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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Bush in Congress: How did he perform?
The US President George W Bush has given the most crucial speech of his presidency about the US campaign against terrorism in an address to both houses of Congress.
Mr Bush received a standing ovation after his address, in which he paid tribute to the acts of heroism of rescuers who had fought to save people from the ruins of the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
He urged the American people to be "calm and resolute" while US armed forces embarked on a prolonged campaign against those responsible for last week's attacks.
He also issued a blunt warning to every nation of the world, saying they had to decide whether they were with the US or with the terrorists.
So how do you think President Bush performed? Did his speech live up to expectations, or will it provoke further hostility from those who fear America's campaign?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Kevin Mathews, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
I think Bush is leading us all into a war we will all regret. This "if you're not with us you're against us" rubbish is an appalling affront to many nations and I'm one UK citizen that will not stand with him!
This Hollywood style rhetoric is making me quite sick to be honest, and perhaps he should look back to when a real president spoke:
"Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate"
There is just no good reason to kill more innocent people! Intelligence and negotiation is the way forward, not war. We've been there before.
It was the right speech for the right time. Most Americans are not in the mood to accept this trite opinion that our nation deserved this mass murder of innocent people because of its foreign policy and "arrogance". I hope that this frightful justification that I'm reading is not representative of the majority opinion. The President's speech and demeanour was and is, appropriate, reassuring and inspirational.
Pres. Bush was superb. Finally we have a president who cares more about the country than himself. After 8 years of Clinton cowardice we finally have someone with guts. Americans have had enough - it is time to fight back, and we support President Bush 100%.
8 Yrs of the pathetic "I feel your Pain" Clinton biting his lower lip worrying more about his legacy - well thank God it is over.
I am deeply troubled by what sounded like crass jingoism. A terrorist is an extremely angry person - so does the President believe he can simply remove all extremely angry people without making more - and more, and more - in the process? Yes, let's have justice, but yesterday's sight of an aircraft carrier sailing to eliminate those armed with nothing more significant than their own passions filled me with foreboding.
A highly charged speech, and judging by the reaction of the Americans to this poll, one that was demanded by the people, as - it seems - is an overt attack against somebody. Americans ought to be careful that their response doesn't smack of fundamentalism also. There are international organisations that should be seen as the figurehead in these reprisals, otherwise if things escalate out of control the United States will be blamed for a lack of foresight.
While an overt reprisal may be demanded by the majority of US nationals it is imperative, although difficult, coming from a terrorist free and wealthy nation, that they understand what has driven these attacks against them in particular
I think he's missing the point when he says: "They hate what we see right here in this chamber, a democratically elected government."
I doubt most people care about the internal form of the US government - they're much more concerned with the impact of its foreign policy on their own home populations.
Malk Williams, England
It was an emotional speech, but it played on what American people seem to WANT to hear at the minute i.e. "let's go to war". I think Mr Bush has got to realise that showing TV pictures of missiles raining down on Afghanistan may appease some US citizens as it shows action, but it is NOT the way to fight terrorism.
I thought the speech was very well done. He said all the right things. I don't think he meant to leave the Canadians out. I've lived in America all my life and I've never thought of us as a bunch of murderous thugs.
Someone wrote Bush a very good speech, pilfered from many other good speeches, and he delivered it competently - though less competently than Ronnie Reagan in similar circumstances. Actions speak louder than words, however, and Bush's track record on action is so far abysmal. We should all thank God that Powell has his hand on the tiller.
I think it was an insult to the hardworking Canadians that sent fire fighters and other help to NYC, happily received US planes and patients at home, and grieved along with US citizens to not be thanked or even mentioned in what was otherwise a great unifying speech by Bush.
Dastan Shawais, UK, London
He performed badly. He is trying to outdo Bin Laden by killing more.
Ali Muhammad, Peshawar-Pakistan
It depends where you are coming from. If you are coming from a Western perspective, then he did a superlative job. But if you are one of the innocent Afghans whose lives will be threatened by American arrogance, then the speech was nothing but a death knell.
