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9/2/03 - THE FIRST WAR OF THE 21ST CENTURY - 2003-09-03


In the first war of the 21st century, the United States, its friends, and allies are facing a new enemy: the global terror network. Their aim, said President George W. Bush, “is to spread chaos and fear by killing on an ever-widening scale”:

“We’ve seen the hand of the terrorist enemy in the attacks on our country. We’ve seen the deadly work of the terrorists in Bali, in Mombasa, in Riyadh, in Jakarta, in Casablanca. On a single day we saw the true nature of terrorists once again. In Baghdad they attacked a symbol of the civilized world –- the United Nations headquarters -– and they killed men and women who were there to bring humanitarian help to the Iraqi people. They killed a respected U-N Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello from Brazil. And on the same day in Jerusalem, a terrorist murdered twenty-one innocent people who were riding a bus.”

No nation can be neutral in this struggle. The terrorists celebrate the murder of women and children. As President Bush said, “They hate freedom and religious tolerance and democracy and equality for women. They hate Christians and Jews and every Muslim who does not share their narrow and violent vision”:

“Because America stands for freedom and tolerance and the rights of all, the terrorists have targeted our country. . . . Five years ago, one of the terrorists said that an attack could make America run in less than twenty-four hours. They’re learning something different today. The terrorists have not seen America running. They’ve seen America marching. They have seen the armies of liberation marching into Kabul and Baghdad.”

The U.S. has adopted a new strategy for this new kind of war. The U.S. will not wait for known enemies to strike first. As President Bush put it, the U.S. “will strike them and their camps or caves, or wherever they hide before they hit. . . . We are on the offensive against terror, and we will stay on the offensive.”

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