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02 December 2002

Cheney Says U.S. Waging Effective Campaign Against Terror

(Addresses Air National Guard leaders in Colorado) (3370)
Vice President Cheney told Air National Guard leaders that the United
States continues to face grave dangers from terrorism, but vowed the
Bush Administration will continue to meet the threats.
"[O]ur war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun. This
campaign may not be finished on our watch, yet it must be and it will
be waged on our watch," said Cheney, speaking December 2 to an Air
National Guard Senior Leadership Conference in Colorado.
Unlike previous military challenges faced by the United States, in the
terrorists "we have enemies who have nothing to defend," he said. "A
group like the al Qaeda cannot be deterred or placated or reasoned
with at a conference table. For this reason the war against terror
will not end in a treaty. There will be no summit meeting or
negotiations with terrorists."
Cheney repeated the Bush administration's assertion that its campaign
against terror is not directed against the Islamic faith. "As the
President has said, this is a fight to save the civilized world. This
is a struggle against evil, against an enemy that rejoices in the
murder of innocent, unsuspecting human beings," he said.
Turing to Iraq, the vice president said that "confronting the threat
posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror. It is
absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror." Saddam Hussein, he
said, harbors terrorists and could supply biological or chemical
weapons to terrorist groups or individuals. "The war on terror will
not be won till Iraq is completely and verifiably deprived of weapons
of mass destruction." he said.
"Delay and defiance" from Saddam Hussein's regime in response to the
November 8 U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Iraq to give up
its weapons of mass destruction "will invite the severest
consequences," Cheney warned. "The demands of the world will be met,
or action will be unavoidable. Either Saddam Hussein will fully comply
with the United Nations resolution, or the United States and a
coalition of other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein."
Following is the text of Vice President Cheney's speech:
(begin transcript)
Office of the Vice President
December 2, 2002
Adams Mark Hotel Denver, Colorado
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much,
General. I appreciate that warm welcome. I've been looking forward to
having the opportunity to visit Denver today and to address the senior
leaders of America's Air National Guard. I am honored to bring you
greetings from the former Commander-in-Chief of the Texas National
Guard, and the first Air National Guard veteran ever to live in the
White House -- President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
I talked to the President just this morning, and he asked me to please
give you his personal thanks for the fantastic job you've done for all
us over the course of the last year and a half. In a speech last year
to a group of National Guard personnel in Charleston, the President
said that you not only have a former Guardsman in the White House, you
also have a friend in the White House. And let me say to all of you
that you also have a friend in the Vice President's office, as well.
In every generation, America has been served by people of honor, who
place duty and country above themselves. And I know that I'm
addressing many of those right now this morning.
The National Guard plays a unique role in our nation's defense. You
serve America within our borders, and beyond our borders. You assist
your neighbors in flood and storm and fire, and you answer your
country's call to provide for the common defense. You are truly
dual-missioned. But you have a single, overriding purpose -- you live
your lives for the sake of your nation and your fellow Americans.
The Air National Guard's role in the aftermath of September 11th has
been truly remarkable. You have assumed an astonishing portion of the
military missions in Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring
Freedom. Today, there are nearly 11,000 mobilized and volunteer
members of the Air National Guard serving at home or overseas. Air
National Guard pilots fly three quarters of the combat air patrols
defending the United States mainland, you provide 40 percent of our
airlift capacity in Afghanistan, and 42 percent of the fighters in our
air expeditionary force. Between September 11th of 2001 and September
11th of this year, Air National Guard pilots flew 46,000 sorties. As
members of the National Guard, you may not be full-time soldiers, but
you are all full-time patriots. (Applause.)
In my trip to the Middle East last March, I met Air National Guard
officers throughout the region who represent the very best of America.
At Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, for example, I was escorted by
Lieutenant Colonel Dean Pennington, a squadron commander in the South
Carolina Air National Guard. Like everyone else in the Guard, Colonel
Pennington led two lives -- at home he was a commercial airline pilot;
in the Gulf, he flew an F-16 and helped to keep some of the America's
most important commitments in one of the world's most dangerous and
challenging neighborhoods.
