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Retaliation: An unconventional conflict

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President Bush has called the terrorist attacks on the United States an act of war, and Congress has authorized the use of force against those responsible.  


President Bush is preparing to address the American people about the terrorist attacks on the United States and the nation's military response, which is dubbed "Operation Infinite Justice."


Islamic clerics meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan, have recommended to the ruling Taliban leadership that they ask accused terrorist Osama bin Laden to leave the country voluntarily. But they also warned if the United States attacks Afghanistan, the Taliban would declare a holy war on America. Full story

U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, previewing the president's speech, told reporters will be a different kind of war with an unconventional foe. "This is also of a war of will and mind. It is a war in which information may be the most important asset that we have. So we're asking a lot of countries to help us with information," she said. Full story

The Pentagon has ordered dozens of aircraft, including combat aircraft, to be deployed to bases in the Persian Gulf region. The deployment includes F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and B-52 bombers. Full story


Whom will the United States retaliate against?

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

What form will the retaliation take? Click here for more.

Will the retaliation include an immediate response and a long-term plan to root out terrorists?

Is the United States willing to violate the sovereignty of other nations to get at terrorist networks?

How will retaliation affect Americans at home and abroad?

Will the United States seek military support from NATO?


George W. Bush: U.S. president

Osama bin Laden: A wealthy Saudi expatriate living in Afghanistan who U.S. authorities cite as one of the primary suspects in masterminding the attacks. Click here for more.

Colin Powell: U.S. secretary of state. A former Army general, Powell also served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser. Click here for more.

Gen. Richard B. Myers: chairman-designate of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Click here for more.

Saudi exile Osama bin Laden is considered a prime suspect in the September 11 attacks.  

Donald Rumsfeld: U.S. secretary of defense.

George Tenet: CIA director. Click here for more.

Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden: Director of the U.S. National Security Agency, responsible for gathering intelligence on terrorist cells.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf: The military ruler of Pakistan, one of three countries that officially recognizes the Taliban, the ruling militia of Afghanistan harboring bin Laden. The others are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Mullah Mohammed Omar: The Muslim cleric who leads Afghanistan's ruling Taliban. Taliban officials say they have played host to bin Laden but do not allow him to engage in terrorist activities. Click here for more.


The attacks on the nation's landmarks of power and security signal the start of a protracted battle on terrorism that could permanently alter core U.S. military and diplomatic strategies.

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