It's war on terrorists

(President, defense secretary statements)

President warns world

by Jim Garamone

WASHINGTON � President George W. Bush told the military to "be ready" during a speech before a historic joint session of Congress Sept. 20.

Bush said the terrorist threat facing America is unlike any conflict the country has fought. "I�ve called the armed forces to alert, and there is a reason," he said. "The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud."

Before Bush spoke, officials in New York released a revised casualty estimate for the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on, and collapse of, the World Trade Center�s twin towers. More than 6,300 people were missing, up from about 4,700.

Bush said the target for a concentrated effort by the U.S. government is the Al Qaeda network led by Osama bin Laden. "They are the same murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole," he said. The embassies were bombed Aug. 7, 1998; the destroyer Cole was attacked Oct. 12, 2000.

He said these terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. "The terrorists� directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinction among military and civilians, including women and children," he said.

The Al Qaeda network has thousands of adherents in more than 60 countries, Bush said. "They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror," he said. "They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction." Al Qaeda has links with terrorist groups in other countries.

Afghanistan has provided safe haven for bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network. (See related story.) But the president made clear America�s attention extends far beyond Afghanistan�s ruling party, the Taliban. Every nation everywhere has a decision to make, he said.

"Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists," Bush said. "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

He said America will fight the war on terrorism by bringing all its resources to bear. The war will not be like Desert Storm 10 years ago or like air war over Yugoslavia two years ago "where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat," he warned.

"Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen," Bush said. "It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV and covert operations secret even in success."

Bush also announced he will establish a cabinet-level position called the Office of Homeland Security under the leadership of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge.

"Our nation has been put on notice: we are not immune from attack," Bush said. "We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans. Today, dozens of federal departments and agencies, as well as state and local governments, have responsibilities affecting homeland security. These efforts must be coordinated at the highest level."

Bush spoke to the loss America suffered Sept. 11, and the road that lies ahead. "In our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment," he said. "Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom � the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time � now depends on us.

"Our nation � this generation � will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."

Mr. Garamone writes for American Forces Press Service.

Rumsfeld on terrorists: drain the swamp they live in

by SFC Kathleen Rhem

WASHINGTON � The best defense against terrorism is to go on the offensive, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters in the Pentagon Sept. 18.

"We simply cannot batten down the hatches and try to cope with every conceivable thing the terrorists can imagine to do," he said. "They�ve already done some unimaginable things."

The secretary warned of a long process to fight terrorist threats against the United States. "This will take a long, sustained effort," he said. "It will require the support of the American people as well as our friends and allies around the world."

But, he said, he�s sure the American people are up to the challenge, "and certainly the men and women in uniform are up to it."

The biggest challenge will be deciding how to deal with countries that allow terrorists to prosper within their borders.

"Terrorists do not function in a vacuum. They don�t live in Antarctica. They work, they train and they plan in countries," Rumsfeld said. "And they�re benefiting from the support of governments ... that are either actively supporting them with money, intelligence and weapons or allowing them to function on their territory and tolerating � if not encouraging � their activities."

The best way to get at the terrorist networks is to "drain the swamp they live in," Rumsfeld said, referring to action against countries that harbor terrorist activities.

Convincing these countries to change their ways won�t be like any war America has ever fought. "In the past, we were used to dealing with armies, navies, air forces, ships, guns and tanks," Rumsfeld said. "This adversary is different. It doesn�t have any of those things or any high-value targets we can go after. But those countries that support them and give sanctuary do have such targets."

The important thing, Rumsfeld said, is to not give in to what the terrorists want. "The people who committed these acts are clearly determined to try to force the United States of America and our values to withdraw from the world or to respond by curtailing our freedoms," he said. "If we do that, the terrorists will have won."

Basically, Americans have a choice, Rumsfeld explained. They can change the way they live, which the secretary called unacceptable, or America can change the way the terrorists live.

"We have chosen the latter. We intend to put them on the defensive," Rumsfeld said. "This requires a distinctly different approach from any war we�ve fought before."

SFC Rhem writes for American Forces Press Service.

Rescue worker at Ground Zero A lone rescue worker at Ground Zero.
World Trade Center after Sept. 11 attack One of the World Trade Center's twin towers after the Sept. 11 attack.

dividing rule

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