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Total Government Effort Will Defeat Terror Networks

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2001 – The Bush administration is going to move on terrorist networks in a measured, deliberate way, DoD's top civilian and military leaders said Sept. 27.

Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a noon Pentagon press briefing that Americans should resist the idea of a quick military victory over the terrorists.

"From a military standpoint, it is very easy when faced with a crisis to default automatically to the military because we can move fast and we can do things that will show up well on television or in a newspaper," he said. "On the other hand, if you really want to be effective, you have to understand we have a lot of tools (in the government), and we will be much more effective if we bring them together at the enemy's center of gravity."

He called the Bush administration's intended multifaceted, multidimensional campaign the right way to go. Both Shelton and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have said since the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and New York's World Trade Center, that some elements of terrorism are best countered by other agencies. The State Department, Justice Department and Treasury Department have roles to play in the campaign as well as the Defense Department.

Shelton said the intelligence agencies are up to the tasks of finding terrorist organizations and the cells within them. "I am confident of our intelligence community's ability to focus its efforts and to go against these terrorist organizations," he said.

The intelligence war against these organizations has been going on for quite some time. "It's not something that we are just starting today," he said. There have been some great successes over the last two to three years, Shelton said.

The intelligence push against terrorists is increasing. "I am confident that we will have the wherewithal in the intelligence, as well as in the other dimensions of the campaign, to root out and eliminate the organizations that we focus on," he said.

The chairman told reporters the United States is receiving great help from partners, allies and friends around the world. "It's the civilized world against the terrorist world," he said. "Without a doubt we have the ability to go after these terrorist organizations and to achieve a victory."

Shelton is scheduled to retire from the military on Sept. 30 after 38 years of service. He said he has very mixed emotions about leaving at such a time. He compared himself to a quarterback who's behind by a touchdown but knows the team's going to come through and win in the end.

"You're in the first quarter, and all of a sudden the coach sends a player out on the field to tell you your eligibility just expired," he said. "I'd probably break down in tears, except that when I look over at the bench, I see an All-American quarterback suiting up and ready to come in. His name is (Air Force Gen.) Dick Myers. He along with the team will go to victory."

Myers was confirmed Sept. 14 as Shelton's successor to the chairmanship.

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