U.S. Lines Up Support for Strike 

U.S. Lines Up Support for Strike 
Posted by FoM on September 12, 2001 at 21:46:42 PT
By Alan Sipress and Steven Mufson, WP Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
The Bush administration moved aggressively yesterday to lay the diplomatic and military groundwork for a possible strike against Osama bin Laden and his supporters in Afghanistan, winning an unprecedented NATO commitment of support and pressuring neighboring Pakistan for intelligence and logistical backing.As dawn was breaking on the first day after the gravest terrorist assault in American history, President Bush and his top diplomats were already lining up support across Europe, the Middle East and Asia for a response that they said would not just apprehend the attackers but retaliate against any countries behind them.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell spoke early in the morning with NATO Secretary General George Robertson and by the end of the day had won a declaration committing the allies to back a U.S. military reprisal. Powell said the declaration would "tee up" the invocation of the NATO charter's mutual defense clause for the first time in the alliance's 52-year history. It assures the United States of overflight rights and other forms of support if the administration concluded the terrorist attacks came from abroad.Bush directed the Pentagon to begin drawing up a menu of military options, a senior administration official said. After a morning meeting with his national security advisers, the president called the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon "acts of war." Congress swiftly adopted a joint resolution that officials from Capitol Hill and the administration said freed the White House from having to seek a formal declaration of war.U.S. officials also began high-level meetings with Pakistani officials to insist on their help in tracking the attackers and aiding a retaliatory strike. The Pakistani government has long had close ties with the Taliban movement in Afghanistan that shelters bin Laden. "The message to Pakistan is there's clearly a worldwide momentum right now to stand up and be counted. Whose side are you on on terrorism?" a senior State Department official said.Powell said he had held several conversations with leaders from Saudi Arabia, who would have to give the go-ahead if the United States were to use their crucial bases as staging grounds for any move against bin Laden. But he left unclear whether he had secured Saudi agreement. "If they can be helpful in finding those who may be responsible, we will expect that help and we will express that very, very clearly," Powell said.Meantime, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Henry H. Shelton and Vice Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers shuttled between the White House and Pentagon planning a response that a senior military officer said could draw on U.S. forces under the European and Central Commands. The options under consideration range from small-scale covert actions targeting bin Laden to a broad campaign of bombing and invasion by Army infantry, according to knowledgeable former military officers.As the country talked of war, Powell moved well beyond his pledge Tuesday to bring the attackers to justice. "It's going after and dealing with the sources of support that they have, whether that source of support might come from a host country or other organizations that provide them," Powell told reporters. "We have to make sure that we go after terrorism and get it by its branch and root."He vowed the United States would hold accountable any country offering support to terrorists involved in the attack. And he singled out the radical Taliban movement ruling Afghanistan for providing "protection, opportunity, facilities" to bin Laden, stopping short of expliciting blaming bin Laden's al Qaeda organization for Tuesday's massacres.Powell cautioned that a U.S. strike would not come within the next few days since it would require time to find the proper targets and put U.S. forces in place. Nor did he indicate the scale or type of forces that any military action would entail. But he said the United States should act as soon as it determines who was responsible for the terrorist attacks. He added that it should not wait until the specific perpetrators are found if U.S. forces can in the meantime take other action, such as attacking militant training camps and havens.In response to the unparalleled assault on American territory, a Bush administration that has largely eschewed a multilateral approach to world affairs quickly set out to build an international consensus on a tough response. But after only one day, it remained unclear whether the United States would seek to form the coalition of Western and Muslim countries that the earlier Bush administration assembled in support of the 1991 war against Iraq."We're building a strong coalition to go after these perpetrators, but more broadly to go after terrorism wherever we find it in the world," Powell said. "It's a scourge not only against the United States, but against civilization, and it must be brought to an end."Bush spoke yesterday with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and twice with Russian President Vladimir Putin – covering all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – as well as other leaders.White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that in the conversations between Bush and Putin, "the two presidents agreed that they would work closely together in the coming weeks to fight those responsible for yesterday's acts of terrorism."China, for its part, has close relations with Pakistan and recently signed an economic development accord with the Taliban, but it also fears terrorist attacks, especially in its largely Muslim province, Xinjiang.Powell spoke with more world leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian Chairman Yasser Arafat, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Foreign Minister Louis Michel of Belgium, which holds the EU's rotating presidency. To build support in the Muslim world, where Tuesday's attacks have been applauded in some quarters, Powell spoke with leaders from the Arab League, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, officials said.Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said he has been in constant contact with Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, offering "full support fighting terrorism and cooperation with all other friends around the world to help expose those perpetrators." He declined to provide details.But it is Pakistan and its tangled relationship with the Taliban that have emerged as a crucial focus of U.S. planning and diplomacy. Pakistan, a historic American ally, has previously given lip service to efforts to find bin Laden but offered little tangible assistance despite U.S. pressure, U.S. officials said.Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and other senior State Department figures met yesterday with Pakistani officials, including Pakistani intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, who was in Washington for a visit scheduled before the attacks. "There was an extremely candid exchange from our side, one that left little room for misunderstanding," an administration official said. "It is safe to say the rules have changed. They changed yesterday."Incoming U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy J. Chamberlin is expected to raise the issues again today with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf."We thought as we gathered information and as we look at possible sources of the attack it would be useful to point out to the Pakistani leadership at every level that we are looking for and expecting their fullest cooperation and their help and support as we conduct this investigation," Powell said. Holding out the possibility of a U.S. attack in the immediate area of Pakistan, Powell said the United States is also interested in "how helpful they might be if we find a basis to act upon that information."Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, Maleeha Lodhi, said she gave Armitage a message from Musharraf assuring the United States of "Pakistan's unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism."Powell said the United States was also planning to work with Russia on their shared concerns in Afghanistan, which include the activities of militant Islamic forces. The United States and Russia are members of an international task force on Afghanistan, and Powell said Armitage would be pursuing these matters with his Russian counterpart.A military campaign in the remote mountains of Afghanistan would confront daunting challenges – in particular, intimidating terrain and fierce local fighters – as the Soviet Union learned when it invaded the country in 1979.The Bush administration would also face the issue of the legality of mounting a military initiative against a private militant organization rather than another country.Attorney George Terwilliger, deputy attorney general in the first Bush administration who remains close to the current White House, said White House and Department of Justice lawyers are researching the extent of presidential authority to order assassinations.They are reviewing whether "the president has authority without a congressional resolution to use force against civilians rather than a government or military installation when there is a demonstrable and imminent threat."Amid the calls and preparations for reprisals, there were some voices of caution. Brent Scowcroft, who was national security adviser during the Gulf War, said the United States needed to avoid hitting the wrong targets, as the Clinton administration did in 1998 when it bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and an empty militant camp in Afghanistan after bin Laden associates allegedly bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania."There's going to be tremendous pressure for early action, and I think that's the president's inclination," Scowcroft said. "But . . . you need to make sure you know what you're doing" or, he warned, the administration would risk looking "silly."Note: Pakistan Pressured to Aid Any Reprisal Source: Washington Post (DC) Author: Alan Sipress and Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff WritersPublished: Thursday, September 13, 2001; Page A1 Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company Contact: letters Website: Related Articles:Who’s The Mastermind? Flies Home After Terrible, Terrible Tragedy 
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Comment #4 posted by New Mexican on September 13, 2001 at 08:48:24 PT
Thanks dddd!
For taking the time to express my feelings perfectly. The gig is up for the US in the eyes of the world. How long could we get away with these atrocities without being held accountable. I love my county, I fear our government. I don't beleive anything that comes over the airwaves as the media is complicite in the stolen election and makes me sad for having abandoned our great principles... the declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution. But it is time to re-form this country, as I listen to George Sr. talk about his CYA (I mean CIA) career and lament having limited our intelligence gathering capabilities, meaning a freer hand to disregard civil liberties, and constitutionsl protections against unwarranted searches and wiretapping, etc. ad nauseum. When you see daddy bush on the news, be afraid, be very afraid. The worst is yet to come. But so is the best. It's the nature of the Uni-verse.Remember the instant protest movement against the Gulf War, (I do) the war lasted what 15 days or so. We must not go to war. It will be our undoing. Think about it. This will only escalate and we will all suffer much greater consequences than we already have. Is that what anybody wants. I think not! Thanks Kap for your profoundly inspiring outlook and to all who have taken the time to further enlighten and discuss this situation with so much clarity and detailed discussion. Love makes the world go round, Hate will surely stop it. We have the power to destoy the planet and are well on our way there. Will we ever wake up to this reality, or will we be stumbling around the wreckage and destruction that nuclear war will surely heap on us all, wondering how we let this happen? Thanks for being there FOM, Cannabis News readers and all of the wonderful 'posters'' comments. Peace, not War! 
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Comment #3 posted by dddd on September 13, 2001 at 03:37:16 PT
...Why would anyone wanna bomb the US?.....Who's to blame????.....well..let's try; William Clinton, former President, for 78 days and nights of bombing the civilians of Yugoslavia (carried out by U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark under NATO auspices); continuation of sanctions and rocket attacks upon the people of Iraq; and illegal bombings of Somalia, Bosnia, Sudan, and Afghanistan.  Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of State, for his leading role in the attacks on Panama, Iraq, and covering up My Lai.  George Bush, former President, for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and thousands of Panamanian civilians (along with kidnapping the country's leader, a former CIA protégé). Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, former Commander in Chief, U.S. Central Command, for his role in attacking Iraqi civilians. Ronald Reagan, former President, for illegal attacks on El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Grenada, and Libya. Elliot Abrams, former Assistant Secretary of State (and back in the new Bush Administration), for overseeing much of the death and fascism in Central America. Also Casper Weinberger, Secretary of Defense; Lt. Col. Oliver North; and many others. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State: Chile, Vietnam, East Timor, Angola, Iraq, and Cambodia. Gerald Ford, former President, for giving approval to Indonesia for the genocide of East Timor. .........Millions upon millions of dead bodies,,, with America's name on them,,,,, and survivors who hate us. dddd
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Comment #2 posted by Rambler on September 13, 2001 at 00:29:46 PT
get ready
They are going to "Strike",and it will be an idiotic,and senseless massacre that will kill more innocents than terrorists.If someones son goes crazy and kills,does that make it right to bomb his Mom,and his whole family?Or maybe the whole neighborhood where he was from,because they were harboring him.?
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Comment #1 posted by E. Johnson on September 12, 2001 at 23:41:38 PT
It's an old lesson
A military campaign in the remote mountains of Afghanistan would confront daunting challenges – in particular, intimidating terrain and fierce local fighters – as the Soviet Union learned when it invaded the country in 1979.As the British learned in the century before that one.However, I thought the Soviet Union was invited into that country.I thought had been sttled by the minutes of the Politburo meeting published in the New York Times in 1992 or 1993, when the Soviet leaders were debating the request of the Najibullah government for more helicopters and pilots, and told them that meant a full Soviet commitment. They decided to exile Sakharov and his wife to Gorky at that very same meeting.
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