And I have very special reason to recognize the skill and
professionalism of the men and women of America's Air National Guard.
On the morning of September 11th we were not sure how many planes had
been hijacked, or how many sites had been targeted. The President,
therefore, decided to order that the Air National Guard fly combat air
patrols over Washington, D.C., and New York. Today, I want to express
our nation's gratitude to the Air Guard's 119th Fighter Wing, whose
F-16s defended the skies over Washington that morning and to the Air
National Guard 102nd Fighter Wing, whose F-15's rose to the defense of
New York City. In a time of great peril and uncertainty you were
America's first line of defense and we will never forget it.
Since the hour of the attacks on September 11th, our country has been
fighting an unprecedented kind of war. As the President said in Prague
recently, "a great evil is stirring in the world -- perils we have not
seen or faced before."
In the face of these new threats, Americans will do what we've always
done, we'll stand firm against the enemies of freedom. We will
organize ourselves to meet history's latest challenge. We will
out-think the terrorists, out-plan the terrorists, outfight the
terrorists. No matter how long it takes, once again, we will prevail.
President Bush understands, as future Presidents must also understand,
that this new century requires us to guarantee our security in new
ways. During the Cold War the only grave threat to America came from a
rival superpower. We handled the threat with summit meetings, arms
control treaties, and a policy of deterrence. In the terrorists,
however, we have enemies who have nothing to defend. A group like the
al Qaeda cannot be deterred or placated or reasoned with at a
conference table. For this reason the war against terror will not end
in a treaty. There will be no summit meeting or negotiations with
terrorists. The conflict can only end with their complete and utter
destruction and a victory for the United States and the cause of
freedom. (Applause.)
In the last 14 months every level of our government has taken
important steps to be better prepared for the fight against terrorism.
For the first time ever, Customs agents are at overseas ports
identifying suspicious containers before they can get anywhere near
the United States. We've also put more marshals on our airplanes and
stepped up security at power plants, and ports, and border crossings.
We've deployed detection equipment to look for weapons of mass
destruction. We're stockpiling enough smallpox vaccine for every
American. The U.S.A. Patriot Act has helped us detect and disrupt
terrorist activity in our country. And last week the President signed
a historic bill to create a new Department of Homeland Security that
will protect the American people against emerging threats in the 21st
century. This Cabinet-level department will focus the full resources
of the American government on the safety of the American people.
But the President knows that wars are never won on the defensive. In
the fight against global terror, we must take the battle to the enemy.
And where necessary, preempt serious threats before they materialize
against our country. The only path to safety is the path of action.
And the United States of America will act. We will confront every
threat from every source that could possibly bring harm to our
The world recognizes that we do not fight a religion. Ours is not a
campaign against the Muslim faith. As the President has said, this is
a fight to save the civilized world. This is a struggle against evil,
against an enemy that rejoices in the murder of innocent, unsuspecting
human beings. That is why people in every part of the world and of all
faiths must stand together against this foe.
Today, America leads a coalition of more than 90 nations sharing
intelligence, hunting down terrorists, and freezing the assets of
terror groups and front organizations. Against such enemies, America
and the civilized world have only one option: wherever terrorists
operate, we must find them; wherever they dwell, we must hunt them
down. We will stop them in their plotting and training, and we will
bring them to justice. And let there be no doubt, through the
relentless and inexorable application of pressure, using every element
of national power, we are striking hard at terrorist networks.