The speech was too planned! It may have sounded very patriotic to Americans, but it was obviously very Hollywood-like to the rest of the world. The American People need to wake up! The policies of this and past governments around the world got us here, and unfortunately Bush failed to explain that, i.e. tell you the truth!
Bush's speech was excellent. I look forward now to the steps he will take to stop his fellow Americans funding IRA terrorism against UK citizens.
Bush clearly is a warmonger and this tragedy has given him the excuse to start yet another war. When will we ever learn the USA is first and last ONLY for the USA? It is a pity real people like Tony Blair have once again pledged the lives of our UK soldiers to satisfy this man's lust for revenge. His speech was for nothing as are his policies. He will lead the USA and others to disaster.
His term 'if you are not with the US, then you are with the terrorists', is inappropriate. I am sure that nations not supporting terrorism will have many reasons for not wanting military action and Mr. Bush is openly telling them, 'you are terrorists'. This will only create more animosity towards the US. Instead of making such statements, Mr. Bush should spend his time and effort in finding answers to 'of all the nations in the world, why only America'?
I thought he made a fine speech, but I am also sorry he omitted mentioning Canada. To my neighbours to the north, you are an amazing country, and a true friend to the US. Thank you for your support and encouragement.
I personally feel that Bush is playing on the emotions of the American people and through our blind patriotism at this moment, we are entering a severe phase of global 'blowback' and violence which result from American imperialist foreign policies of the past. Terrorism must be addressed but it must be done via an international tribunal and court of law - not via an American regime.
I believe that Bush said what he needed to say. If we do nothing to stop this, the terrorists will think that the nations of freedom are weak and the attacks will continue. When a child does something bad do we not punish them, when a criminal does a crime do we not sentence them? During WWII we all fought against the same evil that is being seen here. It was needed then and it is needed now.
First of all I would like to thank Mr Bush for his speech which was wonderful and full of emotions for the people of America. Although I do not believe in war, sometimes because of the situation, one has to react.
Our fine President has given a magnificent speech and in doing so has charged the world with a daunting and noble mission: Rid the world of all terrorists and those who support them! He named names. He spoke forcefully. He challenged America and our allies with a serious and difficult mission that, if executed properly, will do well for our generations to come. Why should we have to accept terrorism as part of life? Our President made it clear last night that we will not!
Tom Hulbert, United States
It was a good speech; however I doubt that Bush wrote a word of it (must admit he is reading a lot better, though). He covered the situation very well but I didn't care for the "if you're not with us, you're with the terrorists" comment. Sounded too much like a not-so-veiled threat to other countries - things like this are why we are so hated in the first place.
It lived up to MY expectations - sadly. I don't support any kind of knee-jerk indiscriminate attack on Afghanistan, but according to Bush this makes me a terrorist! The man is a fool.
President Bush has given a great speech. His administration didn't rush into a military situation and is taking his time to combat the threat of terrorism and deal with those who are responsible. It is terrible that things had to come to this, but this is really our first major catastrophe and it has awakened America. Mass innocent lives taken cannot be sacrificed at the behest of the terrorist.
I would also like to say that I extend my thanks to the British people and their government leaders - before I had a bit of disdain for Britain and its dislike for America, but I see now you have joined with us during this crisis, as we would be there for you in a likewise situation.
The fact is that many years of suppression has caused them to act out in such a way. They cannot take any more of the control of America or any other western state running their countries into the ground for the price of a dollar. America and Europe should release the grip they have over them. Look for the root cause, and he should stop saying statements like freedom and what we stand for - treat them as equals and respect their religion. George Bush, and Tony Blair for that matter, should credit their people with a little more intelligence. Time for honesty please, then we might get somewhere.
Addressing Congress is all very well but where is the UN in all of this? It appears that it is being completely sidelined in favour of Nato (again).
I highly approve of President Bush's political and personal endeavour. In his statement to congress, he esteemed Britain as a true friend to the USA, suggesting that there is no other in the ranking of such a country as the UK in. I agree fully. I do see another in the same light, Canada. I will always have high regard for these two countries, with which I always feel great oneness.
Celia West, US
I thought the speech was great. I want to thank the British, Canadians, Mexicans, French, Germans, Pakistanis, Australians, and ... for their support and I grieve for their lost. I wish Pres. Bush could have thanked each country for their support and mourned their loss. I ask the world to understand that as much as we try we can't be all things to all people all the time. So for our best friend, Canada, from one American, thank you for your support and my deepest sympathies for the families and friends of the lost Canadians.
Well, it's clear that Bush is building up the propaganda campaign - the media can be used as a powerful weapon. As for the content of his speech, it wasn't entirely true - especially the part about "why they hate us..." These groups hate the US because of US foreign policy, not only because of democracy. Call me anti-American, but I don't think an all out war against Afghanistan is going to solve anything.
As for the rest of his speech, it was properly placed, and positive according to the situation. Americans, and the world, need to hear the sound of confidence more than anything at a time such as this. I have no doubt that the US will win this war - I suppose that it is the lesser of two evils... "All that evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing."
Anne Niven, USA
What a load of nonsense to say we have to choose between the terrorists and US administration with its vile policies in the Middle East. Why can't we say they are both a murderous set of thugs?
I think it was a "brilliant" speech. It summed up how America feels and our response to this terror in our lives. I am frightened by the prospect of a global war (my husband is an officer in the Air Force Reserves. He is ready to go). But it is necessary for us to rid the world of this evil.
Andre Bernier, USA
Although by political affiliation I am a Democrat and a Liberal, with no qualms about saying so, I think Mr Bush gave a very good speech. He said what needed to be said to fellow citizens and the citizens of the world. My only criticism would be I would have liked the speech to be even more forceful.
I am not a fan of President Bush, but I have to say that I thought he did a great job - he spoke from the heart to the world.
Bush did a superlative job. The enemies of the US and Britain had best beware.
I thought President Bush's speech was excellent. However, I wish he would have called on the Israelis and Palestinians to show restraint and settle their differences, since it was their conflict and our blind support of Israel that was the underlying reason for Arab hatred of the US in the first place.
Sam Malone, USA
I heard the president say Britain was their best friend, what about the country to the north?
I thought it was a fantastic speech. I've had doubts about George W Bush and his ability to handle this crisis, especially considering some of his previous policies, but he is showing remarkable restraint as well as inspirational leadership. The way he singled out Tony Blair and the NYC mayor for praise was commendable, and the unequivocal statements directed towards the Taleban should give them no more room for brinkmanship either. Personally, I believe that this is a turning point in his presidency - George W Bush finally made the transition from a leader, to a world statesman.
I think Bush performed very well, he was very informative, respectful, and inclusive. I'm afraid that those who fear America's campaign and those who will respond in a hostile fashion may not have seen, heard, or had access to the President's address. They will receive a twisted report of this address by their leaders which will, yes, illicit a hostile response.
Charles Hagan, United States
That was just the speech we needed. He clearly defined the path America is pursuing, that we seek justice, not retaliation as so many claim. He took a tough stance against the Taleban and Bin Laden, clearly stating that the teachings of Islam are peaceful, but what Bin Laden and his followers advocate is nothing more than a perversion of Islam. He also expressed great appreciation and thanks to world leaders, in particular Prime Minister Blair, who has been our biggest supporter across the Atlantic. That is something we will not forget. I for one, am proud of our president.
George Bush looks as if he is enjoying himself, and is thinking ahead to a second term in office, but how does one fight an unknown enemy? As the British found to their cost, the Afghans are fierce fighters, and I do not think bombing their country into the ground will accomplish anything but will foster greater hatred. Bombing Iraq has done little to dislodge Saddam Hussein. Sanctions have only punished the poor people in Cuba. I do not have an answer, but I do not want war.
It was very emotional, patriotic and moving. A very good speech I would say. I just seriously hope that he knows what he's doing in Afghanistan.
I think it was brilliant, touching, moving and empowering. I do not personally believe in war as a solution to any issue, however I think there are moments in history when one has take on the weapons and lead the way. May God bless America and its leader.
Americans, including Bush, seem totally unaware of the existence of Canada. In his speech, Bush mentioned many countries but omitted his closest neighbour.
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