President Bush assembled his key security aides Saturday at Camp David to begin planning America's military response to last week's terrorist attack and asked the nation to be patient while the U.S. and its allies track down those responsible and wage war against them and their backers.
"We're at war," President Bush said Saturday, and he told U.S. troops: "Get ready."
Pressing ahead to create a united diplomatic front, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the U.S. obtained support from Pakistan, a strategically important player in the unfolding anti-terrorism effort. A neighbor to Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden's home base of Afghanistan, Pakistan announced Saturday that it would assist America in its military and diplomatic campaign against terrorism.
Powell would not elaborate on what role Pakistan will play in the response to last Tuesday's deadly suicide skyjacking attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon except to say that the U.S. had submitted to Pakistan "a specific list of things that we would like cooperation on, and they've agreed to all those items."
Pakistan's military government has walked a fine line in its cooperation with the U.S. While the impoverished country's citizens are generally sympathetic to Muslims in other countries, President Pervez Musharraf is desperate to establish relations with rich Western nations.
Encouraged by Pakistan's public stand, the U.S. ratcheted up pressure on other nations to help it combat global terrorism. Iran ordered its security forces to seal off its border with Afghanistan to prevent Afghan refugees from entering the country in the event of a U.S. attack.
Iran has condemned last week's terrorist attack and its military and police forces have been deployed along the 560-mile border with Afghanistan. But Iran did not say if it plans to join the international coalition the U.S. is trying to assemble.
"We are receiving expressions of support from around the worldand not just rhetorical support but real support for whatever may lie ahead," said Powell, a former Army general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Molding a strategy
Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were among those helping shape the complex strategy of retaliation against a hidden enemy not yet fully identified as rescue workers paused to honor some of their fallen before resuming the grisly work of digging through the rubble in New York and Washington, where more than 5,000 were feared dead.
Administration officials warned Americans that they are planning not for a single strike against bin Laden but for a protracted battle against terrorist networks around the world. Some officials have predicted that such an effort could take years. Bush said Saturday that he is prepared to go "as long as it takes."
"And if he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "They run to the hills. They find holes to hide in. (But) we will do whatever it takes to smoke them out and get them running, and we'll get them.
"It's not just one person," the president added, "We're talking about those who fed them, those who house them. Those who harbor terrorists will be held accountable for this action."
On a war footing
Bush has authorized the call-up of as many as 50,000 reserve troops as the Pentagon prepares for war. And he told them Saturday: "The message is for everybody who wears the uniform: Get ready. The United States will do what it takes to win this war." Most of those called up are with the Air Force. But while the U.S. has relied heavily on planes and missiles in conflicts since the Persian Gulf war, the White House has not ruled out the use of ground troops against bin Laden.
At the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains, Bush asked the nation to expect sacrifices, saying: "I will not settle for a token act. Our response will be sweeping, sustained and effective. We have much to do and much to ask of the American people." The president directly addressed troops:
"You will be asked for your patience, for the conflict will not be short. You will be asked for resolve, for the conflict will not be easy. You will be asked for your strength, because the course to victory may be long," Bush said in the radio address. "This is a conflict without battlefields or beachheads, a conflict with opponents who believe they are invisible."
Suspect hunt continues
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft said Saturday that the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies continue to sift through thousands of leads they have received since the terrorist strikes and are "developing a kind of clarity" about the complex planning and preparation required for such orchestrated attacks.
In a related development, authorities said the suspect arrested Friday in New York on a material witness warrant was associated with a brother of bin Laden. The suspect is the same person who had been arrested Thursday at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after showing a pilot's license issued to his brother.
Federal prosecutors issued a second arrest warrant Saturday for a material witness in the hijacking investigations. The person had not been arrested at the time the warrant was announced.
No other arrests were announced Saturday, although the government said 25 people have been arrested for immigration violations. None has been charged.
A French radio station reported Saturday that an Islamic militant arrested in Belgium was allegedly planning to attack the U.S. Embassy and possibly other American operations in Paris. The report on Radio 1 Europe said the man was one of six suspected extremists arrested Thursday in Brussels and Rotterdam, Netherlands, and that European officials had cracked down on possible guerrilla networks.
French radio said Belgian police who raided the suspect's home found a Kalashnikov, or AK-47, rifle and documents that were being examined.
Bush and Ashcroft also urged Americans to return as best they can to normal routines on Monday, including resuming air travel now that most of the nation's airports have reopened for business. The entire air traffic system in the United States was for the first time shut down in the aftermath of the attacks.
Ashcroft said officials have "put in place some very serious measures that we believe will provide greater security and provide a basis for our country returning to the kind of freedom and business and conduct that is characteristic of this nation."
The president added: "The American people need to go about their business on Monday, but with a heightened sense of awareness that a group of barbarians have declared war on the American people."
Boston's Logan Airport, where two of the four hijacked planes originated Tuesday, reopened Saturday with the presence of SWAT teams and police dogs. Even as Logan's reopening represented progress in the effort to restore the nation's air traffic system, Continental Airlines said it would lay off 12,000 of its 56,000 employees and reduce its flight schedule by 20 percent.
Airlines in trouble
The expectation of a dramatic reduction on airline bookings in the wake of Tuesday's tragedy materialized at Continental in recent days. Midway Airlines, the struggling regional carrier based in North Carolina, ceased operations just hours after the terrorist attacks.
Airlines have high fixed costs and, because of increasing competition, little available cash to withstand major declines in passenger demand.
"The U.S. airline industry is in an unprecedented financial crisis," Continental's chief executive, Gordon Bethune, said in a statement. "We call on the president and members of Congress to take immediate action to restore the stability of this vital industry, on which our nation's economy depends."
Bethune said the airline industry needs immediate financial aid "if the nation's air transportation system is to survive."
Richard Grasso, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, said Saturday that stock trading will resume Monday morning, after the longest hiatus since World War I. Stock market officials tested the telephone, computer and other communications systems Saturday.
"Our systems are all go," he said in a teleconference Saturday after concluding the testing. "The American way of life goes on."
Exchanges to reopen
Grasso said the Nasdaq, the American Stock Exchange and the NYSE are scheduled to resume trading at 9:30 a.m. EDT. The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted temporary emergency rules to help keep stocks from plummeting when the markets open.
Grasso said the NYSE would observe two minutes of silence before the start of trading to honor the thousands of people killed in the terrorist attacks. He also said those on the exchange floor would join in singing "God Bless America."
The official death and missing persons toll continued to rise as workers searched through the rubble of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. In New York, authorities said 152 bodies were recovered from the trade center ruins, with 92 of them identified, while the number of missing rose to 4,972. The Pentagon death toll was listed at 189, including those aboard the hijacked plane.
Authorities said Saturday that workers discovered the passport of a suspected hijacker near the ruins of the World Trade Center. FBI Assistant Director Barry Mawn did not disclose the name on the passport or other details.
Rainy and cold weather over the weekend has hampered recovery efforts. Officials in New York said only 22,000 tons of the twin skyscrapers' estimated 1.2 million tons of debris have been removed.