The news media may be impatient with the progress of the war on terrorism, but Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday he has no doubt that the American people understand this will be a long and difficult war, and that they have the staying power to win it. "Americans understand we are still in the very, very early stages of this war," Rumsfeld said, adding that the smoke is still rising from the rubble of the World Trade Center. While the war on terrorism will be like none other in American history, he urged the press to remember another vital war. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, it took four months before the United States responded to the attack with the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo, and eight months before the U.S. began a land campaign against Japan with the invasion of Guadalcanal. U.S. troops didn't land in France until two-and-a-half years after Hitler declared war on the United States. "Our task is much broader than simply defeating the Taliban or al Qaeda--it is to root out global terrorist networks, not just in Afghanistan, but wherever they are, to ensure that they cannot threaten the American people or our way of life. This is a task that will take time to accomplish. Victory will require that every element of American influence and power be engaged," Rumsfeld said. "Americans have seen tougher adversaries than this before--and they have the staying power to defeat them. Underestimating the American people is a bad bet," he said.
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