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Homeland Security

19 January 2006

United States Still Determined To Fight Terrorism, Cheney Says

Vice president pledges that the United States will never let down its guard

By Judy Aita
Washington File Staff Writer

New York -- The American people do not support “passivity, resignation and defeatism” when confronting terrorism, U.S. Vice President Cheney said January 19 in a speech describing the United State's resolve to wage a broad-scale war against terrorists at home and abroad and continuing support for Iraq.

Cheney told the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research that the United States "made a decision:  We will never go back to the false comforts of the world before September 11, 2001.  We will engage these enemies with the goal of victory. … The enemies of America need to know we are serious and this administration will not let down our guard."

Fighting the war on terrorism is a significant test of military skill and U.S. national resolve, he continued.

"We've had to hunt down terrorists in remote areas.  We've made it clear that regimes that support terror are equally guilty of terrorist crimes and must be held to account.  We've strengthened our intelligence capabilities and undertaken a major anti-proliferation effort with other countries to protect the civilized world from the threat of weapons of mass destruction," Cheney said.

The War on Terror, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, other nations around the world or in the United States will continue to be hard work, because "we are dealing with enemies who have declared the intention to bring great harm to any nation that opposes their aims," he said.  The terrorists’ objective is to gain control of a country so they have a base for waging war against governments that fail to meet their demands and overthrowing other governments to build an empire from Spain to Indonesia, the vice president continued.

The United States, Cheney said, is still at risk for terrorist attacks.  Even though the enemy that struck on September 11, 2001, is "weakened and fractured," it is still lethal and still determined to attack the United States again, he said.

Because the United States and the American people are prime targets of the terrorists, the United States has a continuing responsibility to lead the fight, Cheney said.

STRATEGY IN IRAQ

Talking about his recent visit to Iraq, the vice president said that U.S. and coalition forces are helping the country become "a nation that will never again be a safe zone for terrorists and can defend itself and a be a model for peaceful democratic reform" in the region.

U.S. strategy for Iraq is clear, Cheney said.  "Our tactics will remain flexible.  We will keep working until we finish the job.  Progress does not come easily, but it has been steady."

"As the [Iraqi] security force grows in strength and the political process advances, we will eventually be able to decrease troop levels without loosing any capacity to do battle with the terrorists," he said.

Any decisions about U.S. troop levels in Iraq "will be driven by the conditions on the ground and the judgment of our commanders not by artificial timelines set by our politicians in Washington," Cheney said.

The vice president also talked about domestic issues in the War on Terror, including efforts to renew the Patriot Act, which would give law enforcement the tools needed to track down terrorists inside the United States, presidential authority to authorize interception of suspected communications between those within the United States and al-Qaida or other terror networks and increasing other efforts to strengthen homeland security, according to the vice president.

The transcript of the vice-president’s remarks is available on the White House Web site.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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