The Business at Hand.

If you haven't read the speech Vice President Dick Cheney delivered yesterday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, you should.
This great and urgent responsibility has required a shift in national security policy. For many years prior to 9/11, we treated terror attacks against Americans as isolated incidents, and answered--if at all--on an ad hoc basis, and never in a systematic way. Even after an attack inside our own country--the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center, in New York--there was a tendency to treat terrorist incidents as individual criminal acts, to be handled primarily through law enforcement. The man who perpetrated that attack in New York was tracked down, arrested, convicted and sent off to serve a 240-year sentence. Yet behind that one man was a growing network with operatives inside and outside the United States, waging war against our country.

For us, that war started on 9/11. For them, it started years before. After the World Trade Center attack in 1993 came the murders at the Saudi Arabia National Guard Training Center in Riyadh, in 1995; the simultaneous bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in 1998; the attack on the USS Cole, in 2000. In 1996, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad--the mastermind of 9/11--first proposed to Osama bin Laden that they use hijacked airliners to attack targets in the U.S. During this period, thousands of terrorists were trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. And we have seen the work of terrorists in many attacks since 9/11--in Riyadh, Casablanca, Istanbul, Mombasa, Bali, Jakarta, Najaf, Baghdad and, most recently, Madrid.

Against this kind of determined, organized, ruthless enemy, America requires a new strategy--not merely to prosecute a series of crimes, but to fight and win a global campaign against the terror network. Our strategy has several key elements. We have strengthened our defenses here at home, organizing the government to protect the homeland. But a good defense is not enough. The terrorist enemy holds no territory, defends no population, is unconstrained by rules of warfare, and respects no law of morality. Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased or negotiated with. It can only be destroyed--and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the business at hand. ...

By whatever means are necessary--whether diplomatic or military--we will act to protect the lives and security of the American people.
This was a campaign speech, and the reminders therein will drown out the complaints of the left over the coming months. Has the Bush Administration handled everything perfectly? No. But John Kerry refuses to even acknowledge that we're at war. Just read the list of cities and remember the attacks we've suffered. Just because there aren't soldiers in tanks rolling across the border doesn't mean we aren't at war.

The picture above is of a memorial for four of my coworkers who died in the 9/11 attacks. There are probably hundreds like it around the country. Never forget.



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