President Bush, speaking at the White House Wednesday morning following a meeting with his national security team, delivered his most forceful response yet to Tuesday's terrorist strikes, calling them "acts of war" that will require a major, sustained response.
"The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy," Bush said. "This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil, but good will prevail."
The President pledged to "rally the world" behind the U.S. effort and again indicated he was willing to strike against those who provide a safe haven for the terrorists.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the administration believes the attacks against the United States are probably over for now. "We believe that the perpetrators have executed their plan, and therefore the risks are significantly reduced," he said.
Later in the day, Fleischer said the administration had "real and credible evidence" that the White House was the initial target of the airplane that crashed into the Pentagon, and that Air Force one was also a target of terrorist attacks.
In the wake of Tuesday's attacks, the predicted debate over a missile defense system intensified--with both Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Evan Bayh, D-Ind., saying the attacks strengthen their doubts about a missile defense system. "It makes sense to allocate the money to the highest threat," Boxer said.
Bayh added, "Is $100 billion for a missile-defense system that may or may not work for a threat that may or may not exist be the best use of our resources?"
But Fleischer argued that spending on missile defense should not be reassessed just because Tuesday's attack was not executed with missiles. There are "other threats" against which a missile defense would be critical, Fleischer said.