THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
|For Immediate Release
|August 20, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Edgartown Elementary School
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
1:55 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today I ordered ourArmed Forces to strike at terrorist-related facilities inAfghanistan and Sudan because of the threat they present to ournational security.
I have said many times that terrorism is one of thegreatest dangers we face in this new global era. We saw itstwisted mentality at work last week in the embassy bombings inNairobi and Dar es Salaam, which took the lives of innocentAmericans and Africans and injured thousands more. Today we havestruck back.
The United States launched an attack this morning onone of the most active terrorist bases in the world. It islocated in Afghanistan and operated by groups affiliated withOsama bin Laden, a network not sponsored by any state, but asdangerous as any we face. We also struck a chemicalweapons-related facility in Sudan. Our target was theterrorists' base of operation and infrastructure. Our objectivewas to damage their capacity to strike at Americans and otherinnocent people.
I ordered this action for four reasons: First,because we have convincing evidence these groups played the keyrole in the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Second,because these groups have executed terrorist attacks againstAmericans in the past. Third, because we have compellinginformation that they were planning additional terrorist attacksagainst our citizens and others with the inevitable collateralcasualties we saw so tragically in Africa. And, fourth, becausethey are seeking to acquire chemical weapons and other dangerousweapons.
Terrorists must have no doubt that, in the face oftheir threats, America will protect its citizens and willcontinue to lead the world's fight for peace, freedom andsecurity.
Now I am returning to Washington to be briefed by myNational Security team on the latest information. I will provideyou with a more detailed statement later this afternoon from theWhite House.
Thank you very much.