- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday warned the country to expect American battle deaths in the war on terrorism, but not in a large land invasion against Afghanistan or other terrorist-harboring states.
His comments mean that what has been called the first war of the new century will largely be carried on the backs of combat pilots and covert commandos in search-and-destroy missions.
"There's no question but that some steps will be visible, as in a traditional conflict, and in other cases they will be not visible," said Mr. Rumsfeld, who has signed deployment orders sending warplanes and special-operations troops to the Middle East and Central Asia.
"It will not be an antiseptic war, I regret to say," the defense secretary said. "It will be difficult. It will be dangerous. … The likelihood is that more people may be lost."
In recent days, Mr. Rumsfeld has tried to explain in general terms how the military will fight an unorthodox war against what the Pentagon calls an "asymmetrical threat" in this case terrorists.
Mr. Rumsfeld, who is being briefed on various military options, talks of a "shadowy" war with no clear battle lines. There will be no eviction of troops and taking of large swaths of land, as in the 1991 Persian Gulf war. And this battle will be lengthier and riskier than the limited, 78-day air assault on Serbia.
"It is by its very nature something that cannot be dealt with by some sort of a massive attack or invasion," he said. "It is a much more subtle, nuanced, difficult, shadowy set of problems."
Bush administration officials say the war's first phase will be to eliminate those responsible for engineering the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This means rounding up the No. 1 suspect, Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda terrorist organization in Afghanistan.
"There's not going to be a D-Day as such, and I'm sure there will not be a signing ceremony on the Missouri as such," he said. "This is not something that begins with a significant event or ends with a significant event. It is something that will involve a sustained effort over a good period of time."
Mr. Rumsfeld, considered one of President Bush's most hawkish national security advisers, also said the anti-terror coalition being formed will be unlike the alliance formed to fight Iraq.
"We will see revolving coalitions that will evolve and change over time depending on the activity and the circumstance of the country," he said. "The mission needs to define the coalition, and we ought not to think that a coalition should define the mission."
Two former Soviet republics, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, have granted a U.S. request to play host to ground and air forces poised to infiltrate Afghanistan, according to military sources.
Mr. Rumsfeld has placed a tight lid on information about how many troops and weapons are moving to the region and where they will be based.
But he pledged yesterday that his penchant for secrecy will not prompt him to lie to the press.
"I cannot imagine a situation," he said. "I don't recall that I've ever lied to the press. I don't intend to, and it seems to me that there will not be reason for it. There are dozens of ways to avoid having to put yourself in a position where you're lying, and I don't do it."
Mr. Rumsfeld on Monday said the new war would not be able to eradicate terrorism, a remark that put him somewhat at odds with the president's pledge to wipe out global terrorism.
Yesterday, he defined victory this way: "[It] means crippling the ability of terrorist organizations to coerce and terrorize and otherwise disrupt the way of life of the men and women in the United States and our friends and allies around the world."
The defense secretary also announced a new moniker for the mission "Operation Enduring Freedom." The phrase replaces the first name, "Infinite Justice," to which some Muslims objected on grounds that only Allah holds such powers.
"'Enduring' suggests that this is not a quick fix," he said. "It's not something that all of us who like to have things immediately over, and it isn't that way. It is not going to be over in five minutes or five months. It will take years, I suspect."
The Pentagon continued building up forces, calling up nearly 2,000 additional reservists to active duty from 16 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Mr. Bush has authorized the activation of up to 50,000 reserves and National Guardsmen since the Sept. 11 attack. To date, 12,243 have been called up.
The United States is amassing an air armada in the Middle East-Central Asia regions that could number more than 500 land-based aircraft and another 300 planes on four Navy carriers.

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