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America Under Attack: How the World Will Have to React

Aired September 14, 2001 - 04:17   ET


RALITSA VASSILEVA, CNN ANCHOR: Pakistan is asking the United States for time to consider a list of U.S. demands. The United States says it needs Pakistan to help find those responsible for the terrorist attacks.

Our State Department correspondent, Andrea Koppel, has details.


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tightening the diplomatic screws on Pakistan's president, the Bush administration presented a list of specific steps he says Pakistan must take. Among them to share information on what it knows about Tuesday's attacks and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, to close the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and cut off fuel shipments; and eventually to provide the United States with use of Pakistani airspace if needed.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We haven't yet publicly identified the organization we believe was responsible. But when you look at the list of candidates, one resides in that region.

KOPPEL: Later, when pressed by reporters, ...

QUESTION: When you spoke of the candidate who resides in that region, were you speaking of Osama bin Laden?


KOPPEL: For the first time, Powell saying publicly what many have said privately, that bin Laden's network, based in Afghanistan, is a prime suspect. And as Afghanistan's neighbor and longtime supporter, Pakistan could play a critical role in finding bin Laden and shutting down his terrorist training camps for good.

Following another full day of intense meetings and between U.S. and Pakistani officials, President Musharraf assured the Bush administration of Pakistan's "unstinted cooperation" in the fight against terrorism. He said Pakistan is ready to commit "all of its resources" to "locate and punish" those responsible for the attacks in New York and Washington.

BRENT SCOWCROFT, FRM. NATL. SECURITY ADVISER: President Musharraf is in a difficult position. He has aided the Taliban for a number of years. But also, he needs the United States very badly right now. We are improving our relations with India. He can't afford, I think, to antagonize the United States.

KOPPEL (on camera): State Department officials say early indications from Pakistan are quote, "very positive." So Secretary Powell acknowledged, with economic sanctions in place, the U.S. has very little leverage to turn up the heat. But he says the U.S. could make life a lot easier in Pakistan if its government cooperates.

Andrea Koppel, CNN, at the State Department.


VASSILEVA: And Tom Mintier joins us now live from Islamabad. Tom, what has been the domestic reaction in Pakistan to President Musharraf's support for the U.S.?

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ralitsa, we may be able to judge that in about 10 minutes. At three mosques across Islamabad, there are going to be prayers said for the American victims of this tragedy. So the public will have their chance to speak out.

But, as Andrea was saying in her piece, it is a very difficult situation that the Pakistani president finds himself in, because there are going to be domestic ramifications if, indeed, Pakistan cooperates with the United States in any type of military action in Afghanistan.

The streets may be set alight here with protesters. And you have to look at where the Pakistani president comes from. He comes from the military side, not the political side, so he doesn't have any real political support as a politician might have, because he's really gone out to clean up politics in Pakistan. So he really can't count on them.

There are divisions within the military as far as support for the Taliban is concerned, so he's really in a very tight spot.

But when you look at the economy of Pakistan, which is in a shambles right now, with Musharraf also going to the World Bank, and others, trying to seek loans to improve the economic situation here. That could be in jeopardy if he goes against the United States and swims upstream on this.

So, there is subtle pressure that is coming in the front door and not so subtle pressure to cooperate with the U.S. in its efforts to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden, and provide even access to the airspace if there was indeed a military strike against the targets in Afghanistan.

So, he's really in a tough spot here politically and militarily. So, he's really walking a very fine line.

He has said "unstinted support." What everyone is waiting to see is, if push comes to shove, what unstinted really means. Ralitsa.

VASSILEVA: And, Tom, what about pressures from religious groups?

MINTIER: It is those religious groups that really make up the big problem domestically that he's going to have. If there are people out in the streets as they were the last time there was an attack against Afghanistan, making demonstrations and burning flags, if this was a long, sustained campaign -- air campaign against Afghanistan, there would be a long campaign of terror on the streets of places like Islamabad and Karachi and Lahore, and elsewhere in Pakistan.

So, there is a real domestic problem for the government, here, if they side with the United States. If they don't side with the United States, the problems, though, may be even bigger.

VASSILEVA: Tom, thank you.

JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: Whatever the stakes in Pakistan or elsewhere, for many Americans, the shock from Tuesday's attacks has given away to anger and cries for revenge, many directed against Osama bin Laden.

U.S. officials say more than one terrorist group may have been involved in the attacks, though. And as CNN's David Ensor reports, getting at bin Laden may prove to be a very difficult task.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The nation is angry about thousands of innocents deaths. U.S. officials say the evidence so far points to Osama bin Laden's group. And the Bush administration is talking tough.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will go after that group, that network, and those who have harbored, supported and aided that network, to rip the network up.

And when we're through with that network, we will continue with a global assault against terrorism in general.

ENSOR: But if it is bin Laden, how to get at him and his top lieutenants. Some argue, for giving Afghanistan's Taliban government an ultimatum: Turn him over, or else.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: We know where your ministries are. We know where your houses are. We're simply going to obliterate them from the face of the planet.

