Innocent men, women and children from more than eighty countries died in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. In the wake of that terrible day, a great coalition of nations was assembled to destroy global terrorist organizations and, in particular, the terrorist group that carried out the attacks: al-Qaida.
Since then, the U.S. and its allies have disrupted plans for more than one-hundred terrorist attacks around the world. Another major victory in the war on terrorism was the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. Earlier, in Afghanistan, the U.S.-led coalition destroyed the oppressive Taleban regime and its al-Qaida sponsors.
Almost all of those directly involved in organizing the September 11th attacks are now in custody or confirmed dead. Sixty-five percent of the senior al-Qaida leadership have been captured or killed. Terrorist cells have been broken up in Hamburg, Milan, Madrid, London, Paris, and many other cities. Hundreds of millions of dollars in terrorist assets have been frozen. Terrorist front organizations have been shut down. There have been many successes. But as U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft pointed out, al-Qaida still intends to strike the United States:
"We believe that al-Qaida continues to exist. We believe that al-Qaida associates are involved in America. I think the American people understand that we're always conscious of the potential presence and activity of individuals who would hurt us from within the country. It's not just individuals who might transit the country, although we believe that is also a threat."
As long as the threat continues, so will the war on terrorism. As President George W. Bush said, the terrorists that have so far managed to elude justice are running out of time:
"Terrorists that remain can be certain of this: We will hunt them by day and night in every corner of the world until they are no longer a threat to America and our friends.”
The war on terror is not yet over, but the tide is turning.