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

Business Development Manager

Salary/Rate: £32,000/annum: M&E Global Resources Ltd: Description/Main Duties ...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

In Sickness and in Health: It’s been lonely in bed without my sleep soulmate

Rebecca Armstrong
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv  

Why do we stand by and watch Putin?

Ian Birrell
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor