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Tough Words from Pentagon Officials - 2001-09-14

There were strong words of warning at the Pentagon Friday to those behind this week's terrorist suicide attacks in New York and Washington.

The tough words came from senior Army officials as they released a list containing the names of 74 Army personnel unaccounted for and presumed dead following Tuesday's terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

Army Secretary Thomas White offered few specifics but told America's adversaries they had better watch out. "I would only say to our adversaries that I would warn to watch carefully for you are about to see our finest hour in the future," he said.

Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki used even stronger words, saying U.S. forces will prevail in battling terrorists - a debt of honor to the Army's dead. "We will fight, we will win, and we will battle our nation's wars," he said. "The Army is strong, it's ready, and we will keep faith with our fallen comrades and their loved ones."

The comments come the day after Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz announced the armed forces are preparing to play their part in what he said will be a sustained and comprehensive campaign against terrorism.

Mr. Wolfowitz added this personal warning to all terrorists and their backers. "These people try to hide, but they won't be able to hide forever," he said. "They think their harbors are safe, but they won't be safe forever. I think one has to say it's not just simply a matter of capturing people and holding them accountable, but removing the sanctuaries, removing the support systems, ending states sponsor terrorism. And that's why it has to be a broad and sustained campaign. It's not going to stop if a few criminals are taken care of."

Pentagon officials are studying a variety of options for military action against terrorists. But they are refusing to discuss any details for fear any such information may help those responsible for Tuesday's attacks.