By Gerry J. Gilmore
WASHINGTON, July 11, 2006 – Global terrorists started their war against the United States long before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Vice President Richard B. Cheney told a gathering of Michigan National Guardsmen yesterday "Although we have been in the struggle against terrorism for nearly five years now, the terrorists were actually at war with us long before 2001," Cheney said during remarks at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich.
He cited the deaths of 241 U.S. Marines during the Oct. 23, 1983, terrorist bombing of a military barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. U.S. military forces were withdrawn from Lebanon after that attack. "(Terrorists) grew bolder in their belief that if they killed enough Americans, they could change American policy," Cheney said. Terrorists launched several strikes against America and its allies after Beirut:
First terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, New York City, February 1993. Six people killed, more than 1,000 wounded.
Terrorist attacks on U.S. forces in Mogadishu, Somalia, October 1993. Eighteen U.S. servicemembers killed, 73 wounded.
Terrorist attack on the Saudi National Guard, November 1995. Seven people killed.
Terrorist bombing at Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia, June 1996. Nineteen U.S. servicemembers and one Saudi killed, hundreds wounded.
Simultaneous terror bombings of two U.S. embassies (Tanzania and Kenya) in East Africa, August 1998. More than 220 people killed, 4,000 wounded.
Terrorist suicide bombing of the USS Cole, at Aden, Yemen, October 2000. Seventeen U.S. sailors killed, 39 wounded.
"Time and time again, for the remainder of the 20th century, the terrorists hit America and America did not hit back hard enough," Cheney said. But, America resolved to fight back after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania that killed some 3,000 people, Cheney said.
"That day changed everything, and the United States will never go back to the false comforts of the world before 9/11," Cheney said. U.S. government leaders resolved to take the fight to the terrorists at their overseas lairs far from the American homeland. Since Sept. 11, Americans have seen the valor and sacrifices of U.S. servicemembers confronting terrorists around the world, Cheney said.
"All the people of this country appreciate the sacrifice of those who serve and the incredible commitment of their families," Cheney said. He added that the nation mourns for families who've lost loved ones in the war. "In times of loss, our nation is united in respect and sorrow for the families of the fallen. We can only say, without any doubt whatsoever, that these brave Americans served in a noble and a necessary cause," he said. "And their sacrifice has made the nation and the world more secure. We will honor their memory forever."