said.

And, he said, ``The United States must rebuild our network of human intelligence.''

At the Pentagon, where a hijacked plane struck an hour after the New York crashes, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld led a memorial ceremony.

The terrorists want to extinguish the memory of those who died in the attack, he said. ``We will remember ... until freedom triumphs over fear, over repression and long beyond.''

In New York City, firefighters and construction workers stopped work and shut down their heavy machinery to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. at ground zero.

As a light drizzle fell, prayers were offered by Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy. ``They took down those structures, but they will not take away the spirit,'' said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, a Fire Department chaplain.

From New York's ground zero to the Pentagon to the Ukraine, commemorations began at the same moment.

The astronauts aboard space shuttle Endeavour and the international space station joined the commemoration. In Houston, flight director Wayne Hale said: ``In stark contrast to the international cooperation and unity in our efforts to take mankind literally to the stars, we're reminded of our loss and sorrow due to the acts of violence and terror in an unprecedented attack on freedom, democracy and civilization itself.''

The international commemorations are meant in part to remind the world that people from more than 80 countries died in the attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania _ and to reinforce Bush's global anti-terror coalition.