|On the eve of the five-year
anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United
States, the Bush administration says anti-terror efforts are making
progress at home and abroad. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington,
where Vice President Cheney appeared on U.S. television.|
President Cheney says during the past five years the United States has
spent billions of dollars to make the nation more secure, and the
investment has proven its worth.
"I think we have done a pretty good job of securing the nation against
terrorists. We are on the fifth anniversary [of 9/11] and there has not
been another attack on the United States. And that is not an accident," he
Cheney was speaking on NBC's Meet the Press program. He said U.S.
anti-terror efforts have been aided by the creation of the Department of
Homeland Security, by programs to track and monitor terrorist activities
at home and abroad, and by interrogating those captured or detained in the
war on terrorism.
In addition, the vice president said the United States is safer thanks
to a proactive foreign policy.
"I think part of what we did right was to take the fight to the enemy,
to treat this as a war and not a law enforcement problem," he said. "To
actively and aggressively go after the state sponsors of terror, as we
did, for example, in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The vice president added that any sign that the United States is losing
its resolve to persevere in Iraq or Afghanistan would embolden terrorists
and undermine America's allies in the Muslim world.
But continued strife in Iraq is worrisome to many, including the
chairman of the former U.S. 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, who spoke on
ABC's This Week program.
"Where we are right now is in a very difficult place," he said. "There
is no question that the war in Iraq is radicalizing people in that area.
If it becomes a civil war, that civil war could spread outside the
boundaries of Iraq and other areas. It is a very dangerous situation, and
in that kind of a situation, that is where terror likes to breed."
Another 9/11 Commission member, Richard Ben-Veniste, said America's
troubles in Iraq have diverted attention from one of President Bush's
primary goals in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
"We have not killed or captured Osama bin Laden five years after 9/11,"
he said. "And he remains the central focus for Islamic radicals who mean
to kill us. The war in Iraq has been a recruiting poster for jihadists
throughout the Muslim world, and there are far more terrorists now than
there were before 9/11."
In its Sunday edition, the Washington Post newspaper quoted an
unidentified U.S. intelligence official as saying that American efforts to
locate Osama bin Laden have been entirely unsuccessful, and that the trail
for bin Laden is "stone cold" [no leads].
Appearing on CNN's Late Edition program, Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice said the United States has in no
way abandoned the search for bin Laden, but noted that the
terrorist threat is greater than any one individual.
"We will continue on the hunt for him [bin Laden]. But we are also
going to continue to remember that his is not about one man. This is about
disabling the al-Qaida organization and its capacity to hurt us," she
Monday, President Bush will participate in a series of events in New
York marking the September 11th anniversary.