Closing ranks on bin Laden
BY TOM RAUM Associated Press
Sep 18, 2001
New Yorkers stroll across Church Street in the financial district at lunchtime Monday near the destroyed World Trade Center.
TIM DILLON / Associated Press
Below: A sign reading "New York is still standing" hangs over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn on Monday with the Manhattan skyline -- once dominated by the twin towers of the World Trade Center -- in the background.
J. DAVID AKE / Associated Press
`Wanted: dead or alive,' Bush says of suspected terrorist
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Monday the United States wants terrorism
suspect Osama bin Laden "dead or alive" as he balanced attending to a weakening
economy with preparing the nation for possibly prolonged international conflict.
Bush met with top domestic policy advisers late Monday to consider legislation to
bail out hard-hit U.S. airlines. And aides said he is weighing an economic stimulus
package that might include new tax cuts.
"I've got great faith in the economy. I understand it's tough right now," Bush
said. "Transportation business is hurting." He suggested that stock markets, reopened
Monday for the first time closed since last Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon, had been "correcting prior to this crisis."
"We will win the war and there will be costs," Bush said during a visit to the
Pentagon, badly damaged when hit by one of the hijacked airliners. "The U.S. military
is ready to defend freedom at any cost," he said as the Defense Department readied
call-up orders for about 35,000 reservists.
The president also visited the Washington Islamic Center about two miles from
the White House and decried prejudice against Muslim and Arab Americans. Those venting
such anger "don't represent the best of America, they represent the worst of
humankind and they should be ashamed of their behavior," Bush said.
In stockinged feet, he stood with his back to an ornately tiled prayer alcove and
read a passage from the Quran: "In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end
of those who do evil." Added Bush: "Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace."
Bush intensified his rhetorical assault on bin Laden, the exiled Saudi dissident
that U.S. officials consider the prime suspect. "I want justice," the president said
at the Pentagon. "There's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said: `Wanted:
dead or alive'."
Responding to questions, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said a
quarter-century-old executive order barring assassinations "does not limit America's
ability to act in its self-
defense." He added, "I'm not going to define all the steps that may or may not be
"All roads lead to . . . Osama bin Laden and his location in Afghanistan," said
Secretary of State Colin Powell, overseeing the diplomatic effort to persuade
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia to turn over bin Laden.
The Muslim fundamentalist group has given bin Laden sanctuary in Afghanistan since
"I am pleased that the coalition is coming together," Powell said. "I think
everybody recognizes that this challenge is one that went far beyond America, far
beyond New York City and far beyond Washington."
Powell gave his positive account after
talking by telephone to President Ali Abdallah Salih of Yemen, whom he said was "very
Pakistani diplomats traveled to Afghanistan at the urging of the United States to
appeal to Taliban leaders to turn over bin Laden.
According to Taliban-run radio, the
council of Islamic clerics will decide whether to hand him over.
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said the administration would also go after
financial assets of terrorists and their organizations. "We need to use all the tools
at our disposal," he said as the Treasury Department created a special
task force to coordinate the gathering of such financial information.
Bush began the day by greeting federal workers at the Eisenhower Old Executive
Office Building next to the White House.
"A lot of people who work in this building were deeply worried about
their lives last week. There are a lot of courageous people here and they're coming
back to work," he said.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank announced they had canceled this
year's annual meetings, scheduled for late this month in Washington.