Rice Cites Progress in War on Terror Since September 11 Attacks

By Jane Morse
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - Although the United States and the international community have made progress in the war against terrorism, more work must be done, says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“We’re safer, but we’re not yet safe, and we have to recognize that there’s much more work to do,” she said in a September 8 interview with Tribune Broadcasting.  Building an effective international network to fight terrorism takes time, she said.

Rice lauded the progress that has been made in the five years since terrorists attacked the World Trade Centers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.  Port security in the United States has been vastly improved, she said.

In addition, the United States has “liberated 50 million people from countries that were friends of the terrorists,” she said.  “We have made great progress against al-Qaida as an organization, arresting or otherwise putting off the battlefield any number of their field generals,” adding, “there are people in our intelligence agency who spend every waking hour looking for Osama bin Laden.”

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, regarded as the mastermind of the World Trade Center attack, and Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Bin Al Shibh are among the top al-Qaida operatives that have been captured.

Intensive questioning of these captives has yielded maximum information, and now “the priority has shifted to being able to bring them to justice,” Rice said.  To this end, President Bush is seeking new legislation that will set procedures for the interrogation and trial of detainees, she said. (See related article.)

“The president wants to make certain as we go forward in the War on Terror that we have sustainable means by which to gather intelligence, means that are well within our laws and within our treaty obligations,” Rice said during a September 6 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

“But the long-term struggle here,” Rice told Tribune Broadcasting, “is to deal with the ideology of hatred that produced the people who made those attacks and that’s why the president is so insistent that we have to have a different kind of environment in the Middle East, one that breeds hope, not an ideology of hatred.”

“It’s tough going in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East,” Rice acknowledged.  “But this is going to be a very different world than the one that has closed off hope and to produce people who would fly airplanes into buildings.”

Transcripts of the interviews with Tribune Broadcasting and with the BBC are available on the State Department Web site.

For more information, see Response to Terrorism.