Deaths of American soliders remind U.S. war is far from over

Posted: Thursday, March 07, 2002

Eight Americans died in recent days during combat assaults in Afghanistan. The heaviest days of U.S. casualties there have reminded this nation that it is, indeed, at war. As the six-month anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, the U.S. is still vulnerable to terrorist attack. And it is, in actions around the globe, going about the business of defending itself.

Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle have drawn sharp rebukes in recent days for questioning the Bush administration's tactics in the war. We won't join the criticism of them. They have the right to speak their minds, even in time of war.

Their criticism is not disloyal. It is odd, though, to complain, as Byrd did, that there is ''no end in sight'' to the fighting in Afghanistan.

That is precisely what the Bush administration has cautioned all along, that the war against terrorism will be a long, long effort. ...

Two-thirds of the leadership of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, Al Qaida, is still at large. Hundreds, if not thousands, of its members in 60 countries are still plotting to kill more Americans and to attack centers of U.S. power.

The U.S. is widening its global war on terrorism again. This time, it is preparing to send hundreds of American troops to the former Soviet republic of Georgia and the Arabian peninsula nation of Yemen. The war effort has already expanded once to another far-flung destination, the Philippines. ... It could explode again in Iraq in the near future.

What's more, a ''shadow government'' of 100 senior civilian managers is holed up in two secret bunkers along the East Coast in case a nuclear device obliterates Washington, D.C., and the government must be reconstituted.

So, yes, there is no end in sight. America is at war and will be for some time. ...

In all likelihood, there will be more days like Monday, when America grieved for soldiers lost in defense of liberty.

-- Chicago Tribune

March 5

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