05 October 2003
Cheney Describes Comprehensive Strategy to Combat Terrorism
Vice President says free Iraq will make world
safer for all
The United States is implementing a comprehensive, new strategy
to defeat global terrorism, Vice President Dick Cheney said, one
that incorporates homeland defense along with aggressively destroying
terrorist networks before they can launch attacks.
In addition, Cheney observed in remarks at a Bush-Cheney campaign
event in Iowa on October 4, by aiding the establishment of representative
governments in Iraq and elsewhere, "We will have struck a blow
at the basic, fundamental foundations of terrorism in the world
which they're not likely to be able to recover from."
Although the United States is a primary target for terrorists,
Cheney reminded his audience, terrorism has become a global phenomenon,
with attacks in Riyadh, Casablanca, Mombassa, Bali, Jakarta, Najaf,
Neither law enforcement nor the Cold War model of deterrence against
the former Soviet Union provide a sufficient model for fighting
global terrorism, Cheney argued. "We needed a new strategy," he
said, "and that's what we've developed." That strategy includes
a defensive component -- the massive reorganization of the federal
government to establish the Department of Homeland Security, as
well as an offensive component -- tracking down and destroying
terrorist networks before they can attack the United States, its
friends and allies, he said.
The strategy also means a policy of holding states responsible
that provide sanctuary to terrorist organizations, according to
Cheney, and recognizing that the greatest threat comes from the
efforts of terrorists to acquire weapons of mass destruction --
whether chemical, biological, or nuclear.
In the case of Iraq, Cheney noted that the report of weapons inspector
David Kay, while not complete, makes it clear that Saddam Hussein
harbored, and hid a vast WMD program that "spanned more than two
decades, involved thousands of people, billions of dollars and
was elaborately shielded by security and deception operations,
which continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom." Moreover,
Cheney argued, Iraq was a terrorist haven -- home to such figures
as Abu Nidal, and to an al Qaeda base in northeastern Iraq.
The following is an excerpt from Vice President Dick Cheney's
remarks to a Bush-Cheney '04 campaign reception at the Wakonda
Club in Des Moines, Iowa, October 4:
The White House
Office of the Vice President
October 4, 2003
Excerpt: Remarks by the Vice President at a
Bush-Cheney '04 Reception
Des Moines, Iowa
October 3, 2003
THE VICE PRESIDENT:
I want to talk for a few minutes about 9/11.
9/11 in many respects changed everything. When you look at the
world from our perspective, when you think about the issues of
national security that we have to deal with on a regular basis,
about how we defend America, about what the threats are, and how
we can secure our nation from further attack, the world looks different
after 9/11 than it did before 9/11.
What we learned on 9/11 was that we are vulnerable. We saw a handful
of terrorists able to come into our country, who came training
here on our commercial aviation schools, and with box cutters and
airline tickets, take over airliners and kill 3,000 of our fellow
citizens in two hours the morning of 9/11.
We also have learned since that the terrorists are committed to
trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction -- chemical, biological,
and nuclear weapons. We know that from the training camps that
we went through in Afghanistan. We know that from their manuals.
We know that from interrogating those members of al Qaeda that
we've captured and detained.
One of the most devastating, frightening thoughts you can have
is the prospect of a member of al Qaeda, a terrorist organization,
loose in our city with a biological or a nuclear weapon. It obviously
would result in a far more devastating attack than this country
has ever experienced.
We also know, as well, now that we are currently engaged in what
I describe, and the President has talked about, as a global war
on terror -- not an isolated incident that happened on 9/11, but
rather part of a pattern that has, in fact, taken on global dimensions.
Since the attacks in New York and Washington on that date, we've
seen attacks in Riyadh, Casablanca, Mombassa, Bali, Jakarta, Najaf,
Baghdad. Clearly a global problem. And while the United States
is the prime target, we're not the only target. We also know that
thousands of terrorists went through those training camps in Afghanistan
in the late 1990s, and that after they acquired the skills, the
technical know-how to build bombs and conduct attacks of various
kinds, they went back to their own countries and are now actively
engaged from North Africa all the way to the Middle East, to Southeast
Asia, in plotting new attacks.
