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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bush Readies U.S. for Drawn-Out War

APKevin Villa, 8, mourning over his mother?s casket at her funeral Friday in Yonkers, New York. His mother, an emergency medical worker, died on duty at the World Trade Center.
WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops to get ready for war and braced Americans for a long, difficult assault against terrorists to avenge the deadliest attack on the nation.

"Those who make war against the United States have chosen their own destruction," he declared Saturday. "We will smoke them out of their holes. We'll get them running and we'll bring them to justice."

Four days after hijackers seized commercial airliners and slammed them into the Pentagon and twin World Trade Center towers, Bush said prime suspect Osama bin Laden's days are numbered. "If he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies he will be sorely mistaken."

"This act will not stand," he said.

The vow recalled the words of his father, former President George Bush, who put Iraq on notice in 1990 that the United States would not tolerate the invasion of Kuwait.

Pakistan, which on Saturday pledged full support for the U.S. drive against terror, said Sunday that it would send a delegation to Afghanistan to demand the ruling Taliban hand over bin Laden to the United States.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban threatened a "holy war" against anyone helping Washington to launch an attack even as fearful Afghans fled in expectation of a U.S. strike.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- who played key roles in the Persian Gulf War -- huddled for 2 1/2 hours with Bush under extraordinary security Saturday at Camp David in western Maryland to discuss the nation's next move.

"We're at war," Bush said. "Everybody who wears the uniform: Get ready."

Officials would not give any hint of what sort of response might be taken. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said nothing has been ruled out, including ground troops.

Bush warned that "the conflict will not be easy."

The U.S. Congress voted Friday to authorize Bush to use "all necessary and appropriate force" to combat the threat with only one dissenting vote -- Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland, California, who urged restraint. "Let's step back for a moment and think through the implications of our action today so that it does not spiral out of control," Lee said.

Bush approved the activation of up to 50,000 reserve troops, 35,000 of which were activated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over the weekend to provide "strike-alert" jet fighter protection and perform other duties at domestic military bases.

A unanimous Congress on Friday approved a $40 billion down payment to help America recover from the attacks and retaliate against the people and governments responsible.

The package was twice Bush's request and two-thirds what it cost to wage the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Yet, it was seen by most as just the beginning.

"This body will provide whatever resources are needed to respond to this challenge, not just today, not just tomorrow, but for as long as it takes," said Representative David Obey.

On Sunday, Cheney pledged the United States would track down bin Laden and warned that nations that sheltered him face "the full wrath of the United States." He identified Afghanistan as a likely target.

"What we are going to do is aggressively go after Mr. bin Laden, obviously, and all his associates. And even if it takes a long time, I'm convinced eventually we'll prevail," Cheney said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" from Camp David.

"They have to understand, and others like them around the world have to understand, that if you provided sanctuary to terrorists, you face the full wrath of the United States of America," Cheney said.

"I have no doubt" that bin Laden's organization was involved in the attacks, Cheney said. He said there was no way to know for sure whether bin Laden was still in Afghanistan, and that a threat could remain.

In Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, a top Pakistani official said a delegation of senior Pakistani officials would go to neighboring Afghanistan on Monday to demand that the Taliban hand over bin Laden to the United States.

The delegation will issue an ultimatum: either deliver bin Laden or risk a massive retaliatory assault, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

CNN said Pakistan would give the Taliban a deadline of three days.

Bin Laden, who has lived for years in Afghanistan as a guest of the Taliban, on Sunday again denied any involvement in the attacks. "I have taken an oath of allegiance [to the Taliban leader] that does not allow me to do such things from Afghanistan," he said in a statement faxed to the Afghan Islamic Press.

Bush, who Friday visited the ruins of the World Trade Center towers in New York and led the nation in prayer, changed his tone Saturday in an attempt to brace Americans for sacrifices ahead.

"I will not settle for a token act. Our response will be sweeping, sustained and effective," he said in his weekly radio address. "We have much to do and much to ask of the American people."

His advisers said that fighting terrorists will expose U.S. troops to severe risk and American citizens to retaliatory strikes. Bush did not speak in such blunt terms, but used his radio address to raise the first words of caution.

"You will be asked for your patience, for the conflict will not be short. You will be asked for resolve, for the conflict will not be easy. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long," he said.

(AP, Reuters)