- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2001

President Bush yesterday said "we're in hot pursuit" of terrorists in what he is now calling a "guerrilla war," which he stipulated for the first time might not include conventional ground forces.
The president also pledged $25 million in aid to Afghan refugees who are fleeing the Taliban regime and worked on an economic stimulus package aimed in part at helping Americans who lost their jobs in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes.
But Mr. Bush spent most of the day assembling his global coalition against terrorism.
He thanked Saudi Arabia for "helping stabilize Pakistan" and allowing the United States to use its air bases. He also secured the unconditional support of Jordan, another moderate Muslim nation in the Middle East.
"I am most pleased with the cooperation we're getting in the Middle East," the president told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah. "Clearly, the cooperation with our friend, the Jordanians, is strong and powerful, and we're united.
"But the Saudis, as well," he added. "Not only are they helping stabilize Pakistan, which is a very important part of our diplomatic efforts, they are also cooperating with us in terms of any military planning we might be doing."
King Abdullah placed no strings on his support of the United States.
"We're here to give our full, unequivocal support to you and to the people of America," he told Mr. Bush.
"The majority of Arabs and Muslims will band together with our colleagues all over the world to be able to put an end to this horrible scourge of international terrorism. And you'll see a united front."
While careful not to reveal any operational details of his search for Osama bin Laden, who is accused of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Bush indicated bin Laden and other suspected terrorists are on the run.
"Sometimes people will be able to see what we do on the television screens," he said. "Other times the American people won't be able to see what we're doing. But make no mistake about it: We're in hot pursuit."
Asked later to explain what the president meant by "hot pursuit," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said: "I'll leave that to others to guess at."
Although Mr. Fleischer refused to comment on reports that U.S. Special Forces were already searching for bin Laden in Afghanistan, Mr. Bush said he is mindful of the former Soviet Union's failure to conquer that nation with conventional ground forces.
"I am fully aware of the difficulties the Russians had in Afghanistan," the president said. "Our intelligence people and our State Department people are also fully aware.
"It is very hard to fight a guerrilla war with conventional forces," he said. "That's why I have explained to the American people that the new war on terror is going to be a different war."
He added: "There may or may not be a conventional component to it."
Mr. Bush also expressed impatience with the Taliban regime, which reportedly said it has now located bin Laden and has given him an invitation to leave Afghanistan.
"There is no negotiations with the Taliban; they heard what I said and now they can act," he said. "We expect them to not only hear what I say, but to do something about it."
Mr. Bush reiterated his non-negotiable demands on the Taliban, including the apprehension of bin Laden and others in his al Qaeda terrorist network. The president, who earlier demanded the right to inspect terrorist training camps, yesterday called for their obliteration.
"We expect there to be complete destruction of terrorist camps," he said.
Before meeting with the king, Mr. Bush talked by telephone with the leaders of Australia and the Philippines, thanking them for enlisting in his global coalition. Later in the day, he met with his "domestic consequence committee" to weigh various proposals for a stimulus package "to help the economy and to help workers get jobs," according to Mr. Fleischer.
"There are a lot of people in this country who are hurting; who are out of jobs and who need help," Mr. Fleischer said. "The president is very concerned about the rising unemployment that's taken place in the country prior to Sept. 11, but also in the wake of the attacks with all of the layoffs that have hit various communities across the country."
Mr. Bush is spending the weekend at Camp David, where he will hold national security meetings with the help of video-conference technology.

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