Progress Evident in Terror War, Rumsfeld Says
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 19, 2004 The United States and its coalition partner nations are making progress in the war against global terrorism, according to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
"We are unquestionably putting a lot of pressure on the extremists who are conducting these terrorist acts around the world," Rumsfeld told National Public Radio's Juan Williams during a July 16 interview.
The U.S.-led, anti-terror coalition of 80 to 90 nations, he said, is sharing intelligence and making it harder for the terrorists to move money. The coalition also is making it harder for the terrorists to recruit and retain people.
"We're making it harder for them to communicate with each other, harder for them to move between countries," Rumsfeld said.
The coalition has also brought down the Abdul Qadeer Khan network that was trading in nuclear materials and technologies, the secretary said. Khan, the father of Pakistan's gas centrifuge program, was removed from his post as advisor to Pakistan's prime minister for providing nuclear technology, components, and equipment to Iran, Libya, and North Korea.
Rumsfeld noted that "Libya has come forward and decided to forego weapons of mass destruction."
America is safer today, he said, than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four jetliners and attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Many terrorists have been captured or killed, and more information about their activities has been gleaned.
The United States has focused significant resources on protection. "We have a much better protection system, for example, at our airports," Rumsfeld said. "We have a much higher level of vigilance and awareness on the part of the American people."
The United States is safer today because of the steps that have been taken, but there is no "perfect safety" when people are determined to kill other people, he warned.
"Now the reality is that a terrorist can attack at any time, at any place, using any technique," Rumsfeld said. "And it is physically impossible to protect every location against every conceivable type of attack, and it's particularly difficult for free people."
If terrorists cause Americans to give up the freedoms and benefits of a free society, he stressed, "then the terrorists have won."