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Bush Administration Promises “Campaign” of Retaliation to 9/11 Attacks

HeadlineSep 14, 2001

Sketching in the outline of an aggressive new American foreign policy, the Bush administration and senior officials cast aside diplomatic language, promising the response to Tuesday’s attacks in New York and Washington would be a “campaign,” not a single action, that might last a year or more. Such a campaign could involve U.S. forces in protracted fighting against a number of Asian and African countries, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan and even nuclear-armored Pakistan, which occupies a vital, strategic position south of Afghanistan, where the Islamic militant Osama bin Laden is believed to be based. Other top officers at the battered Pentagon made it clear that “ending states who sponsor terrorism meant wiping out governments that refuse to cooperate.” Secretary of State Colin Powell used language similar to the warlike phrases he employed in 1991, when he said of Saddam Hussein’s army in Kuwait, “First we’re going to cut it off, then we’re going to kill it.” By equating acts of terrorism and even the harboring of terrorists with acts of war, the administration is going well beyond traditional international practice. In this new kind of war, it is saying, there are no neutral states and no clear geographical confines.

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