You think about that threat, then you think about what we had
done to deal with that kind of threat before 9/11, of course, what
you quickly discover is there was no strategy before 9/11 for dealing
effectively with these kinds of attacks. There was a tendency for
the government to look at an attack like that, and treat it as
an individual criminal enterprise. It was a law enforcement problem.
All we had to do was go out and find the perpetrator, arrest him,
put him in jail, and we'd find ourselves then having solved the
problem. Case closed.
And that's the way we treated the first attack on the World Trade
Center in 1993. We went out and arrested a man named Ramzi Yousef.
He's now doing 240 years in a maximum security prison in Colorado.
And it's a good place for him to be.
But what we didn't do at the time was to look behind that attack
and try to figure out who was behind it, who financed it, who organized
it, what kind of ties did the attackers have to a larger global
organization or to other governments.
We know now, for example, that that was probably the first al
Qaeda attack on the homeland of the United States. We know Ramzi
Yousef was, in fact, al Qaeda. He later on participated in an aborted
attempt to take down 12 airliners over the Pacific, simultaneously,
before he was arrested and prosecuted for the original attack in
We know, for example, that he is the nephew of the mastermind
of the attack on 9/11, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, who's now in custody.
They're related. Khalid Shaykh Muhammad is the uncle of Ramzi Yousef,
who ran the first attack eight years earlier. We know that one
of the attackers -- and we know this from documents that we have
uncovered in Baghdad -- one of the attackers, a man named Abdul
Rahman Yasin, or Yasin, after the attack, took refuge in Iraq.
And we know from documents we found there that he was granted a
monthly stipend and safe haven in Iraq, after the attack on the
first World Trade Center.
What we have, if you look at those kinds of facts, and clearly,
this isn't just a law enforcement problem. It's part of a larger
-- a larger network. The Cold War strategy that we pursued in dealing
with the Soviet Union doesn't work with al Qaeda. In the case of
the Soviet Union, we held at risk those things they cared about
with our intercontinental ballistic missiles, so they were deterred
from ever launching an attack against the United States. You can't
apply that kind of strategy to a terrorist. They don't have anything
they care about or that they want to defend badly enough so that
they're deterred from an attack that we can hold it at risk. The
old Cold War strategies simply don't work where al Qaeda is concerned.
So we needed a new strategy. And that's what we've developed.
And that strategy has to include several elements. First of all,
defenses. We have to harden the target here at home, which we've
done, passed the most massive reorganization of the federal government
since the 1940s, when we set up the Department of Homeland Security.
But good defense isn't enough. You've got have it, but it doesn't
solve the problem because there's no such thing as a perfect defense.
You've also got to have an offensive component to your security
strategy. And that's what we've done. You also have to have the
objective of aggressively going after the terrorists and destroying
the terrorists and their networks before they can launch further
attacks against the United States. That's the only certain way
to defend the United States.
We know that the other method doesn't work. What we did with respect
to offensive strategy was to go after the terrorists, go after
their financial networks, which had never been done before, and
get very aggressive in working on intelligence efforts worldwide,
and one other key component that was essential from the standpoint
of what the President has done, and that's what we've come to identify
as the Bush doctrine. The President said we were also going to
go after those states that sponsor terror.
Before there had always been a tendency to split off the terror-sponsoring
states from the terrorists themselves. If you were a terror-sponsoring
state, your name went on a list over in the State Department. There
might be some kind of sanction applied, but that was the end of
it. There was no penalty, no significant penalty for sponsoring
terrorist attacks against the United States.
The President said that's changed. From this day forward, we will
hold states that sponsor, provide safe harbor and sanctuary to
terrorists just as guilty as the terrorists themselves. And that's
what we've done.
One of the difficulties we've had is that we inherited a situation
in which there had not been a sustained, effective U.S. effort
to go after the terrorists after the terrorist attacks against
us, both here and home and overseas.
Think back over the last 20 years, go back to 1983, when our Marines
were attacked in Beirut and we lost 241 Marines on a Sunday morning
with a truck bombing in Beirut; or 1993, the first World Trade
Center attack; 1995 an attack on our military advisors in Riyadh;
1996, the attack on the Khobar Towers; '98, the East Africa embassy
bombings that hit two of our embassies simultaneously, killed hundreds,
12 Americans died; 1998 was the East Africa bombings. In 2000,
it was the attack on the USS Cole, 17 sailors killed.
