Bush Talks of War CasualtiesBy Dan Balz
THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON
President Bush warned the nation Monday to prepare for U.S. military casualties in the coming war against terrorism and, in his bluntest language since last week’s attacks on New York and Washington, said he wants Osama Bin Laden brought to justice “dead or alive.”
“We will win the war and there will be costs,” Bush said after a meeting with Pentagon officials that was described as a review of his earlier decision to call up 35,000 military reservists to help in air patrols around major cities, intelligence gathering and engineering projects. He said the military “is ready to defend freedom at any cost.”
On a day when Americans went back to work, the stock markets reopened and Major League Baseball resumed play for the first time since the terrorist attacks, Bush described the perpetrators as “evildoers” and “barbaric people.” Those harboring bin Laden and his network, Bush said, should be “on notice” that they will not escape the wrath of the United States and the international coalition his administration is working to build.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said “the first round” of the war against terrorism will be aimed specifically at those who launched last week’s attacks. He emphasized that it is “becoming clear with each passing hour” that the al Qaeda terrorist network is the prime suspect and that “all roads lead to” bin Laden, the organization’s leader, “and his location in Afghanistan.”
But Powell said the nation should be prepared for a “long-term campaign” against worldwide terrorism that will include legal, political, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence-gathering components -- as well as military action.
“What we have to do is not only deal with this present instance but the whole concept of terrorism, deal with it as a scourge upon civilization and go after it,” he said.
U.S. officials continued their intensive diplomatic campaign to build international support for military actions and other moves as they awaited word on a Pakistani delegation’s trip to Afghanistan to urge that the Taliban leaders turn over bin Laden.
Powell plans to meet Wednesday or Thursday with Prince Saud Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, as investigators reported that 14 of the 19 suspected hijackers have links to that country. Calling the Saudis friends of the United States, Powell said of the foreign minister, “I expect he will be forthcoming and I expect he will be coming with a message of support and commitment.”
As another sign of the growing intensity of preparations, White House officials said Bush will discuss the crisis at a working dinner Tuesday night with French President Jacques Chirac.