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Leaders Discuss Ground War - 2001-10-29

Amid some growing concern about the U.S. war on terrorism, some members of the U.S. Congress are calling for a greater effort and the use of ground troops in considerable numbers.

Along with many others, Republican Senator John McCain says the Taleban is proving more tenacious than expected.

Appearing on CBS-TV's Face the Nation, he urged a greater military effort. He said, "The immediate problem needs to be addressed with all the might of U.S. military power. Issues such as Ramadan or civilian casualties, however regrettable and however tragic, have to be secondary to the primary goal of eliminating the enemy and doing it with whatever methods are necessary to achieve it."

Senator McCain said he would not want to bomb a mosque, where Taleban troops have taken refuge, but they must realize they will not be safe anywhere.

He went on to say that air power alone does not win a war. U.S. troops will be needed to seize territory for a limited time to remove the Taleban. A Soviet-style occupation is not contemplated.

Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd agreed on the need for ground troops, perhaps in the thousands. "If we are serious about this and recognize the transnational threat that these organizations pose, "he said, "then you have got to be prepared to respond to it, and I think excluding the wide variety of military options would be a huge mistake."

Senator Dodd added that we need much more information about what is happening in Afghanistan. There is too much guess work.

Appearing on ABC-TV's This Week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also said ground troops may be necessary, but he emphasized the war is going well in the short time it has been conducted.

"We feel that the air campaign has been effective," he said. "The fact that for a period we did not have good targets has now shifted because we are getting much better information from the ground in terms of targets. Also the pressure that has been put on fairly continuously these past weeks has forced people to move and to change locations in a way that gives additional targeting opportunities."

Secretary Rumsfeld said this is just the beginning of the war against worldwide terrorism.