In the current phase of the war on terrorism, we are focused on
disrupting terrorist operations, dismantling terrorist groups and
cells, denying sanctuaries, and deterring future action. Our people in
law enforcement and intelligence have been putting in long hours in
the most urgent and sometimes dangerous circumstances to thwart plots
both here at home and abroad. Many of their successes must go
unheralded. But some of their achievements are part of the public
For example, since the September 11th attacks, we've captured or
killed many key leaders within the al Qaeda organization. These
include Abu Zubaydah, bin Laden's chief of operations, who was seized
last March in Pakistan and has been providing valuable information to
U.S. interrogators; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, believed to be a top planner
of the September 11th attacks, who was apprehended in Pakistan, and is
also providing us with valuable leads; and Salem Suniam al-Harethi, a
top bin Laden operative in Yemen, reportedly killed recently along
with five terrorist colleagues.
Most recently, the United States captured al Qaeda's operations chief
in the Gulf, Abdal Rashim al Nashiri, a Saudi national, who is
believed to have been a key planner in the October 2000 attack on the
U.S.S. Cole that killed 17 of our sailors -- the man who has also
trained al Qaeda terrorists who took part in the bombings of our
embassies in east Africa in 1998.
We and our partners have also dismantled terrorist cells in Italy,
Spain, Germany; frozen over $110 million in terrorist assets in some
500 accounts -- $34 million in the U.S., $78 million overseas; and
arrested about 2,400 suspected terrorists in 99 countries.
Today, more than 60,000 American troops are deployed around the world
in the war on terrorism -- 7,000 American troops in Afghanistan alone.
Others are working with Yemenis, Georgians, and Filipinos to increase
their capacity to fight terrorism. We are also expanding our maritime
interdiction operations to prevent the illegal movement of personnel,
arms, and equipment into our country. And we are rapidly identifying
scientist and technical experts in foreign countries who have ties
with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations -- thereby reducing
the possibility of the proliferation of illicit technology and weapons
of mass destruction.
Here at home, the FBI has arrested and charged individuals with
conspiracy to provide material support for terrorist groups; has
disrupted a cell in Buffalo, New York, and arrested six individuals on
charges of supporting foreign terrorist organizations; has arrested
four individuals in Portland in connection with an ongoing terrorism
investigation; and identified over 200 known or suspected terrorists
who've entered the United States undetected.
Of course, America's most dramatic victory in the war against
terrorism took place in Afghanistan, where the Taliban regime and the
al Qaeda terrorists have met the fate that they chose for themselves.
I saw up close and personal the new methods and capabilities of
America's armed services last spring. And may I say, as a former
Secretary of Defense, that I've never been more proud of the American
military. (Applause.)
I met men like Major John D. Caine, an Air National Guard pilot, who
was the first to use the Predator UAV to help guide his munitions in
combat. The combination of advantages already seen in this conflict --
precision power from the air; real-time intelligence; special forces;
and the long reach of naval task forces; close coordination with local
forces represents a dramatic advance in our ability to engage and
defeat any enemy. These advantages will only become more vital in
future campaigns. President Bush has often spoken of how America can
keep the peace by redefining war on our terms. That means that our
military -- active duty, National Guard, and Reserves -- must have
every tool to answer any threat that may emerge against us. It means
that any enemy conspiring to harm America or our friends must face a
swift, certain, and devastating response.
But for all the progress we've made in the war on terror, one thing is
abundantly clear: our nation is still in danger. The threats to
America are grave. As the President has said, "our war on terror is
well begun, but it is only begun. This campaign may not be finished on
our watch, yet it must be and it will be waged on our watch."
The President and I begin each day, as we did today, with a briefing
on the threat situation around the world. We know that the terrorists
who struck America are still at work, still attempting to strike us
wherever they can. Where al Qaeda and its allies are concerned, we are
dealing with a network that operates in some 50 or more countries;
that has murdered Americans in Bali, Kuwait, and in Jordan; that is
determined to acquire weapons of mass destruction -- chemical,
biological and nuclear weapons. And they would use those weapons
against us if they could.
There is also a grave danger that al Qaeda or other terrorists will
join with outlaw regimes that have these weapons to attack their
common enemy, the United States of America. That is why confronting
the threat posed by Iraq is not a distraction from the war on terror.
