Nearly a month after the deadly terror attacks against the United States, President Bush announced the launch of air strikes against military sites run by Afghanistan's Taleban as well as terrorist training bases allegedly used by Osama Bin Laden and his supporters. It was an attack that Americans and much of the world had been warned was coming.
Now, the nation is bracing not only for what the Bush administration says will be a long war against terrorism, but of the possibility of even more terrorist attacks in response.
The question before Sunday's air attacks was always when - and not if - a U.S. response would come. President Bush had warned in the hours after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that those responsible would be pursued. He said, "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."
As the days went on, and the investigation into who was responsible for the deaths of more than 6,000 people began turning up suspects, the administration continued to find evidence pointing directly to Afghanistan.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose country joined in Sunday's attacks, laid out some of the key evidence last week. Mr. Blair said, "One of Bin Laden's closest lieutenants has said clearly that he helped with the planning of the 11th of September attacks and admitted involvement of the Al-Qaida organization."
But the Taleban government in Kabul held firm, refusing to hand over the chief suspect or dismantle alleged terrorist training camps even in the face of escalating warnings from President Bush.
President Bush said, "None of these demands were met and now Taleban will pay a price. By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans."
President Bush says the attacks that began Sunday will be only the start of what he is calling a sustained and relentless campaign. But some people are worried the military action will end up triggering more terrorist reprisals.
Senator Bob Graham is Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and spoke on ABC television Sunday. He said, "Once we do start direct military engagement in Afghanistan, the threat level is likely to go up because there will be a tendency for the terrorists to want to cause us to step back from our military operations by launching additional terror inside the United States.
Already, the U.S. government is bracing Americans around the world for the likelihood of more terrorist attacks, anticipating that the start of these attacks could lead to what the State Department calls a strong anti-American sentiment by terrorists and their sympathizers. U.S. officials are cautioning Americans around the world to be on alert for possible terror attack.