GEN. WILLIAM ODOM (RET), FMR. NSA DIRECTOR: Bouncing that rubble were a lot of B-52 bombs -- loads of bombs. I don't think it's going to change Afghanistan, all that much.

ENSOR: No, say most analysts, in and out of government. If you want to roll up bin Laden and al Qaeda. It is going to take more than bombs. It will take ground troops.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: In order for us to preserve America and our way of life, we're going to have to sacrifice American treasure and, unfortunately in some cases, perhaps some American blood. ENSOR: It is not just a question of grabbing or killing one man, or even 20. There are a dozen or more training camps, U.S. intelligence says, producing more terrorists dedicated to killing Americans.

M.J. GOHEL, SECURITY & TERRORISM ANALYST: Revenge alone is not an answer. There has to be a complete eradication, an elimination of all the training camps.

ENSOR: And much of bin Laden's base of support is in neighboring Pakistan, through which money from around the Arab world is funneled to the al Qaeda coffers, treacherous and dangerous area indeed.

ODOM: If you start moving in ground troops and you're willing to occupy countries for long periods of time, you do change things rather significantly for terrorists.

I'm not sure this country is ready to do that, even if it does have a fit of passion right now. And I'm not -- it may or may not make sense for the U.S. to do that in its larger interests.

ENSOR (on camera): Bottom line, U.S. forces might be able to get bin Laden, but that alone would not stop the terror, administration officials saying they will do nothing precipitous, knowing this one is going to be very, very difficult.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


MANN: Who to punish and how? We're joined now from London by Fred Halliday, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, and a specialist on the region.

Thanks so much for talking with us. The talk here is Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan. Does it make sense to punish Afghanistan if, indeed, he is the man behind these attacks?

FRED HALLIDAY, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: It certainly makes sense to punish those who have trained and supported Osama bin Laden's organization over many years.

We don't know the full details of the training that went into this mission. But if, as it appears, the pilots who carried out the suicide missions in Washington and New York were actually trained on, albeit old, but nevertheless jets -- passenger jets -- that were left behind in Afghanistan, that would be very significant.

But overall, he cannot operate in Afghanistan without the say-so of the Taliban government. And for all that they'll say, oh, he's just a guest, or things in Afghanistan are very fragmented, they have responsibility, not just under international law, but in practice.

You and I couldn't go there and set up an organization. We'd be dead in two minutes. So, it is quite an effective system of rule, and they are responsible. The problem about punishing Afghanistan as a country is, it's taken more punishment than any other country in the world over the last 20 years -- economically, in terms of refugees. It is a devastated country. And that, of course, is something that has to be balanced against the desire to punish those who supported top -- bin Laden.

But I have to add, the Taliban themselves have a patron. And the patron is Pakistan. In effect, that is a client government of Pakistan. They provide many of its security and military personnel. They set them up in business.

They may not be responsible for everything the Taliban do, but the trail of responsibility has to go to Pakistan, as well as to Afghanistan.

What that means for U.S. diplomacy is for others to say.

MANN: Let me ask you, to your mind, what is going through the minds of the leadership of the Taliban right now? Do they want to tough this one out? Do they want to make a deal? What do you think they're saying in Kandahar and Kabul right now?

HALLIDAY: Well, remember that the Sudanese government supported some terrorist actions on a much lower level years ago. And then in the end, they did a kind of split. They let one group go, Osama bin Laden go, and sent him to Afghanistan. And they handed over another one, Carlos the Jackal from the Sudan.

Now, the Taliban, I think, are thinking also they don't want to go down the tube entirely. But they support military actions against neighboring states, including, I would stress, Iran, who they detest.

They've supported military actions in Central Asia, and they support this more militant view of Islamic fundamentalism as being something which is at war with the West. It's clear in their rhetoric. It's true in their actions.

Secondly, they must have helped prepare this operation. And if it works -- if it goes well for them, and if it goes well for Osama bin Laden, the consequence will be very simple but very important. It's their recruiting measure. A very gruesome, cruel but calculated recruiting measure.

They're not -- they're not going to defeat the United States. They don't think for a minute that they can do that. It's not like Vietnam fighting the U.S. in the '70s.

They are carrying out these actions, they're what the anarchists call propaganda of the deed, to punish the enemy, but also to recruit.

On a smaller scale, that was the purpose behind the destruction of the Buddhist statues last March. It was to say to radical Muslims, we're standing up to these people. We're not going to take any notice. However, if the cost looks like it's going to be too high, they could do anything. Or they could, indeed, even surrender bin Laden or say he'd had a car accident.

MANN: How, in theory, would the United States -- how would the West make Afghanistan pay? If Afghanistan's already fought itself into rubble through long years of civil war, if the government is insensitive to the poverty and suffering its people already feel, what can be done?

HALLIDAY: Well, I think there are two things that can be done. And I know that every politician and diplomat in the world is thinking of this. I'm not saying anything original.

On the one hand, those in the Taliban leadership and in the associate special services of Pakistan, who were associated with this, as well as Osama bin Laden, can be attacked, can be arrested, can be dealt with, in whatever way is possible.

I'm not sure whether the United States wants to bring them back in a Noriega-like way and put them in a Florida jail, or whether they would be happy to have a bloody battle there.

