The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were acts of war against the United States of America, its allies, friends, and against the very idea of civilized society. No cause justifies terrorism. The world must respond and fight this evil that is intent on threatening and destroying our basic freedoms and our way of life. Freedom and fear are at war. The enemy is not one person. It is not a single political regime. Certainly it is not a religion. The enemy is terrorism.
The National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, February 2003
The United States is engaged in a comprehensive effort to protect and defend the homeland and defeat terrorism. Using all instruments of national power, the United States and its partners are attacking terrorists both at home and abroad, denying terrorists sanctuary and sponsorship, disrupting the financing of terror, and building and maintaining a united global front against terrorism.
With the help of our friends and allies, we have eliminated Afghanistan as a safe haven for al- Qaida and disrupted terrorist cells around the world. Iraq is now the central front for the war on terror. While the United States and its partners have defeated Saddam Husseins regime of terror, enemies of freedom -- both members of the old regime and foreign terrorists who have come to Iraq -- are making a desperate stance to reclaim this liberated nation for tyranny. They will be defeated. In the past, terrorists have cited Beirut and Somalia as examples of America fleeing from challenge when harmed. In this, the President has affirmed, they are mistaken. We are resolved to win the global war on terrorism.
America and all free nations are fighting an enemy that wishes to strike with indiscriminate terror to weaken our resolve, and exploit the way of life that makes our nation both strong and inherently vulnerable. Our best defense against terrorists is to root them out wherever they hide - - in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters and throughout the world -- and preempt acts of terror by using all the tools of statecraft. We will continue to invigorate traditional alliances and build new partnerships to carry this effort forward.
The U.S. government has no more important mission than protecting the homeland from future terrorist attacks. We are reforming and improving our threat warning and intelligence, expanding our law enforcement capability, increasing security in key sectors such as transportation, borders and ports, and other critical infrastructure, developing new vaccines and technologies to counter potential threats, and ensuring our Federal, state, and local responders are prepared to manage crises effectively. The United States has undertaken sweeping organizational changes, the magnitude of which has not been seen in 50 years.
This report highlights the Administrations efforts to defeat terrorism and secure the homeland. It also underscores the nature of the continuing threat and the Administrations dedication to bringing to justice those who plot against America. Despite accumulating successes in the war on terrorism -- some seen, some unseen -- terrorists continue to wage war on the civilized world. Murderous attacks in Bali, Jakarta, Mombasa, Riyadh, Casablanca, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Najaf underscore terrorists continued contempt for the innocent, their fear of progress, and their hatred of peace. The civilized world must remain vigilant and committed to a long and critical struggle -- until Americans and people around the world can lead their lives free from fear of terrorism.