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Cheney Vows: Terrorism Will be Overcome

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2003 – For decades, terrorists have waged war against the United States. Now, America is waging war against terrorists, Vice President Richard Cheney said today.

"We will not wait in false comfort while terrorists plot against innocent Americans," Cheney said in an address at the American Enterprise Institute here. "We will not permit outlaw states and terror groups to join forces in a deadly alliance that could threaten the lives of millions of Americans. We will act and act decisively before gathering threats can inflict catastrophic harm on the American people."

U.S. and coalition forces have seen their share of victories against terror's shadowy ranks, he said, "sometimes in pitched battle, sometimes in the stealth of special operations, sometimes in sudden, decisive strikes -- like the one witnessed two days ago by the late Uday and Qusay Hussein."

For the past 22 months, U.S. officials have used a new strategy to combat global terrorism. The vice president said new thinking was required in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed more Americans than were lost at Pearl Harbor.

"This was the merest glimpse of the violence terrorists are willing to inflict on this country," he said. Terrorists aim "to kill as many Americans as possible with the most destructive weapons they can obtain," including weapons of mass destruction that could inflict catastrophic harm.

"This enemy holds no territory, defends no population, is unconstrained by rules of warfare, and respects no law of morality," Cheney stressed. "Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased or negotiated with; it can only be destroyed, and that's the business at hand."

From the start, he said, U.S. defense officials recognized the war on terror would be a long-term challenge and require a long-term commitment. It would test the nation's resolve and demand many sacrifices from men and women in uniform.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the United States and allies took the battle to the terrorists hiding in Afghanistan. "The Afghan people have reclaimed their country from a depraved regime," Cheney said. "And the violent rule of the Taliban has been ended forever."

Many of those involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are now in custody or confirmed dead. Al Qaeda's leadership, Cheney said, has sustained heavy losses.

In Iraq, he said, the United States and its allies "rid the Iraqi people of a murderous dictator and rid the world of a menace to our future peace and security."

Yet, he added, "the loose and decentralized networks of terrorism are still finding recruits, still plotting attacks. A hateful ideology, which defiles a great religion, has taken root in many parts of the world. Terrorists have conducted attacks since Sept. 11th in Bali (Indonesia), Mombassa (Kenya), Casablanca (Morocco) and Riyadh (Saudi Arabia). The terrorists intend to strike America again," Cheney warned.

No one should doubt the intentions of our nation, the vice president said. "One by one, in every corner of the world, we will hunt the terrorists down and destroy them. We will not rest until we have overcome the threat of terror. We will not relent until we have assured the freedom and security of the American people."

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