New Generation Faces New Kind of War, Cheney Says
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2004 A new generation of American service members has picked up the gauntlet thrown by terrorists and has accepted new responsibilities in the world, Vice President Dick Cheney said at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Jan. 26.
"Today's generation of our military has been called to fight in the first war of the 21st century - a war that began on September 11th, 2001, when enemies struck the United States and murdered thousands of our fellow citizens," Cheney said to assembled airmen, their families and their Italian allies.
Cheney said that Sept. 11 changed everything, and in that day of violence and grief, America got a glimpse of the even greater harm terrorists want to inflict on America. "The terrorists hate our country and everything we stand for in the world," Cheney said. "They seek even deadlier weapons, and they would use them against us. In the face of this danger, we have only one option, and that's to take the fight to the enemy."
The coalition against terrorism is breaking up cells and disrupting plots. America and its allies are tracking al Qaeda operatives around the world, Cheney said. "Many skilled and determined military personnel are on a manhunt," he noted, "and one by one, we will bring the terrorists to justice."
And the United States is prepared to hold liable rogue regimes that support terrorists, provide them havens and provide them with weapons of mass destruction. "That's why we went into Afghanistan, and took down the regime, and shut down the al Qaeda camps," he said.
Afghanistan today is a land embarked on a democratic trail. The country has written a new constitution and the Loya Jirga has accepted it. Afghanistan has a long way to go - Taliban and al Qaeda remnants are still battling coalition service members - but it will never again house the terrorists, Cheney said.
"In Iraq, where a dictator cultivated ties to terror and sought to arm himself with deadly weapons, America led a mission to make the world safer, and liberate the Iraqi people," the vice president said. "Saddam Hussein defied the demands of the civilized world and he has experienced the consequences."
At the start of 2003, Saddam controlled the lives of 25 million people. "Now at the beginning of 2004, he's in jail," Cheney said. "He will never again brutalize his people, never again threaten the United States of America."
The vice president said recent combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq showed the great power and precision of America's modern military. U.S. military units were able to strike at military targets and spare civilian resources, he said.
"We will invest in these and other capabilities in the years ahead," Cheney noted. "To carry out any mission that may come, you deserve the very best, in terms of weapons, equipment, and training and support. And you will have them."
Cheney said operations continue in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. military personnel are working with coalition partners from around the world to "establish free and stable societies in a troubled region of the world."
That effort still has enemies, he said, and those enemies have adopted terror tactics to confront the United States. "They hope to intimidate us, but they won't succeed," Cheney declared. "We will confront and defeat them at the heart and the center of their power, so we do not have to face them on the streets of our own cities."