|The San Diego Union-Tribune
September 17, 2001
Afghanistan warned: Hand over bin Laden
Pakistan to deliver message; Bush assails 'evildoers'
By GEORGE E. CONDON JR
COPLEY NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON -- President Bush yesterday pledged to "rid the world of
evildoers" as diplomatic pressure mounted on Afghanistan to surrender the
man U.S. officials regard as the likely mastermind of last week's terrorist
attacks, Osama bin Laden.
In what a White House official called an encouraging sign, Pakistan
announced it is sending a high-level delegation to Afghanistan today to tell the
Taliban government it must surrender bin Laden within a few days or suffer
likely military retaliation from the United States and its allies.
"They have roused a mighty giant," Bush said of the terrorists and their
supporters. "And make no mistake about it: we're determined."
The president also urged Americans to go back to work today as if it were
their civic duty. And his administration urged investors to show faith in the
economy when the financial markets open this morning in New York for the
first time since the terrorist attacks on the nearby World Trade Center.
Bush also confirmed that after hijackers slammed planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Tuesday morning, he ordered the military to shoot down any commercial airliner that strayed from its route and disobeyed
orders to stay out of Washington's restricted airspace.
"I gave our military the orders necessary to protect Americans. . . . Of course, that was difficult," Bush said upon returning from a weekend of meetings at Camp David.
As military officials warned that fighting terrorists around the globe may
require unconventional methods, Attorney General John Ashcroft said he
would ask Congress to expand the FBI and CIA's intelligence-gathering
arsenal by loosening restrictions on wiretapping and the hiring of new agents.
"We need additional tools to stop the kind of tragedy that happened,"
Vice President Dick Cheney said the United States needs to be free to "work
from sort of the dark side" in infiltrating terrorist cells.
In New York, Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggested the reopening of Wall Street
would show his city was on the move again so soon after an unthinkable
tragedy. At the same time he was increasingly pessimistic about finding
survivors from Tuesday's attack.
"The recovery effort continues and the hope is still there that we might be able to save some lives. But the reality is that in the last several days we haven't found anyone," Giuliani said.
By yesterday, 190 were confirmed dead at the World Trade Center; the
number of missing was 4,957. In the Pentagon attack, 188 were believed
Other concerns loomed at the trade center site yesterday. Fire officials and
engineers said they feared the deepest foundations of the trade center might
have been badly damaged, particularly retaining walls that hold back the
Hudson River. Those walls are leaking, they said, creating the possibility of
ground shifts that could undermine nearby buildings and heavy excavation
In highly visible efforts today to move beyond last week's tragedy, late-night
comedy television shows will return and Major League Baseball will again
take the field.
But it seems few are putting Tuesday's events out of mind: stores coast to
coast are reporting they are sold out of American flags.
Since the attacks on New York and Washington, Bush and his aides have
devoted much of their time to putting pressure on Pakistani leader Gen.
Pervez Musharraf. And yesterday, that pressure seemed to be paying off.
Pakistan is critical in a military situation because it borders Afghanistan, where bin Laden operates terrorist training centers. And it is important diplomatically because Pakistan is one of only three countries that recognize the Taliban, a group of radical Islamic fundamentalists, as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
The Pakistani delegation is expected to carry its ultimatum to the Taliban
supreme leader, Mohammed Omar.
An envoy from the Taliban is already in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, to
discuss possible American retaliation and a cutoff of what has been
considerable Pakistani economic aid to Afghanistan.
Pakistan's help has been particularly welcome in Washington since Musharraf
must face the opposition of Islamic militants in his own country. Yesterday,
leaders from 42 of the country's political parties met to voice opposition to
any cooperation with the United States.
At Camp David, Cheney sent his own warning to the Taliban if it refuses to
surrender bin Laden.
"They have to understand," Cheney said, "and others like them around the
world have to understand, that if you provide sanctuary to terrorists, you face
the full wrath of the United States of America."
The news from Pakistan was the most important public development
yesterday, a day when top administration officials, led by Cheney, shed more
light on the events of Tuesday and intensified their planning for a U.S.
For Bush, the message to the country was to return to its normal routines of
work after six days of tears and prayers.
"Today millions of Americans mourned and prayed, and tomorrow we go
back to work," said Bush as he returned to the White House. Before leaving
Camp David, the presidential retreat in the mountains of nearby Maryland, the president, like millions of other Americans, attended church services.
While uncertainty prevailed over how the financial markets will react to last
week's events, one positive signal came from billionaire investor Warren
"I won't be selling anything," Buffett told CBS' "60 Minutes." "If prices would
fall significantly, there's some things I might buy."
The influential investor said the country is no different economically than a
Bush said the nation would forge ahead.
"Our nation was horrified, but it's not going to be terrorized," he said. "And
we're going to do it -- we will rid the world of evildoers."
Earlier, on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney disclosed that Bush on Tuesday
was the first president since World War II to order the military to shoot down any domestic airliner that strayed from its route and threatened buildings in Washington.
The vice president has been little seen since the crisis erupted. He spent the
initial hours Tuesday running things at the White House as the president flew
from Florida to Louisiana and to Nebraska. And in recent days, as a
precautionary measure, he was kept at Camp David to keep him separate
from the president.
This was necessary, Cheney said, "so we could ensure the survival of the
government" in case of further attack.
Cheney, a former secretary of defense, also defended Bush from criticism that he was slow to return to Washington Tuesday. "We would have been
absolute fools not to go into button-down mode," he said.
Administration officials continued to prepare the public for a long, arduous
campaign against international terrorism.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said bin Laden is only part of the
problem, and the campaign of terror is "much bigger than one person."
"It's a matter of his network," Rumsfeld said on "Fox News Sunday." "If he
were not there, there'd be 15 or 20 or 30 other people who would step in.
. . . Obviously, he's a prime suspect, but we have to be realistic."
Union-Tribune news services contributed to this report.