Rumsfeld Says Progress in War Is Measurable
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2001 After three weeks of action in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the war on terrorism is going well and there has been measurable progress.
Rumsfeld, speaking to Cokie Roberts on ABC's This Week program, said aircraft now have much better intelligence and that means better targets. The air campaign has also put pressure on Al Qaeda and Taliban troops forcing them to move, and that has given U.S. aircraft additional targets, he added.
Rumsfeld said he has every reason to believe that coalition forces will find Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but warned that finding him will not end the threat of terrorism. "This is not about a single person, it is about the problem of terrorism," he said. "He is one element of Al Qaeda, there are a lot of leaders.
"If he were to disappear today, there would still be the Al Qaeda network, there would still be other terrorist networks and there still would be worldwide terrorism that would need to be dealt with."
Rumsfeld said the president has declared war on international terrorism, and U.S. forces are taking the war to these networks. "There is no way to defend everywhere in the world against terrorists, you simply must go find them and root them out," he said. "That is what is under way. To think only of one man is a mistake. Will we get him? I think we will."
Roberts asked Rumsfeld if Iraq supplied the anthrax that has infected so many places in the United States. Rumsfeld said Iraq is listed as a state that sponsors terrorism. "There's no question but that Iraq is a state that has committed terrorist acts and sponsored terrorist acts," he said. But he refused to speculate on news reports on the source of the anthrax or possible U.S. response.