Rumsfeld says anti-terror campaign will be long and bloody
Wednesday, September 26th 2001, 12:00 am
News On 6
WASHINGTON (AP) _ In its latest preparations for the war on terrorism, the Pentagon has called up National Guard and Reserve soldiers who secure ports and military bases, gather information about enemies and identify human remains.
Military officials on Tuesday brought nearly 2,000 more reservists from the Air Force, Army and Navy to active duty. They include 190 members of an Army Reserve mortuary unit from Puerto Rico that will help recover remains of the more than 6,000 missing from the attack on the World Trade Center.
Many of the soldiers will help beef up security inside the United States while others will go overseas, Pentagon officials say. Which troops and equipment are going where is a closely guarded secret.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld prepared for a breakfast meeting Wednesday with top congressional leaders. On Tuesday, he continued Bush administration efforts to prepare the public for a long, perhaps bloody, campaign.
``It will not be an antiseptic war, I regret to say,'' Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference. ``It will be difficult. It will be dangerous. And ... the likelihood is that more people may be lost.''
Rumsfeld said the new war will not start with a massive offensive such as D-Day, the final allied push in Europe during World War II.
``It is by its very nature something that cannot be dealt with by some sort of massive attack or invasion,'' he said. ``It is a much more subtle, nuanced, difficult, shadowy set of problems.''
Rumsfeld predicted the campaign would last ``not five minutes or five months,'' but years.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States left nearly 7,000 people dead or missing in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.
The Pentagon announced that an additional 1,940 reservists from 16 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia were called to active duty. They bring to 14,318 the number of Reserve and National Guard members called so far under a partial mobilization order President Bush signed after the Sept. 11 attacks. Bush authorized the Pentagon to call as many as 50,000 to active duty.
Also, about 200 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., were sent to each of two chemical weapons storage facilities in Kentucky and Indiana to augment security, according to officials at those sites. A spokeswoman said there had been no specific threat against either place.
The military campaign _ separate from the financial, diplomatic and law enforcement tools being mobilized against terrorism _ has been code-named ``Enduring Freedom,'' Rumsfeld said.
The name first chosen, ``Infinite Justice,'' was scrapped after the administration recognized that in the Islamic faith such finality is considered something provided only by Allah, the Arabic word for God.
The U.S. is assembling a large force in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea _ including at least two aircraft carriers, with two more reportedly headed in that direction. Each ship carries about 5,000 sailors and 75 aircraft and is accompanied by about a dozen warships, generally including attack submarines and destroyers capable of firing cruise missiles.
The United States also has warplanes at land bases in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region, and it plans to put Air Force B-52 bombers on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.
A key element of the military campaign is expected to be U.S. special operations forces, the clandestine warriors who operate behind enemy lines, sometimes in helicopter-delivered raids to kill, kidnap or sabotage.
Rumsfeld was asked about remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Central Asian nations such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have not ruled out allowing the use of their air bases for anti-terror strikes into neighboring Afghanistan, whose Taliban militia is accused of harboring alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Rumsfeld said the administration has been in contact with Moscow on ``a number of aspects'' of the anti-terrorism effort. But he left it to spokesmen for other governments to say what basing arrangements have been worked out for American forces.
He also suggested the administration has yet to see clearly how its various anti-terrorism tools will squash bin Laden's al-Qaida organization and punish those who support it, including the Taliban religious militia that rules most of Afghanistan.
``It's a little like a billiard table,'' he said. ``The balls careen around for a while and you don't know what'll do it, but the end result, we would hope, would be a situation where the al-Qaida is heaved out and the people in Taliban who think that it's good for them and good for the world to harbor terrorists ... lose, and lose seriously.''