It is absolutely crucial to winning the war on terror. Saddam Hussein
is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror. He is pressing
forward with weapons of mass destruction -- weapons he's already used
in his war against Iran and against his own people. His regime has had
high-level contacts with al Qaeda going back a decade and has provided
training to al Qaeda terrorists. And as the President has said, "Iraq
could decide on any given day to provide biological or chemical
weapons to a terrorist group or to individual terrorists" -- which is
why the war on terror will not be won till Iraq is completely and
verifiably deprived of weapons of mass destruction. (Applause.)
The government of the United States understands that just as World War
II was waged in both Europe and the Pacific, the war on terror must be
waged on many fronts at once. As we destroy the terrorist networks and
hunt down the killers, we must simultaneously confront the regime that
is developing weapons for the sole purpose of inflicting death on a
massive scale.
Thanks to the strong leadership of the President, the United States
Congress and U.N. Security Council have both determined that the
outlaw regime in Iraq will not be allowed to possess chemical,
biological, or nuclear weapons. The President will see to it that
these judgments are enforced. We will not permit Saddam Hussein to
blackmail and terrorize freedom-loving nations.
Last month, Saddam's regime said it would deal with U.N. inspections.
Saddam has made such pledges before and he has violated them all --
time and time again. We have now called an end to Saddam's game. Under
the terms of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441, Saddam must
disclose the extent of his chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons
by December 8th. And this time deception will not be tolerated. This
time, as the President has said, delay and defiance will invite the
severest consequences. The demands of the world will be met, or action
will be unavoidable. Either Saddam Hussein will fully comply with the
United Nations resolution, or the United States and a coalition of
other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
As the United States acts to hunt down terrorists and confront
Saddam's murderous regime, we also affirm our solidarity with the
peoples of the Middle East. There are long-term obstacles to peace and
development in the Middle East. And as the nations of that region
address them, they can count on American support. As the President
said last summer, "prosperity and freedom and dignity are not just
Americans hopes or Western hopes, they are universal human hopes. Even
in the violence and turmoil of the Middle East, America believes those
hopes have the power to transform lives and nations."
To successfully meet whatever challenges await you, the men and women
of our armed forces deserve the best tools, the best training, and the
best support we can possibly give you. That is why President Bush has
signed into law the most significant increase in defense spending
since Ronald Reagan lived in the White House. And today, the President
will sign into law a pay raise for every member of the military. We
believe you deserve it. (Applause.)
As a former Secretary of Defense, I know the conduct of our military
does more than bring credit to the country, it reflects the basic
fundamental character of the American people. This is a good, a
decent, and a generous land. We fight not for revenge against our
enemies, but for the freedom and security of own people and for the
peace of the world.
This past year has brought many critical missions to the men and women
of the Air National Guard. Throughout this holiday season, these
missions continue. The responsibilities of a citizen-soldier involve
real sacrifice, long periods away from your families, your jobs,
sometimes from your country. The sacrifices are shared by spouses, by
children, and employers, as well. But whether it's in the skies over
Washington, or Afghanistan, New York, or the Persian Gulf, Americans
count on the Air National Guard to help protect our homeland and to
help keep the peace. On our nation's behalf, for myself and President
Bush, I thank the citizen-airmen of the Air National Guard for your
unending service to your fellow citizens, for your magnificent
contributions to the war on terror, for the great honor you bring to
your uniform, to our flag, and to our country. You joined the Air
National Guard because you believe in America and America believes in
In this time of testing for our nation, I have the honor to stand
beside a great President who has united Americans behind great goals
and has brought honor and dignity to the White House. For all the
challenges we face, the United States of America has never been
stronger than we are today. We are using our great strength not to
dominate others, but to lift the dark threat of terrorism from our
country and from our world. We confront a determined enemy. But we
will go forward -- clear in our purposes, confident in the rightness
of our cause, and certain of the victories to come. Thank you very
much. (Applause.)
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

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