- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 16, 2001

SMITHSBURG, Md. — President Bush, meeting yesterday with his top national security advisers at Camp David, vowed to do "whatever it takes" to find and punish the terrorists who attacked New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Tuesday.
With Pakistan's approval of a list of U.S. demands — including the right to use its airspace and stage planes and troops there — an assault against terrorist cells in Afghanistan controlled by Osama bin Laden appeared likely.
"We are planning a broad and sustained campaign to secure our country and eradicate the evil of terrorism," the president said in his weekly radio address to the nation. "I will not settle for a token act. Our response must be sweeping, sustained and effective."
Later, Mr. Bush said the U.S. military response will be relentless and unlike other efforts to capture or kill bin Laden, whom the president yesterday named for the first time as the "prime suspect."
"We will find those who did this. We will smoke them out of their holes. We will get them running and we'll get them," he said.
Mr. Bush met yesterday with Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to discuss strategy.
Mr. Bush warned that the campaign to eradicate terrorism will be neither short nor easy, telling Americans that the war will entail sacrifice from all.
"Victory against terrorism will not take place in a single battle, but in a series of decisive actions against terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them." The president said Americans will need patience, resolve and strength "because the course to victory may be long."
While he said the United States is "at war," he said the country's response will not be rushed.
"This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible. Yet, they are mistaken. They will be exposed, and they will discover what others in the past have learned: Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction," he said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military stepped up preparations for war. A U.S. guided missile cruiser, the Cowpens, left for an undisclosed destination and two tankers were ordered to take 235,000 barrels of marine diesel fuel to Diego Garcia, the U.S. military base in the Indian Ocean. B-52 bombers capable of launching cruise missiles are believed to have been deployed there.
Another tanker was scheduled to deliver 28,000 tons of aviation fuel from Greece to southern Spain, including one base used by U.S. Air Force tanker aircraft to refuel bombers crossing the Atlantic during the Kosovo conflict.
Two carrier task forces are already in the Middle East, where there are more than 30,000 servicemen, including the 1st Infantry Division, which is on exercise in Kuwait, where 500 Abrams tanks are also based. The USS Enterprise, which was scheduled to return home after being relieved earlier this month by the USS Carl Vinson, has been ordered to remain in the area indefinitely, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark told the Associated Press.
Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said no military action — including deployment of ground troops — has been ruled out as the administration weighs its response to the worst terrorist attack ever on the United States. Asked whether options included nuclear weapons, Mr. Fleischer said he had been talking about ground troops when he said no option had been ruled out.
Still, he did not say nuclear weapons had been ruled out.
Americans have moved steadily from shock to grief to anger since the attack Tuesday. A new poll released yesterday showed 71 percent of Americans want the U.S. military to strike against terrorist bases and the countries that support them even if civilians may accidentally be killed.
The Newsweek poll also shows 89 percent approve of Mr. Bush's handling of the crisis — and his vow to make terrorists pay. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's approval rating after Pearl Harbor was 84 percent.
In a development that will greatly aid in the U.S. hunt for bin Laden, Pakistan agreed not only to allow use of its airspace, but said a multinational force can stage in the country if needed. In addition, Pakistan agreed to close its border with Afghanistan, shut off fuel supplies to its neighbor, and cooperate in intelligence gathering.
Pakistan's agreement was conveyed by President Pervez Musharraf in a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain.
"We put before the Pakistani government a specific list of things we would like cooperation on, and they've agreed to those items," said Mr. Powell, who did not elaborate.
Pakistan said it would comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions on the terror attacks. "The government will discharge its responsibilities under international law," Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said, although he added that he did not anticipate his country taking part in any military operation.
The Bush administration has signaled to Arab and Islamic states the attack against the United States requires them to choose sides, and the White House has been blunt in threatening they risk diplomatic and economic isolation if they do not back the United States.
"I think every civilized nation in the world recognizes that this was an assault not just against the United States, but against civilization," Mr. Powell said.
While India announced it is willing to let the United States use its military facilities and provide a base for a large U.S. military operation, U.S. jets would still have to pass through Pakistani airspace to reach Afghanistan.
Pakistan has shielded bin Laden in the past and refused to expel him when he was in that country. But worldwide pressure has changed the situation as U.S. allies talk tough about the Saudi-born militant, who is now believed to be based in Afghanistan under the protection of its radical Islamic government, the Taliban.
"There is no question he is what we would call a prime suspect," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "And if he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken."
Frightened Afghans continued to flee the country, many into neighboring Pakistan. Iranian leaders announced yesterday it was sealing its border with Afghanistan.

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