President George W. Bush, address to the joint session of Congress
, September 20, 2001:
Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.
This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.
Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.
Charles Krauthammer, Fox News Sunday, January 1, 2001 (quoted here
There's a great irony here. Everybody has been asking of themselves for the last four years why haven't we had a second attack, which everybody expected within weeks or months, certainly years. It didn't happen.
And we knew about the external story. The war in Afghanistan obviously had an effect on Al Qaida. The war in Iraq has diverted terrorists and jihadists into Iraq as opposed to attacking America.
But what we've heard over the last six months with these revelations, these so-called scandals, of the secret prisons where high-level Al Qaida have been held, the coercive interrogation which is under attack in the McCain amendment, and now the NSA eavesdropping -- we have the untold story which the administration could not tell. It knew why we had been protected.
All these defensive measures of gathering intelligence -- we were always weak on human intelligence, and that's why we had 9/11. And we don't have good spies inside Al Qaida. But we had a means, technological, in the NSA eavesdropping, and also other means in capturing these terrorists, of getting information.
It's worked. It's held us safe. And that's why I think in the end the president's going to win the whole argument on presidential power.
I commend also to your reading Dr. Sanity's passionate (and even, perhaps, intemperate) commentary
on the Krauthammer quotation.