It has been almost two years since the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, a horrific event that forever changed the lives of every American. In response to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the U.S. and a massive coalition of nations resolved to take the fight to the terrorists themselves; to root out terror networks; and to hold accountable states that harbor terrorists.
In the past two years, the coalition has made great progress. It has disrupted plans for more than one-hundred terrorist attacks around the world. Al-Qaida, the group responsible for the September 11th attacks, has been deprived of its chief sanctuary, Afghanistan. Nearly two-thirds of its senior leaders, managers, and facilitators have been captured or killed. The rest are on the run -- permanently. Hundreds of millions of dollars in terrorist assets have been frozen and front organizations have been shut down.
Another key victory in the war against terrorism, as U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice said, was the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in Iraq:
"Saddam Hussein's regime posed a threat to security of the United States and the world. This was a regime that pursued, had used and possessed weapons of mass destruction. He had links to terror, twice invaded other nations; defied the international community and seventeen U-N resolutions for twelve years and gave every indication that he would never disarm and never comply with the just demands of the world. That threat could not be allowed to remain."
The lesson of September 11th is that no terrorist threat can be ignored. As President George W. Bush said, the over three thousand men, women and children from more than ninety countries who died that day will not be forgotten:
"I will not forget the lessons of September the 11th. And those lessons are loud and clear, that there are people who want to inflict harm on the American people. And I made the pledge to the American people and the families and those who grieved, that we will hunt down the terrorists wherever they are and bring them to justice. And that's what we're going to do."
Thanks to the unparalleled cooperation of the nations of the world, that promise is being kept.