War will be long, focused on goals
By SARA FRITZ and PAUL DE LA GARZA
© St. Petersburg Times,
WASHINGTON -- President Bush and his advisers laid the groundwork Thursday for a broad, full-fledged U.S. military campaign against terrorism, possibly beginning with a strike against the Islamic militant Osama bin Laden.
Emphasizing that Bush has judged Tuesday's attacks as a declaration of war against the United States, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the president intends to respond in kind.
"It's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism," Wolfowitz said.
"It will be a campaign," he said, "not a single action. And we're going to keep after these people and the people who support them until it stops."
The obvious military options available to Bush include covert attacks, air raids or the deployment of ground troops -- all intended to capture the terrorists and destroy their operations and hideouts.
The United States will begin by going after the specific terrorist group that investigators say is responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Powell said. But even if the military succeeds in destorying that terrorist network, the president will not be satisfied until he has obliterated all terrorists at work in the world. "When we are through with that network, we'll begin with a global assault against terrorism in general," Powell explained.
Powell confirmed that bin Laden is a prime suspect in Tuesday's attacks, and thus the likely target of the first strike.
Referring to bin Laden and Afghanistan, he said: "We are looking at those terrorist organizations who have the kind of capacity that would have been necessary to conduct the kind of attack that we saw. When you look at the list of candidates, one resides in the region."
"War in some cases may be military action, but it can also be economic action, political action, diplomatic action and financial actions," Powell said. "All sorts of things can be used to prosecute a campaign, to prosecute a war."
Both Bush and Powell indicated that the administration is looking to Pakistan to assist them in targeting bin Laden. The president told reporters that he was encouraged by favorable statements issued by the Pakistani government.
"We will give the Pakistani government a chance to cooperate and to participate as we hunt down those people who committed this unbelievable, despicable act on America," he said.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the United States has urged Pakistan to close its border with Afghanistan, to cut off funding for terrorist groups and to grant permission for American planes to fly over Pakistani territory in the event of military action.
Powell, who has spoken directly by telephone with Pakistani ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf, described Pakistan as a "friendly country" that had pledged "unstinted cooperation" with the United States.
At the same time, the secretary of state acknowledged that U.S.-Pakistani relations have had their "ups and downs." Pakistan has diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, while the United States does not. At the same time, Pakistan is recognized as a haven for terrorists.
Asad Hayauddin, spokesman at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, said Pakistan "probably" was acting as a go-between between the United States and Afghanistan, where bin Laden supposedly is based. Asked what else his country was willing to do, he replied: "It depends on what the offer is."
If bin Laden were in Pakistani territory, extraditing him to the United States would not be a problem, Hayauddin said. But he declined to say whether Pakistan would support a U.S. attack of Afghanistan.
These countries will certainly be asked to support economic and political sanctions against any countries harboring terrorists, but it is not known if any of them would be called upon by Bush to participate in military action.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage scheduled a trip to Moscow next Wednesday to follow-up on a Russian offer to help in the investigation. Russia fought a 10-year war with Muslim fundamentalists after invading Afghanistan in 1979. The United States opposed the Soviet invasion and provided weapons to the insurgents through Pakistan.
The Pentagon is looking forward to receiving a sizable portion of the $40-billion that Congress has promised to make available to the administration to respond to the terrorist attacks, Wolfowitz said.
In addition to the $40-billion, the president is asking congressional leaders to enact a broad statement of support, perhaps something like a declaration of war that Bush's father obtained before the 1991 Gulf War.
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From the Times wire desk
From the AP