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Retaliation: Building a coalition

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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.


Ongoing U.S. diplomatic efforts remain focused on building an anti-terror coalition. Secretary of State Colin Powell met with the Saudi foreign minister and the Belgian foreign minister, who also is the current head of the European Union. British Prime Minister Tony Blair also is scheduled to meet with Bush before the president's speech.

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. The White House, however, rejected the offer as not meeting U.S. requirements that bin Laden be handed over to the U.S. Full story

The Pentagon has ordered dozens of aircraft, including combat aircraft, to be deployed to bases in the Persian Gulf region. Deployment orders also have been issued for Army troops, although details are not being released. 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. Click here for more.

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. Click here for more.

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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