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Thursday, February 29, 2024

U.S. looks for allies, prepares for ’Operation Noble Eagle’

President Bush advised members of the U.S. military to 'get ready' for battle against an enemy he identified with new specificity Saturday, calling Osama bin Laden 'a prime suspect' behind Tuesday's terrorist attacks.  




'We're at war,' Bush declared as he convened a meeting at Camp David with senior advisers to plot what he said would be a 'sweeping, sustained and effective' campaign to eradicate terrorism. 




In New York City, rescuers dug, cranes swung their loads and the death toll mounted. It reached 190 Sunday, with 4,957 people listed as missing. Among them are 300 firefighters, 40 Port Authority police officers, 23 New York City police officers, an FBI agent and a Secret Service agent. About 1,200 missing persons reports have been received from outside New York City.  




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Searchers have recovered 159 bodies, 115 of them identified. More than 400 body parts have been recovered. Five survivors were pulled from the disaster site on Wednesday. 




Local leaders, however, remained hopeful that some survivors could be found. 




'There's still the possibility that we can recover people still alive,' New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said, citing experts. 




Despite the somber tone, the city's leaders seem determined to provide as normal a workday as possible Monday. The New York Stock Exchange, the Mercantile Exchange and City Hall will open.  




'Come Monday morning, the greatest capital market in the world will be back in business,' said Richard Grasso, NYSE chairman. 


The military front

The military plan to protect the domestic shores of the United States is still nascent and sketchy, but it already has a patriotic name: Operation Noble Eagle. 




The announcement was made Saturday that Noble Eagle will be the umbrella name for, as one military spokesperson put it, 'the mission that covers homeland defense and consequence management'' in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks. 




The Pentagon issued a 'warning order'' late last week to some elite infantry units to prepare for a possible imminent combat mission, indicating the administration is moving closer toward taking wide-ranging military action that will involve ground combat troops, a defense official said. 




President Bush is expected to be briefed Monday on the tentative plans by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and might approve one for execution, defense officials said. 




Returning to the White House from Camp David, where he held strategy meetings with senior advisers over the weekend, President Bush said, 'It is time for us to win the first war of the 21st century decisively.' 


Looking for allies

The devastating attacks against the United States last week have forced a major foreign policy shift by the Bush administration, from a go-it-alone approach based on narrow U.S. interests to the pursuit of a global coalition against terrorism. 




Allied capitals felt quiet satisfaction at the recognition by the world's only superpower that it still requires the support of friends and former foes in the battle against terrorism and to achieve other foreign policy goals. Some officials say the Bush administration, fearing isolation on global warming and other issues, was already moving toward a more cooperative attitude but the trauma of Tuesday destroyed any lingering sense of self-sufficiency.  




'It was only a matter of time,' said a senior adviser to French President Jacques Chirac. 'America's power in the world may be unrivaled in military, political and economic areas, but in the era of globalization even a superpower cannot disregard the need for allies. Just like Clinton, Bush would have come to that conclusion, but the terror attack and the recent economic problems in the U.S. accelerated the process.' 




The United States won a powerful endorsement when NATO's 19 members took the unprecedented decision under Article 5 of the alliance's charter to declare last week's strikes an attack against all members, opening the way for a collective military response. The United States also gained support with a resolution passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and China, which in the past have been hostile to the use of American military might. 




Russia, while reluctant to offer military support, was one of the first countries to endorse the U.S. anti-terrorism drive. India and Pakistan have set aside their bitter regional rivalry and appear ready to allow the use of their airspace and other facilities for retaliatory operations. Even Iran, which has long castigated the United States as 'the Great Satan,' made what senior U.S. officials call 'a very positive statement' based on its virulent hostility toward the Taliban. 


Justice Department seeks security powers

The Justice Department pushed Congress Sunday to authorize greater power for FBI agents to wiretap terrorism suspects, make it easier to detain and expel foreigners who associate with them, expand the government's ability to trace money laundering mechanisms used to finance them and stiffen penalties against those who provide haven to them, aides said.  




Law enforcement officials have sought to broaden their powers in some of these areas before, only to meet resistance over civil liberties concerns. But in the current climate, lawmakers appear much more willing to empower law enforcement agents with broadened powers that were once unthinkable. 


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