After weeks of silence, America strikes back

By Beth Ann Conahan
October 11, 2001

On Sunday, Oct. 7, America fought back.

The initial strike began on Sunday afternoon. While Tomahawk cruise missiles and bombs found targets in Afghanistan, Bush addressed the country. “We will not waver, we will not tire,” the president said. “We will not falter and we will not fail.”

Bush approved the strike on Saturday, less than four weeks after the terrorist attacks that dropped hijacked planes from the skies over U.S. soil on Sept. 11. Two to three dozen sites were targeted in Sunday’s attack, including terrorist training camps, military airfields, military aircraft, air defense radars and surface-to-air missile sites.

Although the Taliban claims he survived the attack, smoke could be seen billowing from the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar’s compound. Afghan sources in Pakistan also told the Associated Press that the attack successfully damaged the Taliban military headquarters and destroyed a radar installation and control tower at the airport in Kandahar, a city in southern Afghan.

Almost immediately after the first of the blasts, the city of Kabul lost power and was sent into darkness.

The campaign, dubbed “Enduring Freedom,” also includes airdrops of thousands of vitamin-enriched food rations for the needy civilians of Afghanistan. The yellow plastic packages feature a picture of a person eating from a pouch and a stencil of the American flag. Written in English, there is an inscription that reads, “This food is a gift from the United States of America.”

The U.S. received support from countries around the world, including the promise of forces from the countries of Canada, Australia, Germany and France.

In a statement taped before the attack and released after, Osama bin Laden claims Americans “will never dream of security or see it before we live it or see it in Palestine, and not before the infidels’ armies leave the land of Muhammad.” He also belittled Americans’ grieving over the thousands that died in the attacks on Sept.11.

“I know many Americans feel fear today,” Bush said in his nationally televised address from the White House Treaty Room on Sunday.

Vice President Dick Cheney has been taken from his residence and secured in an undisclosed location. The Capital has stepped up its security. Government nuclear weapon labs have been put on a higher alert.

Officials close to intelligence secrets reported to the Associated Press that the attacks of early this week increase the danger of more terror in the United States. While Bush addresses the fears of Americans sadly, bin Laden noted American fear with satisfaction.

At the swearing-in ceremony of former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as the new director of the Office of Homeland Security, Bush said that the United States is trying to “not only protect ourselves but to bring the evildoers to justice.”

The Taliban is claiming that U.S. attacks have taken significant civilian casualties. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld rejects their claims. “We have approved every single target and each one is a military target,” he told the Associated Press.

The campaign against the Taliban is intended to punish them for hiding bin Laden, accused of the attacks of being the mastermind behind the attacks in the U.S. on Sept. 11.

The attacks of early this week have received support from far and wide. In Philadelphia, 64,000 fans cheered at Veteran’s stadium where the beginning of a football game was delayed so the president’s speech could be seen by fans on the big screen.

However, there has been protest. At a number of colleges across the nation, including Bryn Mawr College, students protested the attacks by walking out of class. There were also protests outside the White House and in Europe where demonstrators carried signs that read, “Stop the bombing.”

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Beth Ann Conahan

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