- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001


With the Pentagon poring over options for war against terrorism, President Bush will activate up to 50,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve to aid recovery and security efforts in the wake of terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.

Mr. Bush acted on the recommendation of Donald H. Rumsfeld, who presented the proposal during a Cabinet meeting at the White House today.

Mr. Bush had planned to announce the move after the Cabinet meeting, but the photo opportunity was canceled at the last minute. Two government officials familiar with the president's plans said he still planned to go forward with the move.

They stressed that the call-up was not part of a military mobilization aimed at the terrorists who struck Washington and New York Tuesday. Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld wants the troops, the largest number called up since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, to support air patrols over New York and Washington and remain alert elsewhere in the country.

The troops also would help with homeland defense, the officials said, such as recovery and security efforts in the affected areas.

Air National Guard reserve pilots are needed to man fighter jets that are on 15-minute alert at 26 bases across the country to protect commercial planes.

Mr. Rumsfeld said combat planes are flying over the New York-Washington corridor to protect flights.

Mr. Bush prepared for the call-up as the Pentagon weighed how to eradicate the terrorists who hit New York and Washington as well as the states and organizations that support them.

The military strike options go far beyond the short-term cruise missile assaults of years past in Afghanistan and Sudan and isolated airstrikes against sites in Iraq.

Instead, they involve the potential lengthy use of military forces on the land, at sea and in the air. Options include the covert insertion of elite special forces and long-range bomb strikes from manned aircraft, said senior military and administration officials, all speaking on condition of anonymity.

In the most explicit description yet of the Bush administration's intentions, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said yesterday the retaliation would be continued until the roots of terrorism are destroyed.

“These people try to hide. They won't be able to hide forever,'' Mr. Wolfowitz said. “They think their harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever. One has to say it's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states who sponsor terrorism.''

Said Navy Secretary Gordon England: “This is not going to be a short program.''

The huge number of dead and the vast destruction wrought by Tuesday's strikes has caused a different mindset to take hold among senior Defense Department officials, a ranking military official said.

“If you are really going to do war, you do it with all assets political, economic and military, and that's what they want to do,'' the officer said.

The Defense Department is making some moves to return the nation to normal. The military's fleet of sophisticated radar planes called AWACS have been ordered to stop flying missions over the nation's airspace, Mr. Rumsfeld said last night on CNN's “Larry King Live.''

The decision coincided with the resumption of commercial airline flights.

But Mr. Rumsfeld also noted that combat planes continue to fly over the New York-Washington corridor. He said he has not decided when those flights should stop. “And we do have interceptors on 15-minute alert across the country on some 26 bases,'' Rumsfeld told CNN.

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