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 Home > News & Policies > September 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 19, 2003

Presidential Letter
Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

On September 24, 2001, I reported the deployment of various combat-equipped and combat support forces to a number of locations in the Central and Pacific Command areas of operation. On October 9, 2001, I reported the beginning of combat action in Afghanistan against al-Qaida terrorists and their Taliban supporters. In my reports to the Congress of March 20 and September 20, 2002 and March 20, 2003, I provided supplemental information on the deployment of combat-equipped and combat support forces to a number of foreign nations in the Central and Pacific Command areas of operations and other areas. As a part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed, I am reporting further on United States efforts in the global war on terrorism.

Our efforts in Afghanistan continue to meet with success, but, as I have stated in my previous reports, the United States campaign against terrorism will be lengthy. To date, U.S. Armed Forces, with the assistance of numerous coalition partners, have executed a superb campaign to eliminate the primary source of support to the terrorists who viciously attacked our Nation on September 11, 2001. The heart of al-Qaidas training capability has been seriously degraded. The Talibans ability to brutalize the Afghan people and to harbor and support terrorists has been virtually eliminated. Pockets of al-Qaida and Taliban forces remain a threat to United States and coalition forces and to the Afghan government. What is left of both the Taliban and the al-Qaida fighters is being pursued actively and engaged by United States and coalition forces.

Due to our success in Afghanistan, we have detained hundreds of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters who are believed to pose a continuing threat to the United States and its interests. The combat-equipped and combat support forces deployed to Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the Southern Command area of operations since January 2002 continue to conduct secure detention opera-tions. We currently hold more than 650 enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay.

In furtherance of our worldwide efforts against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the United States, our friends and allies, and our forces abroad, we continue operations in other areas around the globe. We continue to work with the Government of the Philippines to protect United States and Philippine citizens and to defeat international terrorism in the Philippines.

We continue to conduct maritime interception operations on the high seas in the Central and European Command areas of respon-sibility and have expanded these efforts to the Pacific Command areas of responsibility to prevent the movement, arming, or financing of international terrorists who pose a continuing threat to the United States.

Combat-equipped and combat support forces also have been deployed to Georgia and Djibouti to assist in enhancing counterterrorism capabilities. The United States forces headquarters element in Djibouti provides command and control support as necessary for military operations against al-Qaida and other international terrorists in the Horn of Africa region, including Yemen. We continue to assess options for working with other nations to assist them in this respect.

I have taken these actions pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. In addition, these actions are consistent with Public Law 107-40. As I stated in my previous reports, it is not possible to know at this time either the duration of combat operations or the scope and duration of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United States. I will direct additional measures as necessary to exercise our right to self-defense and to protect United States citizens and interests. Such measures may include short notice deployments of special operations and other forces for sensitive operations in various locations throughout the world.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution and Public Law 107-40. Officials of my Administration and I have been communicating regularly with the leadership and other Members of Congress, and we will continue to do so. I appreciate the continuing support of the Congress in our efforts to protect the security of the United States of America and its citizens, civilian and military, here and abroad.



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