By Steven Donald Smith
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2006 – Terrorists are destined to lose if the U.S. keeps its nerve and refuses to abandon its overseas commitments, Vice President Richard B. Cheney said today at Fort Hood, Texas. "The world can have confidence in the resolve of the United States," he said. "We will stand by our friends; we will help Iraqis build a nation that is free, secure and able to defend itself. We will confront our enemies on this and every other front in the war on terror. With good allies at our side, we will prevail."
Cheney said the terrorists were at war with the United States before the U.S. began fighting back. "Terrorists were at war with our country long before the liberation of Iraq and the attacks of 9/11," he said.
He refuted claims that America's presence in Iraq has made terrorism worse and reminded people the U.S. was not in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001. "Americans are fighting (in Iraq) and Afghanistan because our security demands it," Cheney said.
Winning the war against terror requires the U.S. to continue to capture and kill terrorists, Cheney said. "If we have learned anything from modern experience, it is this: the only way to protect this country against terrorism is to stay on the offensive, to pursue the enemy until there is no place left to hide, and to stay in the fight until the fight is won," he said.
These are challenging times in American history, Cheney said. The U.S. faces an enemy that kills indiscriminately, as was evidenced by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "This year, (Osama) bin Laden's second in command used the anniversary (of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks) to issue more words of hatred for our country and more threats of murder."
The terrorists recognize no rule of warfare and accept no standard of morality, he said. "They have declared their intention to bring great harm to any nation that opposes their aims," he said. "Their prime targets are the United States and the American people."
The U.S. must keep enough troops on the battlefield to prevent future attacks on the homeland, he said. "Any decisions about troop levels will be driven by conditions on the ground and the judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timelines set by politicians," he said.
Cheney told the Fort Hood audience that Americans are grateful for their service. "This is not a country that takes its military for granted," he said. "We are a democracy defended by volunteers who deserve all the tools and support we can possibly provide."
Cheney thanked the soldiers of Fort Hood for their commitment to winning the war on terror. "The dangers have been many; the duties have been hard; and your performance has been superb," he said.
"Each time I visit a military base I come away with renewed confidence in the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States," he said. "Each one of you has dedicated yourself to serving our country and its ideals."