It's hard to find, if you think back on that history, a time when
we ever responded effectively and imposed a penalty on those who
attacked us. We launched a few cruise missiles at empty training
camps in Afghanistan at one point. But there was no sustained,
effective effort to take down these organizations. As a result,
if you were Osama bin Laden or part of the al Qaeda, prior to 9/11,
you could think about, contemplate attacking the United States
and have some degree of confidence that you wouldn't pay much of
price for it. All of that changed with 9/11, and it changed with
the election of George W. Bush as President of the United States.
Since 9/11, we've moved aggressively to take down the Taliban
in Afghanistan. That government is gone. We've wiped out a large
part of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We've put up a new government
there under Mr. Karzai. They'll hold free elections next year.
We're making significant progress. But we've still got a lot to
do. We've still got about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. They are
engaged periodically in battles with the remnants of the Taliban
and al Qaeda there. We need to stay until we finish the job.
With respect to Pakistan next door, a friendly government, they
signed on early to help us. And we've wrapped up literally hundreds
of al Qaeda in Pakistan, including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, the
man who was probably the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Saudi Arabia, right across the Gulf -- we've had significant cooperation,
of course, from the Saudis with wrapping up members of al Qaeda,
especially since last May 12th, when they were hit in their own
terrorist attack, and a number of Saudis and two Americans were
killed in that. And they understand they're right on the target
list, alongside the United States.
In Iraq, we went in there very aggressively, as we needed to do.
And we think we've made significant progress. We went after Iraq,
because if you hark back again to that biggest threat we face,
that is a terrorist equipped with a deadly biological or nuclear
weapon, a weapon of mass destruction, Iraq is one of those places
in the world where you had a dictatorship, a brutal dictatorship,
one of the worst in modern times, a regime that had not only produced,
but had used chemical weapons in the past, for example, on the
Kurds and on the Iranians, a regime that had hosted terrorists.
Abu Nidal lived there for years, the Abu Nidal organization that
did the Lauro -- USS Lauro hijacking. We had Palestinian Islamic
Jihad lived there. Al Qaeda had a base of operation there up in
Northeastern Iraq where they ran a large poisons factory for attacks
against Europeans and U.S. forces.
The general proposition had to be that we had to deal with the
threats that Iraq represented, and that's exactly what we've done.
One of the debates you've seen in recent days is this question
of, well, maybe Saddam didn't really have any WMD [weapons of mass
destruction]. And there are people out there peddling that notion
-- those who are trying to undermine our attack, the decision the
President made. But I have never believed that for a minute. I
think the record is overwhelming that he had, in fact, had major
investments in weapons of mass destruction. And yesterday, we had
a man named David Kay, who is an American scientist, who's been
involved before in UNSCOM and in these kind of inspection efforts.
He's been conducting an investigation in Iraq now for the last
three months. He's had -- still got a lot of work to do, but he
gave an interim report yesterday to the Congress. He went before
the House and Senate intelligence committees in closed door sessions
and told them what he's found so far. It's not definitive. It's
not final. It's just an interim, preliminary report because he's
got a lot of work.
But it's hard to tell sometimes from what we see in the media
what happens out there. I don't mean to be -- I didn't come here
today to beat up on the press. It's tempting, but I didn't. (Laughter.)
But I sat there last night and read David Kay's report, which was
classified then; it's since been declassified, and then simultaneously
watched some of the news coverage -- and I didn't recognize that
they were the same thing. So I thought I'd share with you today
just a few snippets, if you will, from his testimony. And these
are direct quotes.
"Iraq's WMD programs spanned more than two decades, involved thousands
of people, billions of dollars and was elaborately shielded by
security and deception operations, which continued even beyond
the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. . . We have discovered dozens
of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment
that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections."
That's the inspections that began in late 2002.
"The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come
about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials
concerning information they've deliberately withheld, and through
physical evidence of equipment and activities the ISG" -- and that's
the survey group -- "had discovered that should have been reported
to the United Nations."
When they didn't report to the United Nations, they violated U.N.
Security Council resolutions, they were in material breach. And
under the U.N. Security Council 1441, that the U.N. Security Council
adopted unanimously, the 17th resolution, by the way the Security
Council adopted on the subject, the Council was justified -- members
of the Council were justified in taking action.
