BUSH - Urges children to send $1 for Afghan childrengreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Tuesday October 16 4:22 PM ET
Bush Urges Children Send in $1 for Afghan Children
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hours after a Red Cross center in Kabul was destroyed during U.S. air strikes, President Bush on Tuesday urged American children to send in $1 a piece to help feed the children of Afghanistan -- through the Red Cross.
``One way to fight evil is to fight it with kindness, and love and compassion, and what an amazing contrast it is for our children to help children in need in Afghanistan,'' Bush said during a visit to the American Red Cross, surrounded by about 100 children involved in the collection effort.
Bush's effort, first announced on Thursday night, to raise money for food, clothing, medicine and shelter for Afghan children displaced by the air strikes has already prompted 90,000 letters to the White House.
But the public relations effort took a blow when a U.S. bomb reportedly hit a warehouse belonging to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the Afghan capital. One staff member was slightly wounded by flying glass.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the Defense Department was reviewing the incident. He said it was unclear whether U.S. weaponry was at fault, saying it was possible the warehouse was hit by anti-aircraft fire from Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.
The ICRC reacted furiously to destruction of the warehouse, saying the building was marked as a civilian facility. ``It is definitely a civilian target. In addition to that, it is a clearly marked ICRC warehouse,'' said Robert Moni, head of the Red Cross' delegation in Kabul, now been evacuated to Pakistan.
During Bush's visit to the American Red Cross, children from the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other related organizations held up $1 bills as they posed for pictures with the president. Others in the audience handed him $1 bills when he shook their hands. He handed the money over to Red Cross representatives.
Trying to address their fears in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on Washington and New York, Bush told the children their kindness was in stark contrast ``to the message of hate that our boys and girls have seen on TV -- a message frankly that's hard for a lot of our kids in America to understand.
``Why would somebody hate so badly that they would fly airplanes to take lives? Why is it that people send ugly things through the mail. And my answer is there's evil in the world. But we can overcome evil. We're good, we're good-hearted people, and the boys and girls of America are showing the world just that,'' he told them.
He reiterated that America was not at war with Muslims but instead with evil people who ``claim they're religious but are not.
``And I also want the boys and girls to know that while you're helping, our government is doing everything it can to make America safe. We're doing everything we can to find anybody who wants to hurt you to bring them to justice. We're doing everything we can to respond to any act that may take place in our country,'' he said.
Bush's appeal for dollar bills came a day after a letter containing anthrax was delivered to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office -- the latest in a series of similar incidents that has triggered anxiety across the country.
Fleischer acknowledged that steps had been taken to ensure the safety of mail coming to the White House after last month's attacks. He said the mail is reviewed off the grounds of the White House and a vigorous screening system was already in place prior to Sept. 11. It has been strengthened since then.
Meanwhile, Bush prepared to depart on Wednesday for Shanghai, China, to attend a summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
Fleischer said Bush had ``absolute faith'' in the ability of the Secret Service to secure the president's safety and that Bush would be able to lead the war effort even while half a world away from Washington.
``Telephones work,'' said Fleischer.
Bush spoke by phone to Australian Prime Minister John Howard and gave interviews to three regional news organizations.
The White House played down Secretary of State Colin Powell's comment in Islamabad that any future Afghan government should include the opposition was well as elements of the Taliban.
Appearing with Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf, Powell said the term Taliban defines the current regime but also defines a group of people.
``If you got rid of the regime, there will still be those who might find the teachings and feeling and beliefs of that movement are still very important,'' Powell said.
Asked about the comment, Fleischer said the United States will work with those who want a peaceful, economically developed Afghanistan free of terrorism.
``And that will be a broad-based group. I think beyond that, it's too early to say exactly who will be in, who will not be in. That's going to be something the president has indicated he wants to work with the United Nations as a part of,'' he said.
Fleischer also was unimpressed by anti-American demonstrations in Pakistan and Indonesia, saying the thousands protesting did not amount to much compared to the large populations in these countries.
``Pakistan is a nation of 150 million people, and the protests have numbered in the thousands. And with each day, it seems that there are less people in the streets, not more,'' he said.
-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001
Children at a local school had a fund drive late September. Janitor stole the proceeds. Hope the money was returned, that has to be pretty demoralizing for the young 'uns.
-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001