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Anti-Terror War Is International Effort, Wolfowitz Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2002 – Terrorists who attacked America Sept. 11 are fanatics who've declared war on international values of freedom, democracy and free enterprise, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said here today.

Hundreds of people of other nationalities, as well as Americans, were killed in the attacks; yet, the terrorists seek to destroy more than human lives, Wolfowitz said at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The terrorists were targeting "truly international values," the deputy defense secretary explained.

"Sometimes, we think of them as American values the belief in freedom and democracy and the benefits of a free enterprise system," Wolfowitz said, "but increasingly, as we've seen in the last century, those are values that are not just American, not just Western, they really are universal."

The global war against terrorism "really is a struggle between those universal values and a fanatical group of people that would much rather condemn the world, or least a large part of the world, to (a) medieval kind of darkness," Wolfowitz said.

The stakes in this struggle "are very large," Wolfowitz said. Therefore, it's heartening, he added, to see the strong expressions of solidarity presented by the international community in the fight against terrorism.

After Sept. 11, nations around the world rallied to America's side, Wolfowitz said. NATO - for the first time -- invoked its Article V to come to America's defense. NATO Airborne Warning and Control System crews from 13 countries, he added, had patrolled U.S. airspace from Oct. 9, 2001 until May 16 as part of homeland defense efforts.

More than half of the 14,000 anti-terrorism troops in Afghanistan come from 20 coalition countries. "It's a vital contribution," he said.

An enormous amount has been achieved against terrorists in Afghanistan, Wolfowitz said, noting it's been "an international effort." Yet, he pointed out, the war against terrorism is being fought in other theaters, too. U.S. forces are providing military training and other assistance to authorities in Yemen, the Philippines and the Republic of Georgia, he said, so that those countries "have more capability" to fight terrorism themselves.

The war against terrorism is a coalition effort, Wolfowitz said. "(Al Qaeda is) burrowed into some 60 countries, including Germany, and France and the U.K. and, quite definitely, the United States of America," he said.

America and "a series of multiple coalitions" representing 68 countries assist each other in the fight against global terrorism, Wolfowitz said. "Even here at home when we're going after al Qaeda terrorists a lot of what we're able to accomplish is thanks to cooperative work with intelligence agencies of other countries, thanks to information that we're able to get from one country that locates someone here," he said.

Winning the war against terrorism "is about more than just defeating, capturing and killing terrorists," Wolfowitz said. "It's also, as the President said in his State of the Union message, about building a better world beyond this war on terrorism."

Wolfowitz said a key component of building this better world is reaching out to the Muslims. The deputy, a former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, said he is convinced that "hundreds of millions of Muslims" across the world "aspire to those same values and the benefits of freedom and prosperity that we enjoy."

Opportunities to reach out and connect with such Muslims exist and should be pursued, Wolfowitz said. "I think we have to do that," he continued, adding, "It's not just the defeat of terrorists," America and her allies seek, "but a much better world after all that is accomplished."

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