Cheney: Teamwork is Winning Global War Against Terrorism
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 20, 2006 Chiefly because the United States and its allies are confronting terrorism wherever it exists, terrorists are losing the global war on terror, Vice President Richard B. Cheney said yesterday at a media awards event here.
"After 9/11, we adopted a very aggressive strategy that involved a range of activities, but most especially going after the terrorists wherever we could find them," Cheney said during his remarks at the annual Gerald R. Ford Journalism Awards luncheon at the National Press Club.
That strategy involves financial, diplomatic and military components, Cheney said, and was adopted immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. The plan's key ingredient is obtaining assistance from allies, or "getting the locals into the fight," he said.
"That is to say, the United States cannot all by itself succeed every place unless we've got friends and allies willing to participate in the venture," Cheney said. International teamwork was at work, he said, during military operations that removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and the campaign that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan also have played key roles in combating global terrorists, he added.
"We've captured and killed more al Qaeda in Pakistan than just about any place in the world," Cheney said. "It's happened in Saudi Arabia and is happening now in Iraq."
And stepped up awareness in the United States, he said, has helped to ward off another terrorist attack on the homeland.
"We've taken some measures here at home that have been instrumental in collecting the intelligence we need to be able to disrupt attacks against the United States and to protect the lives of Americans," Cheney said. However, "nobody can promise that we won't be hit again," he cautioned. Yet "the very aggressive campaigns overseas in key areas as well as the extraordinary measures we've taken to defend the nation here at home are in no small part responsible for the fact that we have not been hit again since 9/11," Cheney said.
Cheney reiterated his belief that the insurgency in Iraq is on its last legs, citing the huge strides Iraqis made toward self-government in 2005, a year marked by democratic elections and the approval of a national constitution.
Twelve million Iraqis braved car bombs and other terrorist intimidation last December to cast their votes to select officials to run their new government, Cheney said. That process was completed, he said, when Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently announced the appointment of new interior, defense and national security ministers to his Cabinet.
Cheney predicted that history would view the 2005 Iraqi elections and the forming of the new government's Cabinet as a turning point when the insurgents' cause in Iraq was irretrievably lost.
"That's when we turned the corner; that's when we began to get a handle on the long-term future of Iraq," he said.