The overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq was a great victory in the war against terrorism. It is part of a U.S.-led campaign that began shortly after the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. As the U.S. State Department's latest report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism" shows, terrorist attacks have declined sharply, from three-hundred-fifty-five in 2001 to fewer than two hundred in 2002.
Among the many victories: Afghanistan was liberated from the extremist Taleban regime and its al-Qaida sponsors. And as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, much damage was inflicted on al-Qaida and its terrorist allies:
"Thousands of terrorists have been captured and detained. For those still at large, life has definitely become more difficult. It is harder for terrorists to hide and find safe haven. It is harder for them to organize and sustain operations. Terrorist cells have been broken up, networks disrupted, and plots foiled."
Yet, as Secretary of State Powell said, "terrorism still casts its grim shadow across the globe." The al-Qaida-affiliated Islamic International Brigade, the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment, and the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion were involved in the seizure of over eight-hundred hostages at a Moscow theater in October 2002. That same month, the al-Qaida affiliated Jemaah Islamiyah carried out bombings in Bali that killed some two-hundred people from two dozen countries. And state sponsors of terrorism -- Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba remain active.
As Secretary of State Powell said, when it comes to terrorism, the world cannot afford to lower its guard:
“Even as I speak, terrorists are planning appalling crimes and trying to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction. We cannot and will not relax our resolve, our efforts, and our vigilance. The international campaign against terrorism must press forward on every front: diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, financial, and military.”
As President George W. Bush said, "We will prosecute the war on terror with patience and focus and determination. With the help of a broad coalition, we will make certain that terrorists and their supporters are not safe in any cave or corner of the world.”