Monday, April 01, 2002


US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (from today's briefing):

Good afternoon.

It is important, I think, that all of us keep in mind that the September 11th attack on America was not just an attack on our country but, indeed, an attack on free people everywhere, and that terrorism was not a crime perpetrated by alleged criminals but really, it was an act of war waged by enemies who need to be tracked down, found and defeated wherever they hide, where they train, where they operate, no matter how long it takes. Unless and until that occurs, terrorism will not just continue but expand and will intensify in its power and scope.

Murderers are not martyrs. Targeting civilians is immoral, whatever the excuse. Terrorists have declared war on civilization, and states like Iran, Iraq and Syria are inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing. The president has declared war on terrorism. It's a war unlike any other America has ever fought -- not only in the nature of the battle and the weapons and tactics employed, which will undoubtedly change from place to place, but in this conflict, the battlefield is but one threat of many.

Not only are we attacking the enemies arrayed against us, but we're going after the sources of their funding. We're seeking to disrupt their operations and to deny them their havens. We're working to make it clear that sponsors and supporters of terrorists that being a friend to terrorists and by implication an adversary of the United States is not in their best interest. When I'm asked how long we can continue the war on terrorism, when will it end and how will we know when we've achieved victory, it seems to me there is only one answer. The question boils down to this: How long will we keep doing what we're doing to protect the American people from attack from weapons of mass destruction and from terrorism of the type we witnessed on September 11th, and the answer is, as long as it takes. And we'll produce whatever is necessary to win, and go wherever it is necessary to win.

As the president has repeatedly said, this nation will defend freedom. The American people, and the men and women who are fighting to defend them, understand very clearly and are patient and are determined to prevail.