[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[August 20, 1998]
[Page 1460]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

[[Page 1460]]

Remarks in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on Military Action Against 
Terrorist Sites in Afghanistan and Sudan
August 20, 1998

    Good afternoon. Today I ordered our Armed Forces to strike at 
terrorist-related facilities in Afghanistan and Sudan because of the 
threat they present to our national security.
    I have said many times that terrorism is one of the greatest dangers 
we face in this new global era. We saw its twisted mentality at work 
last week in the Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which 
took the lives of innocent Americans and Africans and injured thousands 
more. Today we have struck back.
    The United States launched an attack this morning on one of the most 
active terrorist bases in the world. It is located in Afghanistan and 
operated by groups affiliated with Usama bin Ladin, a network not 
sponsored by any state but as dangerous as any we face. We also struck a 
chemical weapons-related facility in Sudan. Our target was the 
terrorists' base of operation and infrastructure. Our objective was to 
damage their capacity to strike at Americans and other innocent people.
    I ordered this action for four reasons: first, because we have 
convincing evidence these groups played the key role in the Embassy 
bombings in Kenya and Tanzania; second, because these groups have 
executed terrorist attacks against Americans in the past; third, because 
we have compelling information that they were planning additional 
terrorist attacks against our citizens and others with the inevitable 
collateral casualties we saw so tragically in Africa; and fourth, 
because they are seeking to acquire chemical weapons and other dangerous 
    Terrorists must have no doubt that, in the face of their threats, 
America will protect its citizens and will continue to lead the world's 
fight for peace, freedom, and security.
    Now I am returning to Washington to be briefed by my national 
security team on the latest information. I will provide you with a more 
detailed statement later this afternoon from the White House.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:55 p.m. in the gymnasium at Edgartown 
Elementary School, prior to his departure for Washington, DC.