Let me give you a few of the examples that he just referred to:
-- A clandestine network of laboratories and safe houses within
the Iraqi intelligence service that contained equipment subject
to U.N. monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW, chemical, biological
-- A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing,
of BW [biological weapons] agents that Iraqi officials working
to prepare for U.N. inspections were explicitly ordered not to
declare to the United Nations.
-- Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist's
home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons. New
research on BW-applicable agents, brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic
Fever and continuing work on liacin aflatoxin, which had not been
declared to the U.N.
-- Documents and equipment hidden in scientists' homes that would
have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and
electromagnetic isotope separation.
-- A line of unmanned aerial vehicles, not fully declared, that
had been tested to the range of 500 kilometers, 350 kilometers
farther than allowed by the U.N. Security Council resolution.
-- Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles
with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers. Missiles of 1,000-kilometer
range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets throughout the
Middle East -- Ankara, Cairo, Abu Dhabi.
-- Clandestine attempts between late 1999 and 2002 to obtain from
North Korea technology related to 1,300-kilometer range ballistic
missiles, probably the No Dong missile; 300-kilometer range anti-ship
cruise missiles and other prohibited military equipment, et cetera,
et cetera, et cetera.
Now, there's no question this guy had invested billions in developing
illegal programs of weapons of mass destruction. And don't let
anybody tell you that this was not a significant threat. He's used
it previously. We knew from past history that it was only a matter
of time until he would be in a position to do so once again.
So how are we doing in the war on terror? We think we're making
major progress. I mentioned what we've done in Afghanistan, that
we're off and running there and standing up a new government.
In Iraq, of course, Saddam Hussein is no more. His government
is gone. A major rebuild is under way. There's a governing coalition
composed of Iraqis in place, ministries now are run by Iraqis.
Local governments -- over 90 percent of them have their own local
councils that have been put in place. Schools are open. The hospitals
are open. The universities are open. Oil production is back up
to almost 2 million barrels a day. The electricity grid is functioning
at a greater rate than at any time since before the war. The economy
is beginning to bustle. There are thousands of new businesses created
in the streets of Baghdad.
There is a continuing security threat, no question about it. And
we need to deal with that security threat, and our troops are doing
it every day. I can't say enough good about the young men and women
of America's armed forces and what they're doing for us in Iraq.
What's at stake here is our ability to take the basic part of
the world, the Middle East, that has been the seed bed from which
these terrorists have grown, that have attacked the United States
and have been engaged in this war on terror now that goes back
for a good many years. If we can successfully stand up good, solid
governments, able to control their sovereign territory, representative
of their people, that never again become safe havens for terrorists
who are involved in producing weapons of mass destruction in Afghanistan
and in Iraq, we will have struck a blow at the basic, fundamental
foundations of terrorism in the world which they're not likely
to be able to recover from.
But if we don't do that, if we don't deal with the problems over
there now with our forces, we will find sooner or later, further
attacks against the United States right here at home. We know that.
That's happened before.
Some people seem to have the idea that U.S. strength and determination
is provocative, if we just turn the other cheek, they'll leave
us alone. Well, tell me what did we do to merit the attack on 9/11?
That was not an attack the United States caused specifically. They
come after us, not because of what we do, they come after us because
of what we stand for, because of what we believe in: freedom and
democracy and individual human dignity. And this is a war that
has to be fought to the finish. And we can only succeed if we're
successful in going after the terrorists and destroying them before
they can attack us again.
So those young men and women who are tonight in Baghdad and in
Kabul and in the mountains in Afghanistan and Iraq are taking on
the enemy exactly where we ought to take them on, on their home
turf instead of here in the United States on our home turf. It's
exactly the right thing for us to be doing. (Applause.)
The world will be safer and more secure for our kids and grandkids
if we finish the job, if we get it right. And that means standing
up a viable government in Iraq. That means having a viable economy
there. This is a good investment. This is the time for us to be
getting the job done. Because long-term, it will save American
lives, both in terms of our military operations overseas, as well
as here at home. In the long-term, the United States will be a
safer, more secure nation because we follow the leadership and
the strategy of President George W. Bush.