Podium: The war on terror is not a figure of speech. It is real

Share
Related Topics

These are busy times for the nation's defenders, because we're at war with an enemy that hit us first, hit us hard, and has ambitions to cause ever greater destruction inside our country.

In two weeks, we'll mark another anniversary of September 11th, 2001 – and we'll recall the attacks that took 3,000 lives and did such great harm to our nation. We'll be reminded, once again, of the kind of adversaries that we face in this war.

These extremists don't wear a uniform or recognise any standard of warfare. They hate our country; they are determined to kill as many Americans as they can; and they are fully prepared to kill themselves in the process. Simply stated, an extremist cabal has turned its guns on the United States and the civilised world. For the sake of our freedom and security, we must not relent until this enemy is destroyed. No one can guarantee the enemy won't make another strike on our homeland – indeed, that is their objective. But one thing is certain: we will not sit and wait to be hit again. There was a time when terrorist attacks were treated mainly as an issue of law enforcement – where you investigated the incident, arrest the bad guys, try them, and put them in jail.

September 11th changed everything. We saw the kind of destruction that could be caused by 19 men armed with box cutters and boarding passes – 19 men who were, in fact, part of an international network of terror. We had to contemplate, as well, their broader goals – to acquire more deadly weapons; to gain new safe havens to wage further attacks; to spread an ideology of hatred and resentment across the broader Middle East and beyond.

After 9/11, it was clear that this mixture of ideology and violence, operating across borders and in secret, added up to more than just a law enforcement problem. It was, and is, a strategic threat to the United States, and must be dealt with systematically. So President Bush made a decision to marshal all the elements of our national power to confront the extremists, to deny them safe haven, and above all to deny them the means to wage catastrophic attacks against the United States. He also made clear that in the post-9/11 era, regimes that harbour terrorists and defy the demands of the civilised world should be held to account – before it's too late.

All of these measures – homeland security, terror surveillance, and high-value interrogation – have been absolutely essential to confronting the strategic threat to our country. And the same is true for our ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The war on terror is not a figure of speech. On two fields of battle, it is a shooting war. The only way to win is by going on the offensive – and that's exactly what we're doing.



Taken from remarks by the US Vice-President to the 90th National Convention of the American Legion

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album