(Senate - March 21, 2003)

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[Page S4269]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

[[Page S4269]]

  Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, as President pro tempore, I send to the 
desk a letter received from the President of the United States wherein 
he informs the Congress of his comments concerning his actions 
consistent with the War Powers Resolution, Public Law 107-40. I ask 
unanimous consent it be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                              The White House,

                                       Washington, March 20, 2003.
     Hon. Ted Stevens,
     President pro tempore of the Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Mr. President: On September 24, 2001, I reported the 
     deployment of various combat-equipped and combat support 
     forces to a number of locations in the Central and Pacific 
     Command areas of operation. On October 9, 2001, I reported 
     the beginning of combat action in Afghanistan against 
     terrorists and their Taliban supporters. In my reports to the 
     Congress of March 20 and September 20, 2002, I provided 
     supplemental information on the deployment of combat-equipped 
     and combat support forces to a number of foreign nations in 
     the Central and Pacific Command areas of operations and other 
     areas. As a part of my efforts to keep the Congress informed, 
     I am reporting further on United States' efforts in the 
     global war on terrorism.
       Our efforts in Afghanistan have met with success, but as I 
     have stated in my previous reports, the U.S. campaign against 
     terrorism will be lengthy. To date, U.S. Armed Forces, with 
     the assistance of numerous coalition partners, have executed 
     a superb campaign to eliminate the primary source of support 
     to the terrorists who viciously attacked our Nation on 
     September 11, 2001. The heart of al-Qaida's training 
     capability has been seriously degraded. The Taliban's ability 
     to brutalize the Afghan people and to harbor and support 
     terrorists has been virtually eliminated. Pockets of al-Qaida 
     and Taliban forces remain a threat to U.S. and coalition 
     forces and to the Afghan government. What is left of both the 
     Taliban and the al-Qaida fighters is being pursued actively 
     and engaged by U.S. and coalition forces. Additionally, 
     training missions and combat operations with Pakistani 
     special forces are ongoing near the Afghan/Pakistan border.
       Due to our success in Afghanistan, we have detained 
     hundreds of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters who are believed to 
     pose a continuing threat to the United States and its 
     interests. The combat-equipped and combat support forces 
     deployed to Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the Southern 
     Command area of operations since January 2002, continue to 
     conduct secure detention operations. We currently hold more 
     than 600 enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. All are being 
     treated humanely and, to the extent appropriate and 
     consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent 
     with the principles of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
       In furtherance of our worldwide efforts against terrorists 
     who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the United 
     States, our friends and allies, and our forces abroad, we 
     continue operations in other areas around the globe. Our 
     relationship with the Government and Armed Forces of the 
     Philippines (AFP) developed and matured throughout 2002. Last 
     year's actions from February to July 2002 on Basilan Island, 
     with AFP in command and with U.S. forces in a support role, 
     helped to drive hundreds of Abu Sayyaf Group terrorists from 
     the island, restoring order and reestablishing government 
     services. To ensure that the AFP has the skills to fight 
     terrorism over the long term, we have a robust security 
     assistance training program and a variety of exercises that 
     will provide the AFP much needed counter-terrorism training 
     and equipment. There are approximately 300 combat-equipped 
     and combat support U.S. military personnel working with the 
     AFP and U.S. forces continue to plan with the AFP for 
     possible future activities. Continued U.S. support is 
     warranted as the Government of the Philippines has provided 
     unwavering support in the global war on terrorism.
       Additionally, we continue to conduct maritime interception 
     operations on the high seas in the Central and European 
     Command areas of responsibility to prevent the movement, 
     arming, or financing of international terrorists who pose a 
     continuing threat to the United States.
       Combat-equipped and combat support forces also have been 
     deployed to Georgia and Yemen to assist the armed forces of 
     those countries in enhancing their counter-terrorism 
     capabilities, including by training and equipping their armed 
     forces. Similar U.S. forces have deployed to Djibouti to 
     command and control operations and other activities as 
     necessary against al-Qaida and other international terrorists 
     in the Horn of Africa region. These activities include 
     providing oversight for urban and maritime counter-terrorism 
     training with the Yemen special operations forces. We 
     continue to assess options for working with other nations to 
     assist them in this respect.
       I have taken these actions pursuant to my constitutional 
     authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander 
     in Chief and Chief Executive. In addition, these actions are 
     consistent with Pub. L. 107-40. As I stated in my previous 
     reports, it is not possible to know at this time either the 
     duration of combat operations or the scope and duration of 
     the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter the 
     terrorist threat to the United States. I will direct 
     additional measures as necessary to exercise our right to 
     self-defense and to protect U.S. citizens and interests. Such 
     measures may include short notice deployments of special 
     operations and other forces for sensitive operations in 
     various locations throughout the world.
       I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep 
     the Congress informed, consistent with the War Powers 
     Resolution and Pub. L. 107-40. Officials of my Administration 
     and I have been communicating regularly with the leadership 
     and other Members of Congress, and we will continue to do so. 
     I appreciate the continuing support of the Congress in our 
     efforts to protect the security of the United States of 
     America and its citizens, civilian and military, here and 
     George W. Bush.