But it's to destroy the leadership who are responsible in the Qaeda organization of bin Laden, in the Taliban, and in Pakistan. For this. That's number one.

It has to be counterbalanced by political limits. Political limits for the population of Afghanistan, for whom we have a responsibility anyway, since the West helped create the mess there -- in fact, largely helped create the mess there in recent years.

But secondly, there have to be countervailing measures to show that this is not a war with the Third World or the Islamic world.

And I would say that there has to be more diplomatic activity to address the other issues that have fueled this, that goes from Kashmir in the east, through to the Gulf problems, through to the Palestine question.

In other words, there has to be, not just military containment of what's done, but countervailing, long-term diplomatic activity ...

MANN: Professor Halliday ...

HALLIDAY: ... but look at some ...

MANN: ... let me just get in, because you're making ...

HALLIDAY: ... for some of the forces.

MANN: ... you're making a crucial point here. U.S. officials have been making it known, in fact, that their war on terrorism is not just a war against Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had this to say just a short time ago.


POWELL: With the severity of this tragedy in Washington and New York against America, we now have to use this tragedy and respond to those, and take care of those who are responsible for it.

But at the same time, we should see this in a broader sense, that this -- this is a horrible blight on the civilized world. And so we will also be focusing on other organizations, terrorists organizations, who go after us, our citizens, our interests and allies.


MANN: Other organizations that go against us and our citizens and our allies. Read between the lines for us. How many different groups does the Secretary of State, does the United States want to take on, now?

HALLIDAY: Well, in one sense, Secretary of State Powell and also President Bush himself have set themselves an impossible task.

There will not be in the Middle East or anywhere else, in Ireland or in Colombia or in Sri Lanka or 20 other places we could mention -- there will not be an end to irregular forms of violence in the foreseeable future.

Terrorism in that sense cannot be defeated or eradicated. Terrorism can be contained.

And secondly, some of the courses of it can be addressed. But you've seen, even in a relatively contained situation like Ireland, where you've got a few thousands deaths over 20 years, it's been very, very difficult to eradicate the issue entirely.

But you can contain it. But that's, there -- it may be other organizations close to Al Qaeda, yes.

Then we have the other problem, which is, is every use of violence by a people or a group who claim oppression or who are oppressed, violence, is it terrorism? That's a much more difficult issue.

And I think, for example, I don't think most people in the U.S. would regard people fighting for the independence of Tibet as terrorists, but some would.

I think there is a big issue about abuse of the issue of terrorism in the Arab-Israeli context, saying the Palestinians are entitled to their own state. I don't think they're entitled to go out blowing up people in supermarkets.

So, a line will have to be drawn. But there are -- this is not just a judgment match. And in this sense Ronald Reagan was wrong when he said one person's freedom fighter is another person's terrorist. There are international conventions. There are Geneva protocols. There are moral principles about where terrorism ends and legitimate use of violence begins. And I think that the U.S. will have to take note of that.

But chasing over everybody with a Kalishnikov or a homemade pipe bomb in the world is a very foolish thing. And in that sense, I fear they've put the goal much too high, as well as, of course, not making clear where they think terrorism ends and other forms of violence begin.

MANN: On that note, Fred Halliday of the London ...

HALLIDAY: It gives one ...

MANN: ... School of Economics. Thank you so much for talking with us. Ralitsa.

VASSILEVA: Jon, we have this new development in the investigation into the attacks. The FBI in Newark has confirmed that they're actively searching in the area of the Thunderbird Motel in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Though authorities would not release any details about the nature of the search, other than describe it as, quote, pursuing one of the many leads into the potential hijackers or those who may have assisted them.

We'll bring you more details on that as soon as they become available.

Not just terrorism, leader after American leader has referred to Tuesday's atrocities as an act of war. And for now, at least, the country seems ready to adopt the saying, we make war that we may live in peace.

Bruce Morton explains.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): World War II brought Americans together. Most believed that Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were evil and aggressive. Americans demanded victory. The phrase of the day was, "unconditional surrender."

Korea and Vietnam, in contrast, divided the country. Vietnam in particular left Americans suspicious, leery of wars, and, in the conflicts since, the motto seems to have been, bomb all you want, but we can't stand American casualties.

That seems different now. No yellow ribbons bring the hostages home, please. Flags this time, half-staff but proud.

People are lining up to give blood. The Red Cross 800 number logged 700,000 calls in the first six hours after an appeal went out. Some military recruitment officers see an increased interest. And the country seems prepared to send its young people into harm's way.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think the United States is in a long, twilight struggle against these forces of evil that have chosen to destroy us because we are good. And I believe that it may take a lot of time, a lot of American treasure, and perhaps some American blood.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Make no mistake about it. My resolve is steady and strong about winning this war that has been declared on America.

MORTON: A goal of victory, not compromise.

And later, war has changed countries. World War II made the United States a world power committed to an international role, isolationism left behind.

Vietnam left the United States more cynical. Americans had learned their government could lie to them.

This time, unity so far, agreement on a goal so far. Will that change if the struggle is long? We can't know. The fight is just beginning.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.




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