U.S. shifts its focus to recovery

$40 billion package to rebuild, respond gets Bush signature

Hope dims for survivors

Rumsfeld warns nation to be ready for new kind of war

Terrorism Strikes America

The Nation

September 19, 2001|By Karen Hosler and Gail Gibson | Karen Hosler and Gail Gibson,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - A week after terrorist attacks wounded the nation and horrified the world, America's focus turned sharply to recovery, rehabilitation and response.

Financial markets rebounded, then slipped modestly after their Monday free fall. The Bush administration began working on a rescue package for the tottering airline industry. Radio stations around the country played patriotic songs at 8:48 a.m., defiantly marking the one-week anniversary of the moment when the first hijacked airliner hit its target.

President Bush, thanking his fellow citizens for an outpouring of dollars and volunteer efforts, declared that the "spirit of renewal and hope" celebrated on the Jewish New Year had been embraced by "people of every faith all across America."

On a grimmer note, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani all but gave up hope of finding survivors in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, where 5,422 people remain missing; 218 are confirmed dead. Within the damaged Pentagon, where the death toll rose to 190, efforts continued to put the country on war footing.

"Our adversaries are not one or two terrorist leaders; it's a broad network of individuals and organizations that are determined to terrorize and, in so doing, to deny us the very essence of what we are: free people," said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"We have a choice, either to change the way we live, which is unacceptable, or to change the way they live - we choose the latter," he said. "We intend to put them on the defensive, to disrupt the terrorist networks and remove their sanctuaries and their support systems. This requires a distinctly different approach from any war that we have fought before."

Rumsfeld repeated earlier assertions that terrorists are operating in as many as 60 countries, including the United States. But the attention of federal officials was trained on Afghanistan, where an Islamic council of clerics was weighing an appeal from Pakistan to turn over suspected terrorist ringleader Osama bin Laden - to a third country, if not the United States.

Even as the clerics met, Afghanistan's Taliban government vowed to wage a holy war against America if U.S. leaders launch a military strike against the Taliban stronghold if it fails to turn over bin Ladin.

Bush was determined that the United States would not stand alone in such a fight, and added steadily to the world leaders he hopes will join a broad coalition to combat terrorism. He had a dinner meeting at the White House last night with French President Jacques Chirac and made calls during the day to Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Annan, observing that last week's terrorist attacks claimed the lives of citizens of 62 nations, said, "This is why no one can remain indifferent."

As his meeting with Bush began, Chirac told reporters, "We stand in total solidarity, solidarity of the heart." He promised that his country would "fight by your side this new type of evil, of absolute evil, which is terrorism.

Chirac hesitated to call the conflict a "war," and Bush tried to discourage the impression that what lies ahead would be in any way reminiscent of traditional warfare.

"There are no beaches to storm, there are no islands to conquer, there are no battle lines to be drawn," Bush said at the Oval Office session with Chirac. "It's going to take all of us to gather necessary intelligence, the necessary information, to be able to find the location of the terrorists, to work with governments to smoke them out of their safe houses, and to get them moving, and then have the courage to bring them to justice."

The White House characterized Bush's appeals - some to nations such as Syria, Cuba and Iran that have been less than friendly to the United States in recent years - as a carrot-and-stick approach.

"In different nations, the carrot may be bigger," spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "In other nations, the stick may be bigger."

The effort is going well so far, said Bush: "I've been very pleased with the outpouring of support. We're fighting for liberty and freedom and a way of life that is so essential."

Also yesterday, Bush signed into law a $40 billion package to rebuild after the terrorist attacks and finance the nation's military response. He also signed legislation expediting benefit payments to injured firefighters and police, or to their survivors.

The FBI continued to follow more than 96,000 tips in an investigation that has stretched from South Florida to California. Agents have been poring over hundreds of e-mails and have subpoenaed computer and financial records. Many of the e-mails are in Arabic, but an FBI official said that so far there are no signs any were encrypted.

A federal grand jury in New York is helping investigators by issuing subpoenas for records and witnesses.

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