For the last twenty-two months, the United States and its friends and allies have been involved in a war against terrorism. This worldwide campaign began after the September 11th, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.
Terrorists, said Vice President Dick Cheney, “target the innocent as a means of spreading chaos and fear”:
“This enemy holds no territory, defends no population, is unconstrained by rules of warfare, and respects no law of morality. Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased, or negotiated with. It can only be destroyed, and that’s the business at hand.”
The U.S. strategy in the war on terror, said Mr. Cheney, “is based on a clear understanding of the enemy”:
“We are not going to answer further danger by simply issuing diplomatic protests or sharply worded condemnations. We will not wait in false comfort while terrorists plot against innocent Americans. We will not permit outlaw states and terror groups to join forces in a deadly alliance that could threaten the lives of millions of Americans. We will act, and act decisively, before gathering threats can inflict catastrophic harm on the American people.”
The relentless pursuit of the global terror network continues. Of those directly involved in organizing the September 11th attacks, many are now in custody or confirmed dead. The U.S.-led coalition took the battle directly to the terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. In the process, the Afghan people have reclaimed their country. The oppressive Taleban regime is no longer in power, and al-Qaida terrorists no longer have sanctuary in Afghanistan.
The leadership of al-Qaida has sustained heavy losses. But while defeated in Afghanistan, terrorists have conducted attacks since September 11th in a wide variety of places: in Bali, Mombassa, Casablanca, and Riyadh, to name a few.
The terrorists intend to strike again. “Yet no one should doubt the intentions of our nation,” said Vice President Cheney, “One by one, in every corner of the world, we will hunt the terrorists down and destroy them.”