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Cheney addresses 'war on terror'

February 28, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Although it's been more than two years since terrorists struck on American soil, the country cannot get complacent about fighting terrorism, Vice President Dick Cheney told an audience in Hagerstown Friday.

"In the war on terror, we have only one option and that is to carry the fight to the enemy," he said.

First in Afghanistan and now in Iraq, the United States was right to take action against terrorists and help build democratic governments there, he said.

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Cheney defended the administration's decision to lead the coalition into war without United Nations support.

"The United States will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country," Cheney said.

Iraq now is the central front in the war on terror, he said.

A recently intercepted letter from a terrorist to one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants calls for suicide bomb attacks against Iraqi civilians, he said.

By standing firm, the United States is sending the message that it won't tolerate cooperation between terrorists and countries with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, Cheney said.

"We will not relent in opposing weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Cheney also talked about the economy, characterizing it as stronger than when he and Bush took office three years ago.

Homeownership rates are at their highest levels ever, new home construction is booming, interest rates are low and productivity is up, he said.

To keep the economy going, Cheney called for making the Republican tax cuts permanent and passing energy legislation to modernize the country's electricity system.

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